Recon of Williams/Telegraph/Crossing/Birch Bluff/Laurel Loop Trails, PWFP, VA<< MIKEBLOGSV2 Home
I was very worried about the weather on this one. The temps were predicted to be in the low 80's when we started and the high 80's when we ended. That's why we met at the rear parking lot of
Prince of Peace United Methodist Church
and left at 8:30 AM. We carpooled in Tom's car. We arrived at the Prince William Forest Visitor Center parking lot in Triangle, VA and started the hike around 9:00 AM. This would be a 4 mile moderate to strenuous counterclockwise loop that basically went around the Visitor Center. We saw another large group in the parking lot also getting ready to hike. I didn't ask which group that they were.
We took a group selfie at the Visitor Center, then proceeded to walk to a dirt and gravel road at the traffic circle. This road passed a full hookup RV site, which was vacant. The road then turned to gravel, went up a slight rise and then came upon Williams Ballfield. This ballfield appeared to not be used very often. The grass was high and there was a volleyball net set up in left field. We passed a group getting some equipment ready for an upcoming Spy Camp at the park. They invited us to join them, but we declined.
So we walked along the left side of the former ballfield and took the road that went off to the left at the end of left field. It led downhill along a group of picnic tables that most people probably don't know exist. We then passed the Telegraph Pavillion, crossed the paved road diagonally to the left end and entered the green blazed Crossing Trail.
This trail was shaded, well graded, had some ups, some downs, crossed a stream and then intersected the Laurel Loop Trail. We had hiked about a mile at this point. We turned right onto the yellow blazed Laurel Loop Trail, traversed it for about 1,000 feet, then turned right onto the red blazed Birch Bluff Trail. We has an immediate up, then I noticed that the side trail that used to go to the Cannon-Reid Cemetary had been obliterated. I didn't say anything but I think I know why.
We then started a long down to the South Branch of Quantico Creek. We passed the two mile mark on the way down. When we got to the bottom of the hill and were at the South Branch of Quantico Creek, we could see the confluence of the North and South Branches to our right. But we turned left and proceeded upstream. The trail at this point was very narrow in spots, nice and wide in spots and rocky in spots. We passed a beat waterfall. We then transitioned from the Birch Bluff Trail to the Laurel Loop Trail. We would be on this trail for the remainder of the trip. We would pass the three mile mark along this stretch.
We reached a trail intersection, turned left, started a long up and would now be hiking on both the yellow blazed Laurel Loop and aqua blazed Potomac Heritage Trail until the end of the hike. We slowly climbed the big up, got to the top, walked across another former ballfield and then returned to Tom's vehicle. We hit the four mile mark at that point.
So the weather was cooler than I expected since we were in the woods. We all felt invigorated after this hike. I felt sweaty but good. We all agreed that this would be a good future hike for the POPUMC Hiking Group.
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