A Long Weekend with Wildlife, Snow, and a Smidge Bit of Trespassing

It’s apparent to me, and Roomie, that I have an affinity for trespassing. Granted, I’m not trespassing on sensitive government property – I don’t need to see a nuclear reactor up close, thank you – but I find all the cool things to be where you aren’t necessarily supposed to go.

Instances of my trespassing in the past few weeks:

1. Stepping into the mill at Bull Run Mountain Conservancy.

2. Walking over the golf course in the neighborhood during a snow storm (so really, it’s not as if I were stopping someone’s golf game).

3. Taking three steps behind a sign that said “area behind this sign is closed”.

These, in my opinion, are slap on the hand offenses so I don’t feel all that bad. I’m not destroying some endangered species’ domain or walking into a building that truly looks like it’ll fall down around me.  Do I know better?  Sure.  Do I feel bad?  Meh.

As I indicated in my last post, this was a long weekend, made longer by the 4-6 inches of snow that fell on Tuesday, and even longer for me because my garage exit was a sheet of ice on Wednesday morning.

Roomie is doing a damn fine job of keeping me in line with the diet and exercise plan from Gym Beast, so much so that we finally decided to explore the “park” that’s a whopping 1/2 mile from our house. Yes, a half mile. I’ve been living in the condo for ~7 months and I hadn’t ventured that half mile in all that time.

Turns out the park is actually the Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge.  The refuge consists of wetlands and grasslands, approximately 5-miles of trail systems (not difficult, great for walking and bird watching), with the added bonus that it’s mostly surrounded by water.


As with December, January is making a name for itself with weird weather.  Monday was a breezy, partly cloudy 57-degree F day.  Who can stay indoors when the weather is that perfect?

The Roomie and I set out from the subdivision and walked down to explore the NWR and to clock a bit of mileage for good measure.  You’re greeted by the grasslands and given options for walking routes.  We decided to take Lake Drive so we could see Painted Turtle Pond.  Alas, no turtles were seen, but there was a small gaggle of geese (my English teacher would be so proud) and a little family of ducks hanging out at the pond.

Geese at ONWR

Geese at ONWR distance

Oh!  And a holy tree.  I dig trees (in case you haven’t noticed).

Holy Tree

From there we went back down to the fork and met up with Deephole Point Road, split back off and headed up to the photo platform (what I’m calling the structure) that looks out over Marumsco Creek flowing into the Bay.Fallen Tree by Water

Marumsco Creek

We continued meandering the coast line and snapped a few shots along the water and a bit inland.

Occoquan Bay

On the way back we followed Bravo Road to Charlie Road and met back up with Dawson Creek Road to head home.  A few more good shots and we called it a day.  Nearly 6 miles in beautiful weather.

Trees in Wetlands


Tree in Grasslands

Naturally, that lovely 57-degree weather came to an end the next day.  Hard.  By hard, I mean: 27-degrees and snowing. A lovely 5-6″ of snow fell in our little area of Virginia in the span of 8 hours. Pretty impressive for us.

Trees and Drive Snow

Roomie and I decided to walk around the neighborhood and along the water because we’re two relatively intelligent beings. We donned our layers, boots, and balaclava’s (neck warmers; not to be confused with baklava’s which are pastries) as we left the building. Thank. God. That wind bit like a Doberman!

Snow Ready Me

We took a round about circuit to the river…


…and followed a path that took us to a tunnel.  Nope, I never knew there was a tunnel in the subdivision – consider my mind blown at that moment.  That tunnel actually takes you to part of the golf course our place is built around.  It was absolutely stunning!  Covered in thick white snow.  We found some birds tucked into a small bit of wilderness over by the 4th or 5th tee, crossed two bridges, Roomie made a snowball (which he continued to roll as we walked, bless his heart), and we called it a day after a couple of hours out in the snow.

Bridge at the Course

Bird 2

Again, note to self: Buy better gloves.  Knowing me, I’ll probably dedicate an entire blog post in an “Ode to my gloves” when I eventually get around to figuring out which would be the best pair to buy for my life.

Oh…and just a few more pics from the day (just click to make them bigger):

Neighbors House -dos

Trees on the course

Holly Tree on the Course

On the Golf Course


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