"I Want My MTB!"*
I decided to head to Laurel Hill. This is a nice set of mountain bike trails created as part of the reboot of the old Lorton Prison complex. I rode there once before, back in 2013, but really didn't even remember exactly where the place was or what the trail layout was. I spent a bunch of time last night and again this morning looking online for an official park map, but strangely there doesn't seem to be one (I finally found an old one online tonight - not on an official site site but embedded into the AllTrails.com com site).
After a little blundering around looking for where I parked last time I wound up parking at the Equestrian Center lot, which turned out to be a great spot to park since it sets at the intersection of a few trails.
I rstarted with the Pasture Trail (this was just the "Yellow Blazed Trail" to me at the time, since I didn't have any kind of map). The trails at Laurel Hill aren't typical woodsy single track - they're mostly through fairly open meadow. Some of the trails have a deep, narrow gravel-filled groove and riding them is kind of like being a phonograph needle in the groove of a record.* It's weird riding and wobbling along in this rut, but you get used to it.
At the completion of my first loop I stopped to find my bearings and got into a conversation with a guy named Kevin, one of the few other people I ran into on the trails. Kevin is a young dad and mountain biking is his way of getting a little break from the stress of caring for two kids and a big dog. He was waiting for a text back from his wife (he checks in every 45 minutes!) before heading back onto the trails. It was nice to have spoken with him, since we kept running into each other as we each made our way through the park's loops.
I next rode the Dairy Barn Loop ... I don't think I made it onto the Apple Orchard, but again, with no map, I'm not 100% sure where I was. I rode the Workhouse Loop, which is currently interrupted by construction, then rode the Pasture Trail again.
|Why Does it Have to Be Snakes?*|
By the time I got back to the Cross County Trail I had been out a few hours so I headed back on the CCT and made for the parking lot, passing through the "barrel bridge" along the way. The barrel bridge is a brick and masonry arch bridge which was constructed by prisoners from the Lorton prison in the 1940's (they made the bricks too!). As everyone knows, this is the only brick and masonry arch bridge in Virginia.
|The Barrel Bridge|
Loaded the bike, and I was home by noon.
*Denotes dated cultural reference