Saturday, October 26: My birthday was Friday, the 25th, and as always on my birthday, it was a glorious day, brisk and windy with a palette of fall colors rustling in the trees. Nature never lets me down on my birthday; it always gives the best gift of all. Sadly, I had to work all day Friday, so I didn’t get to enjoy the fall weather on the actual day. However, when I got home at night, Mike and Alex made me a special dinner.
The real fun begins this morning, Saturday. We drive our dog Bailey to my mother-in-law’s house, where we see a mangy-looking fox trotting down the sidewalk, as if he’s at home in the neighborhood.
Someone has really gone all out for Halloween. Gravestones spell out funny death-related messages: Yul B Next, Yetta Nother, Ima Goner, and M.T. Tomb.
We drive over 3 hours south to the mountains of Virginia, where we go on a fall hike at Douthat State Park, a 75-year-old traditional family park. This was one of Virginia’s six original state parks. Douthat includes two miles of stream fishing, a 50-acre lake stocked with trout, a sandy swimming beach with snack bar, boat rentals, a gift shop and camp store, cabins, and more than 43 miles of hiking, mountain biking and bridle trails. The park also has 32 cabins and three lodges that accommodate 15, 16 and 18 guests each (Virginia.gov: Douthat State Park).
We decide to take the Blue Suck Falls Trail, a 3 mile moderate to difficult trail that connects several of the trails in the northwest region of the park to the trail head near the Visitor Center. The falls, and hence the trail, get their unusual name from the Appalachian term for a whirlpool or a ‘suck’, which may be found at the base of the falls. At higher elevations the trail traverses the ridge top, often along a narrow path, and connects to the George Washington National Forest trail network. The views of Blue Suck Falls are normally the highlight of the trail; today, sadly, the falls are a mere trickle (Hiking at Douthat State Park). It’s an uphill climb, and we find we’re not the only ones to be disappointed by the almost invisible falls. Someone has written on the sign: “This is it?”
Click on any of the pictures below for a full-sized slide show.
After coming down from the falls, we walk along the dam and the lake. At the bottom of the dam, we come across a whole family of young children fishing, their miniature mountain bikes strewn all around the shore.
After our hike, we drop in to the camp store, where we get cups of hot chocolate and hop in the car for a drive to Lexington.