Hiking the Washington Ditch Trail

Scott and I decided that it was time to go hiking this weekend.  We both like being outside and that sort of thing, so why not?  It seemed like a fitting way to celebrate the last three-day weekend for a few months, and the weather was absolutely gorgeous.

Hiking is kind of a tricky thing to do in the Tidewater area of Virginia, however.  It’s really more of a beach-swamp-water sports area than a mountain-forest-hiking area.  We wanted to go for it though, so we went to the Great Dismal Swamp Wildlife Refuge to hike the Washington Ditch Trail.

There are all sorts of words in those titles that should have keyed us in to important facts.  “Great Dismal Swamp” is a start.  Then there’s the phrase, “ditch trail.”

It was fun to be away from town and to walk in quiet and trees for a few hours.  I really thoroughly enjoyed the day.  But it was 4.5 miles in each direction of straight trail.  Very straight trail.

Everything else was good though.  The lake was pretty.  It’s one of two natural lakes in Virginia, and it looks like this:


photo by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Most of the lake is open and doesn’t have a high density of cypress trees.  There were also spots like this around the edge of the water.  I got to see a few box turtles, which made me happier than it probably should.  Heard a bunch of frogs.  Walked farther than I’ve walked in a couple of years (in one go, that is).  Saw little kids swinging from vines in trees, then saw Scott swinging from vines in trees.  I’m willing to declare it a successful venture into the great outdoors.

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