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AROUND RESTON | HOT SPOTS | LOCAL INTEREST | TRENDING

Discover Hidden Gems Along RA’s Trails M BY JESSICA BIGGER

ost residents use Reston Association (RA) paved trails to get from point A to point B or for daily exercise. However, each trail has little hidden gems to explore along the way. So, the next time you are out for a walk, run or bike ride, keep your eyes peeled for new discoveries. Reston’s five different paved surface trails are colorcoded. The Pink Trail is a loop trail in North Point. The Green Trail takes you from Lake Anne to Reston Town Center. The Red Trail is a loop trail around Lake Thoreau. The Blue Trail goes from Tall Oaks to Lake Anne and all the way to North Point. The fifth trail — Turquoise Trail — takes you from South Lakes Village Center to Hunters Woods. Some trails run through more green space than others. I had never been on the Turquoise Trail, so I grabbed my dog Patches and set out for an adventure to see what hidden gems we could find. I picked this trail because it runs along a stream and is surrounded by forest, wetlands and meadows. So the naturalist in me figured this trail would reveal some surprises along the way. And my trip didn’t disappoint. I started my hike at the Twin Branches trail marker and headed toward Hunters

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Woods. The first thing I came upon was an area of wetlands. I discovered a large patch of milkweed along the trail — perfect monarch butterfly habitat. Since this was spring, it was too early to see any monarchs, but later in the summer there’s a good chance of spotting a few. Along the way, I noticed several rock outcroppings, a shelf mushroom on the ground that looked like a large white flower and, finally, some

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wetlands with skunk cabbage (which looks like dark green lettuce). For me, it’s a familiar sign of wetland habitat. Not too long after starting my hike, I discovered a real hidden gem between markers 14 and 15. Tucked away you will find a bench in the middle of the meadow, right by the stream. If you are not looking out for it, you’ll miss it. There is a nature surface trail off to your right that takes you there. While taking a short break there, I saw a fox scamper by and several small butterflies hopping around in search of nectar. I also stumbled

upon my first eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly for the year. As I continued along, I spotted some wetlands filled with snags (dead trees) — prime woodpecker habitat. There were a variety of woodpecker holes, large and small. I stopped briefly and spotted a couple of hairy woodpeckers and an acorn woodpecker banging away high up in the trees. Between markers 17 and 18, I spotted a bluebird house and, as I looked up, sure enough there was a bluebird singing while perched on a tree

Profile for Reston Association

Reston July 2018  

Reston Association Publication

Reston July 2018  

Reston Association Publication

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