Trail Maps Can Be Misleading

Stream in the Prince William Forest

Prince William Forest

Posted by Meg

We should probably explain that we actually don’t live in the same area. Meg lives in Richmond, while Genevieve currently lives in Northern Virginia (though, she is from Richmond, and Meg is hoping desperately that she will decide to move back). Thus, the two of us have to plan our hiking “meet-ups” accordingly.

Last Saturday, we planned a hike together in the Prince William Forest. It is actually only one of a few hiking spots off of I-95, in between NoVA and RVA. The trail guide indicated it was 7 miles, which is right along the lines of where we should be in our weekend training.

Wildlife in the Prince William Forest

We found a few froggies. But luckily missed the rattlesnake that the group in front of us warned us about.

The hike was lovely — a relatively cool summer morning was enhanced by a path that included a lot of shade. The hike did not include scenic views, but you did get a lot of opportunities to walk along streams. It was also fairly quiet, considering we were just off of 95, near Quantico. (If you’re familiar with DC traffic, you know it can be terrible right about there.)

The one qualm we would have about the experience is the way the trails were marked. Now, we are relatively novice when it comes to all of this trail map stuff, but two trails in the same forest were marked “blue” — one was a slightly lighter shade of blue. We did not realize it at the time, so leave it to us to continue onto the WRONG “blue” trail. Yep. We got lost. And our hike was cut short. (We’d like to say it was cut by only by a mile, but looking back at the map now, it could’ve been more.)

Also, we learned the importance of properly fitting hiking boots. Meg got a terrible blister, and had to turn her hiking boots into clogs before it was all over. Quite the fashion statement.

Hiking "clogs"

Hiking “clogs”

We’d do this trail again, but would pay closer attention to the map.

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