Leaf Peeping at Waller Mill Park

 Since moving to Williamsburg in September, I have spent a bit of time exploring the trail system around the city.  It has become a way to occupy my time; without a large garden to tend to I have the opportunity to wander trails.  On a recent Sunday, I took my husband out to Waller Mill Park to hike the Lookout Tower Trail.  To learn more about the trail system in the park, the City of Williamsburg has a page on their website that offers a pdf file that I recommend downloading.  It is called Great City Walks and the trails in Waller Mill Park are included.

Waller Mill Park is home to the reservoir system that provides water to the City of Williamsburg and James City County and with that in mind, it is not a free park.  However, the $2 entry fee is well worth the money.  The park has limited hours and it closes by 5pm each day but if you have an hour or two, you can get a lot of exploring in.  For those of you not interested in hiking, you can play disc golf, rent a paddle boat or canoe or bring your own non-gasoline powered boat, fish, picnic or bring the dog to the dog park.  To learn all of the rules and restrictions, visit the homepage for the park.

We arrived at about 2pm and figured we would be finished with the nearly 3 mile hike in about an hour and 15 minutes.  However, there was so much to see on the trail it took us two hours!  The close up photo of the moss and lichen growth on the rock in the photo above is just one example of the distractions we encountered.  To see more of our discoveries, you will have to explore the cellphone photos I posted on my Instagram feed, I did not take photos of every mushroom we found using my camera because we may not have made it out of the park before closing time!

 The views of the foliage were beautiful.  The day was overcast and that was a good thing.  We took our time and just enjoyed the surroundings.  This area is just beginning to put on a display of color, the cold snap we are expecting should change that.

 On this afternoon, there were a few boaters paddling around and hikers with dogs but for the most part, we were on our own.  It was truly a peaceful place to be and I plan to make this a regular destination.

 The boat launch near the parking area had one of the best views of foliage in the park!  It was hard not to pull camera out and I could easily have spent an hour or more on the dock.

 The reflections were every bit as enchanting as the view itself.  To my husbands surprise, and possibly his dismay, I actually laid down on my stomach to take these shots.

 The ripples in the water distorted the reflection and the random leaves floating on the surface of the water caught my attention.

 There was a pair of ducks swimming near by but I never even thought to get them in the photo

The clouds in the sky look even angrier due to the distortion of the reflection.  
Go on out to Waller Mill and hike the trails, you will not regret it.  Keep in mind that this is one of the rootiest trail systems I have been on.  Watch your footing, something tough to do on a leaf covered pathway.  If you have bad knees or ankles, this may not be the place for you since it is guaranteed that you will trip over at least a couple roots along the way.  For those with limited mobility, you may want to stick to the Paved Bike Path, a two mile walkway, look for it on the map.

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