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Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck
National Wildlife Refuge, VA Day Hike

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This 3.2 mile hike on the easy to moderate Woodmarsh Trail occured on Saturday, January 2, 2021 at Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge. Participants were Jennifer Brown, Tom O'Brien and Mike Calabrese.

Tom and I got to Prince of Peace UMC at about the same time this morning. We talked for a bit and waited for 8:00 AM. No one else arrived so we set out to hike the Woodmarsh Trail at Elizabeth Hartwell Mason Neck NWR near Lorton, VA. It was foggy out but I95 was clear both weather wise and traffic wide so we made it to the refuge by 8:20.

Jennifer arrived shortly afterwards so we started the hike at around 8:30 AM. The trail was very wet and there were many puddles that we had to navigate. Elevation changes were minimal, there were numerous bridges that took us over the streams and boggy areas. Though the blazing on this trail was only fair the signage on this trail was very good. We heard what sounded like a group of people yelling. We weren't sure where this was coming from but would soon find out.

After about .75 miles we came to the first of 4 intersections. After checking our phones we turned left and proceeded to a covered overlook. There were two ladies there taking images and counting the waterfoul on the Great Marsh for the Audobon Society. We found the source of what sounded like crowd noise. There were what looked like over 100 ducks making noise within this marsh. You can see them as small white dots on one of the pictures to the right.

We then took a selfie and proceeded on this 'lollipop loop hike'. We were able to view the Potomac River occasionally. The woods were lacking color but still had a special beauty to them. We passed 2 more intersections and then came to a closed road called Sycamore RD. There was a portapotty here. This was close to the 2 mile mark. We then passed one last intersection and were back at our vehicles by a bit after 10:00 AM.

This was a nice hike. It was mostly level, there were portapotties at the trailhead and at Sycamore RD. Cell reception was very good for Verizon, fair for AT&T. One was able to follow this trail on a georeferenced map on AllTrails and Google Maps. The water on the trail was an issue. But we had heavy rain the previous evening so I don't think that this will always be an issue. We saw many families as well as their dogs out on the trail. Jennifer was our newest hiker today. We enjoyed having her as a fellow hiker and look forward to hiking with her again. With the temps expected to be in the 60's later in the day this was an exceptional day to go hiking in early January. I'm glad that we were here.

Mike C

Sign, Hartwell Mason Neck NWR, VA.
   Sign, Hartwell Mason Neck NWR.
   By Mike Calabrese
Great Marsh, Hartwell Mason Neck NWR
  Great Marsh, Hartwell Mason Neck
  NWR.  By Mike Calabrese
Group selfie
   Group Selfie.
   By Mike Calabrese

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