Hemlock Overlook Regional Park

hanging onThe Eastern Hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis) are hanging on, just barely, in Hemlock Overlook Regional Park. I took a quick loop around this park, which lies on the Fairfax County side of Bull Run.

at the fordA fairly quiet walk, save for the unsettling sound of gunfire somewhere to the south and (we hope) outside the park boundary. The ground is frozen hard, which turned out to be helpful for a couple of gullied-out stream crossings. A Pileated Woodpecker (Dryocopus pileatus) looped over the county line from the other side of the stream, then flew back. I was a little surprised by the several Belted Kingfishers (Ceryle alcyon) that are making a winter of it along the watercourse. At midday, as I returned to the car, some tangled brush next to the parking area proved to be rather birdy, turning up a wren and a junco or two.

I followed, more or less, the loop described as hike #14 in PATC’s Hikes in the Washington Region, part B. My edition (third) is dated 1993, and a few of the trails have been relocated since then. There’s a section that’s rather built up, as it’s set aside for youth camps: there are ropes courses and such.

tastefulThe street name signs in the nearby Town of Clifton, the municipality of quadrangular border, are simple and effective.