7.9 miles (12.7 kilometers). A 600-foot (182 meters) gain in elevation. 4¾ hours. These are the statistics from the solo walk I took this morning and afternoon in the Prince William Forest Park, a component of the National Park System located just 40 minutes by car from our apartment in Falls Church. In many respects, it was like being back in East Asia again. Alone for long stretches of time in the forest. Peaceful, beautiful scenery. Even the heavy rain that fell starting around noon was evocative of past experiences. The only things missing today were wild monkeys and mountains. More than three months in northern Virginia, and I still haven't done much in the way of climbing. I'm sure there are mountains out there somewhere, but all those rolling hills aren't of much use in helping to fulfill those yamabushi 山伏 dreams.
A 150-million-year-old piece of petrified wood maintains a silent vigil in front of the park's visitor center.
Danger! Pelegro! Yellow jackets nest
These remains of concrete buildings are the only reminders of the pyrite mine that once operated here. The mine was shut down in 1919 when it was determined that pyrite could be mined more cheaply in Spain. Looks like globalization has been around longer than we thought.