We’ve visited most of Virginia’s state parks that are within a couple of hours of our house, but somehow we’d missed this one! With another beautiful spring day on tap, we started our day trip to Powhatan State Park by driving east on I-64.
Like James River State Park (which is about 75 miles to the west), Powhatan State Park is on the James River, and this park has 3 separate canoe launch areas. Our first stop–on River Launch Road–was “Canoe Launch A.” Blessings to the James River. <3
We’d picked up a trail guide at the entrance, and since we were already in the parking area for Canoe Launch A, we decided to walk along the River Trail. Trails in the various state parks are rated as easy, moderate, or difficult, and we tend to go for “easy” trails, like this one.
What a lovely day for a walk in the woods!
We were totally intrigued by the twisting and turning vines between the trees….
There were more Virginia Bluebells along the trail and lots of wild violets.
Yes, a very nice day for a walk in the woods along the James River!
We were surprised to see Pawpaw trees! LOL, about the only thing I knew about Pawpaws was that they’re mentioned in the Disney song, “The Bare Necessities” from “The Jungle Book”:
“Now when you pick a pawpaw
Or a prickly pear
And you prick a raw paw
Next time beware
Don’t pick the prickly pear by the paw
When you pick a pear
Try to use the claw
But you don’t need to use the claw
When you pick a pear of the big pawpaw”
And–too funny–Wayne remembered a song called “The Pawpaw Patch.”
“Pickin’ up paw paws, put ’em in your pocket
Pickin’ up paw paws, put ’em in your pocket
Pickin’ up paw paws, put ’em in your pocket
Way down yonder in the paw paw patch”
So after seeing real Pawpaws growing along the banks of the James River, we were both able to have visual confirmations of our previously limited musical references. 🙂
When we came to the end of the River Trail (after passing Canoe Launch B and the primitive campground), we could have turned around and walked back to the Canoe Launch A parking area. A park ranger who was walking down the path said we might enjoy the Gold Dust Trail that goes up to a meadow. Hmm, we were on the “easy” River Trail and The Gold Dust Trail was rated “moderate,” but we decided to give it a try–so up we went.
At some point as we walked up (and up…) the trail we realized that we’d planned a bit poorly. We hadn’t brought water with us, we didn’t have our walking sticks, and Wayne wasn’t wearing the best shoes for something that was starting to resemble a “hike” and not a leisurely “walk” in the woods….
At the top of the hill, the trail came out on Powhatan State Park Road. We turned right–presumably still on Gold Dust Trail–and walked parallel to the road for about a quarter of a mile before turning right again on a trail called (hmmmm….) River Trail.
Unlike the trail along the river, THIS River Trail went through a large meadow. Alrighty….
It was a pretty walk but a long walk, and when we finally reached the intersection with Turkey Trail (which was closed due to excessive mud), there was a bench. Funny–there were lots of benches along the easy, flat River Trail, but not a bench to be seen on Gold Dust Trail or on the trail through the meadow. So anyhow, when we finally saw a place to sit, yes we sat! (This was point 5 on the map below…)
After resting a bit, we started down the hill towards point 6 and ultimately back to our car at point 1. Going down the hill was a little easier than walking up the hill on Gold Dust Trail, but again I wished we had our walking sticks!
We were both really thirsty by the time we got back to the car, and we quickly finished the little bit of water and coffee that was left in our travel mugs. We knew there would be water available in the campground, so that was our next destination.
Oddly, I didn’t take a single picture of any of the campsites, but they’re wonderful! I was writing down the numbers of our favorite sites (those with some shade) until I realized I’d written down most of them. All are “site specific” and it’s quite likely that the campground will be fully booked on weekends from now to the end of the season…. Pics of the sites at Powhatan State Park can be found here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/vastateparksstaff/albums/72157675726041106
After making a couple of loops through the campground, we stopped at the bathhouse to fill up our travel mugs with water. While we were there, we struck up a conversation with a man who was sitting on a bench just outside. A former park ranger, he said that he lived nearby and enjoyed coming to walk his dog and to talk to people. Turns out he lived out our way in the 1980s, and he and Wayne had some friends in common in the Richmond area. Small world. 🙂
After leaving the campground we went to our final stop, Canoe Launch C. Sitting there enjoying the wide and beautiful James River, we agreed that we’d love to camp at Powhatan State Park and that it would also be on the short list for future day trips. I’ve said it before, but Virginia’s state parks are simply wonderful!
Instead of taking the most direct route home (I-64), we meandered northwest on secondary roads. When we got to Scottsville, I impulsively turned towards a cemetery we’d visited previously.
A little over a year ago I’d found the grave of my great-great grandmother’s sister, Elizabeth Columbia Rhodes. She’d married John Walker Clements in 1847, and they’d made their home in Scottsville, VA.
The biggest surprise, however, was when I discovered a census record that showed that Frances “Fannie” Clements, one of their daughters, had been a seamstress at the school where I’ve worked the last 20+ years! There was definitely a sense of connection with this woman (my 1st cousin, 3x removed), and the connection seemed even more significant since several years before I had re-introduced sewing at the school as a week-long class and as a service group. Whenever we’re in the Scottsville area I like to stop by to say hello.
Tired but happy, we continued towards home. What an all around beautiful way to spend a spring day!
Until next time,
Sharon & Wayne