Grand Falls and the Billy Goat Trail

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Apparently, the weather we had whilst we were in the States was unseasonably cool. Living as we do on the 54th parallel, in the North-Wet of England, we’re used to cold rainy summers, so we thought it was hot, hot, hot. With an open-air swimming pool just around the corner, I think the kids would have been happy if we’d never ventured far from our base for the fortnight.

But we did get out to explore the area a little. The wide, watery expanses of the Potomac were a bit of a draw.

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I’m pretty sure that this is a bald eagle flying high over the river…..

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I didn’t really mention birds in the last post, but the bird-watching opportunities were every bit as fantastic as the entomological  and herpetological delights on offer. Once again, I rarely knew what I was seeing, but colourful and striking kingfishers, several humming birds, red-winged blackbirds, goldfinches (quite different from our goldfinches) and the bright pink cardinals which are a symbol of Virginia.

We saw lots of mammals too. As well as the beaver/muskrat at Huntley meadows, lots of deer….

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…. a groundhog, foxes red and grey, but no racoons, which we’d been led to believe are ten-a-penny locally.

One particularly memorable outing took us along the Billy Goat Trail, alongside the Potomac, but a little upstream of where we staying.

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It was bouldering walking through low trees, but little W was determined to do it all himself.

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It wasn’t exactly a wilderness walk – Saturday morning and there were lots of people about, but we saw no end of wildlife, including a snake, lots of large birds of prey by the river, turtles, herons, fish…

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In places the path crossed entirely rocky areas, where the route was marked with splashes of paint.

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There was even one section of scrambling – where an orderly queue had formed to clamber up the rocks.

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It was a superb little outing, but the heat and the exertion had completely taken it out of W….

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But our trip wasn’t over yet, we had a picnic to come. And there was an added bonus nearby….

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…Grand Falls. Not a high waterfall, but wide with an awful lot of water flowing through. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that this photo conveys just how large and spectacular they were. I’ve certainly never seen anything quite like it.

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A final shot of the pool. There’s something very exotic about being able to swim in an unheated outdoor pool in the evening without the need to first lather-up with goose fat.

The first thing S asked me as our plan touched down in Manchester?

“Dad, when can we go to America again?”

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Grand Falls and the Billy Goat Trail

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