52 Hikes in 52 Weeks: Hike 8, Arrowhead Marsh and Arrowhead Prairie

March 26th, 2016



One of the goals of several of our hikes has been to see eagles.  Arrowhead Marsh was recommended due to the known presence of an eagle nest.  We hiked both Arrowhead Marsh and Arrowhead Prairie which are located on opposite sides of the road.  Today’s herd consisted of myself, Becky, Lyndy and Michelle.  Michelle and I were both trying out new backpacks in preparation for our upcoming Virginia backpack.

We started out our journey on the marsh side, heading to the left at the Y.  The trail wandered through an area that appeared to have been recently burned.  The area was low and wet; dare I say, marhsy?  While we did not see an eagle, we did see a snakes.  Lots and lots and lots of snakes.  Lyndy discovered this rather by accident after nearly stepping on one.  We were walking along in peace when all of a sudden she began dancing and speaking in tongues.  I have no idea what she was trying to say, but I am quite sure she invented a new language.

Following the snake incident, Lyndy decided she no longer wanted to lead the group.  Very quickly, we came to a sign indicating we could go no further on this trail.  The trail was closed due to the presence of an eagle nest.  An observation blind had been put in for discreet viewing.  It was exciting to see the nest but true to luck on our other attempts, we saw no eagles.  We later read online that the eagles had relocated to private property nearby.

After checking out the nest, we retraced our steps and headed out to the right branch of the Y at the start of the trail.  This led us to the opposite side of a shallow pond.  We could see the eagle nest in the distance as well as the observation blind.

We once again retraced our steps and headed across the road to the prairie side.  Our hike started through a tall grass prairie.  Becky commented that when she was here last summer, the grass was above her head.  We passed a couple of small ponds and listened to a chorus of frogs.

Our hike quickly brought us to a gravel road that traveled along the north edge of the preserve.  We followed the road until it ended at a power line cut along Aboite Creek.  The trail then followed along the creek for a short distance before turning south.

The trail was wide, straight and appeared to have been cut through a relatively young hardwood planting.  The walking was level but did have quite a number of tripping hazards from where the trees had been cleared.  The trail eventually circled back to the the small trail through the tall grass prairie.

Altogether, we hiked just under 4 miles.  Even with the eagles having moved, this would be a great place for bird watching.  While this hike did not have great views, it did have some interesting and varied habitat.  Hopefully the eagles will decide to return at some point.  If you’re in the area, take an hour or two and explore!



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