What a delightful day in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains!
About an hour ride from the Virginia suburbs of DC, and we were in the Thompson Wildlife Management Area, gaping at woods full of trillium, yellow lady slippers and showy orchis.
I had set out with the Center Hiking Club, a group that meets at Metro stations to make it easy for people without cars. I decided to drive to the rendezvous stop this time since it would be a long Metro ride and with some track maintenance, tricky to time arrival correctly. I had a good companion in Sue, a woman I met on a couple earlier hikes who lives near me, and we met another Takoma Park resident at the meeting point. So besides the good outdoors activity, I got to know better some residents in my town.
When we got off the highway, I-66, we immediately were in some rolling farmland, passing neat pastures with cows and horses. We got closer up views of a couple of farms as we passed them on the trail later in the hike.
It was a 10-mile hike but seemed much shorter since while there were some ups and downs in elevation, it was nothing like hiking an Adirondacks peak. We completed the whole hike, including a half-hour lunch stop and some quick stops to view the flowers, in 4 1/2 hours.
The hike leader leads a group on this trail every year, guessing that the Sunday closest to May 10th is ideal for getting a mix of flowers, including the trillium in full bloom. I’ve never seen so many of them, with the woods just full of them. We got some close-ups when sitting down amidst them at lunchtime and having the blooms close to eye level at that point.
As we walked down on this loop trail, we walked briefly out of the woods into an open area where you could see the hazy outlines of the Blue Ridge Mountains quite close by. It was just beautiful!