Black Pond is a hidden gem in Fairfax County, Virginia. Located on the grounds of The Madeira School, the spring-fed lake is nestled among bedrock bluffs, upland forests, and abundant and ecologically diverse vegetation.
On Thanksgiving morning, looking to work up an appetite for the feast later in the day, my daughter, eldest son, and I made the half-mile hike from Madeira’s campus to the lake. The journey took us down a steep, winding pathway with steps fashioned from logs along the route. Being November, it was a bit muddy and slippery, but we survived unscathed (mostly). Upon reaching the eastern bank of the lake, we were rewarded with a gorgeous view of rocky bluffs and beech, hemlock, and oak trees, still sporting the remnants of their fall foliage, reflected in the deep blue of the lake.
Wanting to explore what other views the lake had to offer, we ventured far off the beaten path, climbing up boulders and over fallen tree trunks, passing a cave (I refused to go in!), stepping over crevices (yikes!), all the while pushing and pulling each other as we marveled at the beauty of the changing views.
And then we found the other end of the lake. From atop an outcropping of rock, we could see the western bluffs, and beyond those, the glistening Potomac River Gorge (a favorite spot for kayakers and less adventurous spectators). It was our own scenic overlook and it was magnificent! Needless to say, we took quite a few photos of each other celebrating our find.
Alas, we had Thanksgiving dinner to attend to, and so we began the journey back to civilization. I, for one, didn’t want to revisit the path we had taken (going past that cave once was enough for me), so we set off and began to walk up what looked like a fairly easy slope. Let me just admit, mama isn’t always right. In retrospect, the cave might have been easier!
In the end, we accomplished what we had hoped – we definitely were ready to feast on turkey and all the trappings. But we gained so much more: wonderful memories of a family adventure inspired by Mother Nature’s pristine beauty. I can’t imagine a more perfect way to spend a Thanksgiving morning.
Posted as part of the Weekly Photo Challenge: Reflections.