2018-04-22.Yorktown and York River State Park
Friday, we decided to take advantage of a sunny but cool day to go for a hike at York River State Park, a very nice Virginia park with miles of hiking trails and a boat launch and fishing pier along the York River. We hiked the Tsansis Trail which was about 3 miles in length but surprisingly hilly with deep ravines and high hills criss-crossed by the switchback trail. There were several overlooks across the salt marshes where Ospreys were busy building their nests and vultures lazily circled overhead looking for carrion. But, all they saw was us so....What was the most striking about the hike was the total lack of birdsong or even the scuffle of a squirrel while deep in the woods. There seemed to be plenty of pine cones and sweetgum balls littering the forest floor and new pinecones high in the trees which should have supported both birds and squirrels. It was not until we got closer to the river that the first songs could be heard. Roadie had a great time racing up and down the narrow trail with ears pinned back and joyful leaps but he wouldn't leave our sight without stopping and waiting because after all, he has to keep track of his flock.
Saturday was the weekly farmer's market in Yorktown and also that town's celebration of its sister city, Vendomes in France. The merchants were selling wonderful French inspired goods including brioche, croissants and other delights but of course, since we are along the York River at its mouth with the Chesapeake, there were all kinds of fish and crab products too. Yorktown is a lovely town and I could definitely live there. In some ways it is more charming than Williamsburg because it is smaller and seems more homey and welcoming than the hustle and bustle of a touristy college town. There is a wonderful battlefield park, visitors' center and self-guided drive along the York River where Cornwallis was defeated and surrendered during the American Revolution.
Sunday, we took another hike at the state park. This time, we walked along the Mattaponi trail and down to Fossil Beach where many fossils have been found over the years. Naturally, Bob was skeptical about this claiming that the rangers probably push fossils into the river banks for the tourists. I have never found or even seen a fossil at any of the fossil sights we have visited but, as the eternal optimist, always expect to get lucky (though, according to Bob, I already am lucky). We hiked across a long boardwalk over the salt marsh with ospreys perched in the trees along the trail and wildflowers blooming trailside. Of course, there were lots of other families hiking with their kids and no reported fossil sightings though several parents commented that they were the only fossils on the beach. The earth along the river banks is clay-like so, it looks like rocks but crumbles in your hands. There were some shells on the beach but looking for rocks required a sharp eye. I decided to look at the forest floor near the trail and picked up what looked like a rock. Guess what? It was a rock with a very visible fossil shell imprinted into its surface. I was thrilled and even Bob was both surprised and excited by the find. So, now, the fossil resides in the RV though we thought perhaps we should contact our friend Ray Hunsberger to make sure that removing a fossil would not cause the same bad luck that removing lava from Hawaii does. Ray would know....
Several days of rain are predicted and we are leaving tomorrow for the Gloucester, VA area for about a week. Hopefully, we'll get some fishing in and maybe launch the kayaks as we are staying on the banks of the Piankatank River.