Thursday, April 12, 2012

Get Thee To the Woods: In Search of an Ancient Pyramid

Well, not ancient, exactly; one that was erected in 1897 as a monument to the Civil War. Here is where General George Meade's Union troops broke through Stonewall Jackson's Confederate lines during the Battle of Fredericksburg in December of 1862.

I had heard there was a pyramid in Fredericksburg, and the other day Moe and I decided to set out to try and find it. We drove to the end of Lee Drive as directed by various websites that told us to do so, and started to look around. At first we weren't sure we were in the right place.

First we headed down a trail toward the site of a former train depot called Hamilton's Crossing.

There was no pyramid to be found here, but plenty to see.

We wandered around in the field for a while,

...and finally we spotted it.

Unfortunately, the pyramid is on the opposite side of some busy railroad tracks, but we walked down a trail through the meadow to get a closer look.

"Take my picture so it looks like I'm holding it up with one hand!"

(I'm not sure the point of this sign, since there's no way to get anywhere close to the thing.)

It was a lovely afternoon, and reluctantly we headed home to start dinner.

Soon spring break will be over, and there won't be much time for adventures. I hope we can squeeze in a little bit of outdoor fun in the days and weeks to come!

How about you? How have you and your family enjoyed the great outdoors this week?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Get Thee to the Woods: A Couple of Blacksburg Parks

On Holy Saturday while visiting my parents for Easter, Joe and I were anxious to get the kids out of the house for a while. They all wanted to go to see the Hunger Games movie; I thought we should do something more physical than that, like a hike. I prevailed, and a hike it would be.

My mother suggested a relatively new park on the western side of Blacksburg, Heritage Community Park. It's so new it isn't on Google maps, but we found it easily.

A network of trails lead past ponds, through meadows, and an old farmstead.

Tom's Creek.

The park was once the Brown Farm, although I don't have any idea who the Browns were or how long ago they lived here.

Nearby is Gateway Trail, which leads into the Jefferson National Forest.

We greatly offended a couple of chickadees, apparently; they scolded and fussed at us loudly as we passed.

When we began to climb, I wondered briefly if maybe we shouldn't have gone to the movies instead.

There were a few muddy spots like this, but not many.

See this rock? Moe picked it up and tried to heft it over this fallen tree. It fell short and landed on the tree instead, and stayed there. The log bounced up and down from the weight of the rock, but still the rock stayed. We were pretty impressed.

We hiked to the top of a ridge, where there was a teensy bit of a view. The trail kept going up, and there are many more that branch off into the forest. We vowed that on a future visit we'd take a day and hike more of these trails.

A couple of years ago when I started this Get Thee To the Woods theme, it was in response to a blog challenge to get your family outside together. I haven't posted under that tag much lately. It isn't that we haven't been going outside; I just haven't documented it as much. (Well, actually, I have; I just haven't posted it under the outdoors theme). Anyhow, this Lent has given me the chance to re-evaluate my place in the social networking world; giving up Facebook and Twitter (mostly) was hard at first, but I realized after visiting those pages again that truthfully I haven't missed all that much. I'm happy to be able to connect with family and friends again this way (and it's FUN, let's just admit it right now), but I'm thinking I probably wont spend as much time on those sites as I used to. At least not for a while.

We're on spring break. We're doing some housecleaning (which means it's time for me to wrap this up here and get out of my pajamas and tell the kids to turn off the TV so I can give them their chore lists) and swapping winter clothes for spring ones, and I'm hoping to drag the kids to at least one natural and/or historic site in our area. Wish me luck. And hopefully I'll get my behind out of bed early enough to go to daily Mass at least one day this week.

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter, and Happy Spring!
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