Showing posts with label trails. Show all posts
Showing posts with label trails. Show all posts

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge: Centennial Trail

Date of Visit: January 8, 2024

Last year on our Vero Beach trip we visited the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge and Mik stayed back at the resort. This year since we had done it before and knew the trail was accessible, we were able to convince him to come.

The first part of the trail is a paved path. This part goes by a pond.

The last part of the trail is a boardwalk style with planks listing all the different National Wildlife Refuges. As Pelican Island was the first one, this trail celebrates the Centennial and history of the National Wildlife Refuge System and lists all of them on the planks as it leads to the Observation Tower that looks out to Pelican Island. Mik did not like the bumpy feel of this part of the trail. It seemed that the writing on the planks made it bumpier as he found the areas without the words smoother.

Overall we have enjoyed Pelican Island National Refuge as a family we have visited different parts of it, but this visit with Mik was not the best. The trail is good accessible-wise, but Mik really did not like the boardwalk part and was disappointed that that day we did not see many birds. Last year and the other day we visited this year, we did see more birds including close up, so understandable that he was disappointed as this day there were not many to see even with binoculars.

Destination Info:

4055 Wildlife Way
Vero Beach, FL 32963

Friday, June 25, 2021

Charles Pinckney National Historic Site

Date of Visit:
June 18, 2021

Our visit to Charles Pinckney NHS was the first stop as part of our weekend trip to Hilton Head to celebrate Mom’s 60th birthday. Mik probably would’ve rather chosen to visit Fort Sumter if he could’ve picked, but currently they are doing dock work and it’s more inaccessible than normal. Charles Pinckney NHS site just said that the historic house was closed, so we figured it probably wasn’t accessible anyways and it wouldn’t really affect our experience. Plus, it’s not far from where we live now that we could always go back if we wanted to see more. Turned out it is just in phased reopening with the only thing still closed being the store (would’ve been nice if I could have gotten the National Park Passport stickers as I never got the 2020 set and now also need the 2021 set).

The parking lot is a little rough with it not being paved and the grass has gotten a little wild taking up part of some spots.

By the parking lot there is a covered seating area and bathrooms. Mik was impressed that the bathrooms had buttons to open the doors and that was before we discovered they also had a family bathroom in the visitor center.

The path from here to the visitor center (i.e. the historic house) and around the house are paved.

The visitor center has a lift so that wheelchairs can access it. The lift goes up to the porch and then you can enter through the side door that has you enter through the back of the shop. While the shop is “closed,” the wheelchair can still go through it as really it was only still closed because they have not got the staffing and registers set back up.

The visitor center contains three rooms with exhibits about Charles Pinckney, the history of the farm, and a little on the region. There is also a family accessible bathroom by the room that they show a film in.

Mik wasn’t sure about doing the trail as it was hot and humid. Mom and him almost just stayed in the visitor center where the ranger had offered to put in the other films they had. Ultimately, Mik decided to go because it was a pretty short trail even though we couldn’t do it as a loop and had to do it as two short there and back trails as the nature trail between the slave community and boardwalk is through the woods with tree roots and poison ivy to watch for, etc. (Ranger was very good at being able to describe the whole trail and accessibility.)

We did the part of the trail that went past the model rice trunk and to the boardwalk first. This path looks like wood chips, which maybe it is, but it is packed down and was pretty much the same as rolling on the sidewalk/paved paths.

At the end of the boardwalk area, Mik was excited to get a snuggly photo with Mom and I didn’t have to be the one to do it for once.

We then took the part of the trail that goes along the Historic Road Trace, which would have been the way towards Charleston in Pinckney’s time (including when George Washington visited in 1791).

The path from here to the slave community goes through grass. It is wide and we could have easily taken Mik on it, but he choose to just stay back in the shade than go on a bumpy ride.

Overall we enjoyed Charles Pinckney NHS as Mik really did get to experience it all (or at least as much as he wanted and not because it wasn’t accessible).

Destination Info:

1254 Long Point Rd
Mt Pleasant, SC 29464

Monday, September 30, 2019

Assateague Island National Seashore

Date of Visit: September 19, 2019

Dad decided to take an impromptu trip to Assateague Island National Seashore on his off day. We started at the Visitor Center in Berlin, MD, but didn't end up doing the Maryland part of the island because we all most wanted to see the lighthouse and we wouldn't get there until 3pm. Thus, we also didn't spend time even looking at the exhibit or to see the movie leaving the Maryland part for another trip.

The Lighthouse Trail is short, but up a steep hill that gets very sandy at parts. I had gone ahead to sketch the lighthouse while Dad got Mik out of the truck and saw that there was a parking lot for handicap access only up by the lighthouse, but Dad decided to just push Mik anyways. I also found out that we happened to pick the doable path on the right and that there was another path on the left side of the parking lot (near the outhouse) that ends up having steps.

Mik actually did willing pose for at least this first photo, but the mosquitos were very intense and we quickly headed back to the truck.

On the way from the Lighthouse Trail to the Toms Cove Visitor Center (Dad and I just popped in quickly for the stamp), we stopped to see the horses. After the mosquito experience, Mik was totally done for the day, but he did enjoy that he could see the horses without getting out of the truck.

Destination Info:
Assateague Island National Seashore
Berlin, MD & Chincoteague, VA

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Manassas National Battlefield Park: Stone Bridge Trail

Date of Visit: June 18, 2017

The Stone Bridge Trail is one of the accessible trails (or at least partly accessible) at Manassas National Battlefield Park. It is also one of the stops on the driving tour, so it has a parking lot next to it.

