It was a rainy day. One of those days that I just wanted to sleep in and be lazy all day. We had decided the night before that we were going to check out the trails at West Neck Creek Natural Area. But it was raining! We knew we wouldn’t melt, and besides it was really more like drizzling. And we knew we really needed to be doing something active. So we grabbed our backpacks, loaded up the dog, and set out.
The West Neck Creek Natural Area is right across the street from the old Virginia Beach courthouse at the Municipal center. According to the city website it “encompasses 175 acres and is planned for a “passive” park with a multi-use trails system available for horses, walkers, joggers, and bikers.”
We had recently purchased trekking poles and had not yet used them. We decided to try them out. The website did not specify how many trails or the length of them. We found there to be three miles of trails with about a third of a mile paved. The rest of the trails were natural and some of them were softened with mulch. We actually back-tracked some of the trails, so we did slightly over three miles.
We knew of this area because Dirt Man had a subsidiary of his company donate mulch to improve the trails. It was an Eagle Scout project of a boy from our church troop. Dirt Man had provided some supplies, equipment, and his labor.
Wylie was delighted to be with us on this hike. She led the way. ( Apparently, there was a raindrop on my camera lens when I took this picture.) We decided to try out our trekking poles. They are supposed to take pressure off of the lower body and work the upper body. They seemed to do just that. There were several bridges that went over the creek and drainage ditches. Dirt Man suggested that we cross over the water on a fallen tree. I refused because there was a perfectly good bridge a few hundred yards farther. He insisted that I might have to do that in Utah, and I claimed, “I’ll cross that tree in Utah when I come to it”.
This abandoned house was directly across from the Municipal Center and nestled in the 175 acres. The lawn appeared that it was once well manicured, and the lawn is still kept cut. It was an old house and made me wonder if someone sold all that land, including their home, to the city for the natural area. Dirt Man posed another question. He wondered if maybe that had long ago been the city mayor’s home. I couldn’t help but wonder about the hustle and bustle of the home in times gone by. If anyone knows the story behind it, I’d be interested to hear it.
Here’s another view of the house where you can see how it’s boarded up but can also see a bit of the yard. I can only assume that this park is one of the project that lacks funding, and the remainder of the trails awaits on budgets, donations, and volunteers. I must say that I was delighted to find a natural area right in the middle of the city. The more I am exploring my town and surrounding areas, I am finding that there is actually a little bit of what I love so much in the mountains. Ok, I admit the creeks aren’t exactly rivers, and there are no mountains, but there are a lot more trees than I ever knew. And having bits of sanctuaries is better than none at all.