For the last several years, we’ve visited a Virginia State Park on New Year’s Day.
In 2014, we visited Douthat State Park:
In 2015, we went to Smith Mountain Lake State Park:
In 2016, we visited one of our favorites, James River State Park:
For our January 1, 2017 trip, we decided to go to High Bridge Trail State Park. Some of my cousins went to this park in November, and since we’d never been, we decided to check it out.
Here’s the route we took:
(Interactive map: http://www.dcr.virginia.gov/state-parks/high-bridge-trail#general_information )
There were several entrances to the trail. We saw the first sign in downtown Farmville, VA. After parking the car and walking over to the trail head, we realized it was a 4+ mile hike to the bridge from that point. Um, no.
The next entrance to the trail–the one we went on–is 3 miles outside of Farmville on River Road. The walk to the bridge from the parking area is just under a mile. In terms of mileage, the trail to the restroom seemed much more do-able. 😉
There’s no visitor’s center at this entrance (there wasn’t one in town, either), and the long, wide trail is completely straight and flat. It’s a shared-use trail for hikers, bikers, and equestrians, and all of the above were out and about on this New Year’s Day!
We were blessed with a pleasantly warm January 1st, with temperatures close to 60 degrees. It took us a while, but we finally reached the bridge.
Pretty impressive–the bridge is more that 2400 ft. long, and 125 ft. above the Appomattox River!
Now had we planned a bit better, we probably would have opted to go to the 3rd entrance to the park, which is on the east end of the bridge. From the parking area on that side, the distance to the bridge is only .3 of a mile and it’s also much closer to the river. We’ll try to remember that for next time!
Wayne got some really nice shots of the river and the reflections in the river:
New Year’s Day selfie on the bridge, and Wayne’s shot of me with the Appomattox River behind/below me:
Funny story: So there we were, in the middle of this very long bridge, and I noticed a family walking towards us from the opposite direction. Well, whaddya know?! We’d seen them at a restaurant 25+ miles up the road an hour or two earlier when they came in and sat at the booth behind ours. I thought it was very “coincidental” to run into them again! I can’t tell you how many times in my life such things have happened. 🙂
As we started back towards the parking area, I paused to snap a picture of a hoof print next to Wayne’s shoe. Many of Virginia’s state parks now have facilities (including stables) for horses. I also took a picture of the # 4 (or possibly #14) that I spotted on the trail. Significance? No clue. 🙂
Truly a beautiful, sunny day at an historic location.
We drove through downtown Farmville again on the way home….
We hope to have the health and good fortune to continue our tradition of going to one of Virginia’s state parks on January 1, 2018, and I hope that you’ll make a resolution to explore some of the wonders in your own back yard in the coming year!
Happy New Year, everyone! 🙂