The Stone Bridge Trail is a rather short trail that is mostly a paved path that goes up to the Stone Bridge. The trail is only considered accessible up to the bridge.

Right before the bridge there is a bump to go over and the bridge is not technically accessible due to the slope, but it's not that difficult to go across the bridge. The trails on the other side of the bridge are where it really is no longer accessible partly due to it being a stepped trail down. While not much of a trail, Mik still found it interesting to be able to check out the bridge.

Destination Info:
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Manassas, VA

Manassas National Battlefield Park: Henry Hill Loop Trail

Date of Visit: June 18, 2017

The park actually does have some wheelchair accessible trails, but we ended up not getting around to checking them out except Stone Bridge Trail because we wore Mik out doing the Henry Hill Loop Trail. I am glad we ventured out on this trail first, though, as it was an interesting overview of the battle and while not technically accessible it was quite doable (amazing what a difference the new wheelchair makes as it would've been hard to impossible with his last chair except maybe with the freewheel).

The Henry Hill Loop Trail focuses on the history of the Battle of First Manassas (Bull Run), which mostly took place around the hill. The trail is mostly through low grass, although some parts are more dirt and gravel and there are definitely uneven pothole parts.

The first main stop on the trail is the Henry House, which was destroyed during the battle and rebuilt after the war. There is an exhibit with a movie and history on the house inside, but it is a huge step to get inside that has a big rock as a step making it not really doable to get inside with Mik. If it has just been regular two or three steps, we might've taken Mik inside because once inside it seems you can easily roll through and he would've found it interesting.

Even not being able to go inside the house this part of the trail has several things to see as there is a family cemetery where the only civilian casualty of the battle is buried and an 1865 monument.

Most of the bad parts are past the Henry House as you loop over to the Southern line cannons. You could probably easily skip the worst parts of the loop, which included a steep hill down and right back up, and still get a feel for the whole trail if you went to the Henry House, back to the Visitor Center, and then over to the Jackson statue and Southern line instead of following the whole loop trail.

Following the loop we went past some of the Southern line marked with cannons and over to the Jackson statue that commemorates where he got the Stonewall nickname.

Destination Info:
Manassas National Battlefield Park
Manassas, VA

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Shenandoah National Park: Limberlost Trail

Date of Visit: May 13, 2015

Limberlost Trail is the one accessible trail in Shenandoah National Park. It technically is not entirely accessible, but mainly because it is too steep to meet the current ADA standards. However, we've certainly been on less accessible trails. Even the trail we did a few days before this at the Natural Bridge was tougher than this one.

There is a nicely detailed explanation of the trail on the sign by the trailhead. It explains how part of the trail is up to current ADA standards. Thus, if you start that way, you can do a there and back instead of the whole loop if the rest of the trail seems too difficult. However, it actually is kind of easier to do it the other way as a loop because this makes the most steep parts downhill.

The path is mostly crushed greenstone. Normally probably wouldn't use the freewheel for this type of trail, but with the caster being so messed up at that time even the it was helpful for even the smoothest of surfaces.

There is also some boardwalk as part of the trail.

The bridge is where it is no longer recommended for wheelchairs.

It's really not that steep, though, with the main thing being that going this way it ends up being 9 to 12% uphill near the end.

Overall it's a decent trail in that it is very accessible. However, Mik thought it was not any more interesting than what he could see on the rest of Skyline Drive. Having done other trails the previous day with Dad and actually getting some better views and seeing waterfalls, I'd have to agree that this particular trail is kind of boring. Apparently, it has a lot of mountain laurel, though, so it might be more interesting when they're in bloom.

Destination Info:
Limberlost Trail
Milepost 43 Skyline Drive
Shenandoah National Park, VA

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Virginia's Natural Bridge Park

Date of Visit: May 12, 2015

The Natural Bridge is something I've been really wanting to see since reading about it in the 1940s Virginia: A Guide to the Old Dominion. While it was out of the way, it ended up making a good thing to add to our Skyline Drive trip.

You start at the visitor center, which has a ramp entrance off to one side. You also need to make sure you go out that same door because you can't get to the ramp from the other doors.

The path down to the natural bridge has steps, but they run a shuttle that has a lift. The regular stop involves steps out the back of the visitor center, so they call them to do a pickup in front of the visitor center when needed. They don't do tie downs, so Mik transferred to a regular seat on the way down. On the way up he decided to just stay in chair and didn't complain at all. It's just a short drive up and down the hill and they go slow, so really it is a rather smooth ride.

The trail from the shuttle to and under the natural bridge is a paved path. The Cedar Creek Trail continues on to a waterfall after that. This part of the trail is gravel and a little steep near the first bridge, but we has no issues until we got to the lost river. Of course, the free wheel was a big help, especially since one of Mik's casters is currently totally messed up to the point the freewheel was useful even for the paved path.

The Cedar Creek Trail goes past a Monacan Indian village exhibit, a saltpeter mine, and a lost river. We skipped the exhibit because we weren't interested. The saltpeter mine has a very smooth bridge over to where you can peek in a little.

The lost river was the one part of the trail that was tough as the bridge over it isn't level with the ground. It wasn't that hard, but we did wait for Dad to catch up to make sure we didn't do something like at Pipestone.

It is worth going over the bridge because the trail is just as good as before the bridge and it is a nice viewpoint of the waterfall, especially considering Mik didn't get to see the other falls Dad and I hiked down to in Shenandoah National Park the next day.

Destination Info:
Virginia's Natural Bridge Park
15 Appledore Lane
Natural Bridge, VA 24578