About my blog

Welcome to my trail running site. I enjoy being on the trail where I can take in nature and clear my mind. I prefer running in the mountains, but anywhere rural will do. I have completed four 100 mile trail races and many other ultramarathons. I'm a member of Team Red, White and Blue. "Enriching the lives of America's veterans."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

George Washington Ran Here

(The Ides of March, 2010)

My adventure this morning takes me far from the American Southwest all the way to the East Coast of Virginia. I’m running the Yorktown National Battlefield where, in 1781, American Independence was won. I lived close to these hallowed grounds once upon a time and trained for 5 marathons and my first 50K trail run here on these historical roads. I’m glad to be visiting my family in this area and find a little time to reminisce with a nice run through the park.

My run starts at the visitor center before anyone else arrives. The weather is cloudy with the threat of rain, but I don’t mind. I’ve run here after torrential rain washed out roads, when the fields were blanketed with snow, when the road was covered with autumn leaves, when the spring wildflowers were in bloom, and when the air was so thick with heat, humidity, and bugs I thought I would just die. I’ve seen the sun rise, flown kites with my kids, counted deer as the sun set, watched a park ranger fire a canon, and ran my first 10 mile race here.

Shortly after starting my run I spot an Eastern Bluebird flitting along a split rail fence. I take a few pictures, but he won’t let me get very close before he takes flight again. I continue on the tour road past Redoubts 9 and 10 and down a hill to Wormley pond where I spot two Canada Geese swimming towards the dam. They are easier than the bluebird to photograph and then I see, swimming in the opposite direction, a Mute Swan, a non-native species that threatens native waterfowl. Nevertheless, he is a majestic looking bird that evokes a fairytale setting.

Continuing past the pond I cross the dam road that was once washed out by hurricane rainfall. I soon hear the call of cadence by a group of Coast Guard troops getting in their morning PT. We cross paths and then I head up the road through the woods where General Washington once led troops on the road to victory. I ponder if he actually ran here and then come to the conclusion that he probably rode his horse everywhere. In a little while I reach Surrender Field where the British laid down their arms several days after Lord Cornwalis sought a cease fire and terms of surrender.

After taking a few photos of this now picturesque meadow I jog on my way through wood and field towards Washington’s Headquarters. I cross Beaver Dam Creek thankful that the mosquitoes have not emerged yet. I enjoy looking at this swampy wetland and finally reach the turnoff to the headquarters. A short path leads into Newport News Park where another six mile trail loops around the perimeter, but I don’t have time for that today.

I turn right and then reach a white cross which marks the grave of 50 unknown French soldiers. A little bit further and I come to the French artillery park where several canons line the roadway. All is quiet here except for the morning chorus of frogs. I spot three deer in the distance of a large meadow. It is not unusual to see upwards of 40-50 deer in one field around dusk in this national park.

I reach a Y in the road where straight leads to the site of a French encampment, but I turn right back towards my starting place. An hour and a half has already passed and my adventure is coming to a close. A short bike trail leads me back to Surrender Rd and then I pass some earthworks and more canons. I make it back to the visitor center before rain starts to fall. I really enjoyed my run in this special place where peace, nature, and history converge. See you on the trail.

Canada Geese at Wormley Pond
Mute Swan

Waiting for a ship to pass under the York River Draw Bridge

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