Monday, December 29, 2014

Powhatan Wildlife Management Area

Located about twenty minutes west of RVA, the Powhatan Wildlife Management Area is slightly off the trail-running beaten path. More popular with hunters, fisherman and horseback riders, this spot isn't one that attracts a ton of trail runners. The WMA is easily accessible from Route 60 (Midlo Turnpike) or Route 13 (Old Buckingham Rd). I haven't done a ton of exploring over there, even though I grew up basically down the street.


The WMA is busy with hunters this time of year and most of the trails are fire-roads, better suited for 4-wheelers and jacked-up pickup trucks than for trail-running. Yesterday I wanted to get in a quick 6-miler in-between work and a family get-together out at my folks place in Powhatan. It was a Sunday, so I knew hunters wouldn't be around; I decided to knock out my trail-run over at the WMA. 

There's a small parking area off Route 13, on the way to my parent's place in Belona. I pulled in and decided to go for an out & back, my go-to route style when I really do not have time to get lost.

From the parking area, the beginning of my trek was on a long dirt road, which led to a private residence. There were NO TRESSPASSING signs all around the driveway leading to the house, so I veered to the left, looking for anything that looked remotely like a trail. I found Dogwood trail and set off down a little hill, deeper into the woods.

I had 2 goals.
1. Run for a while.
2. Don't get lost.

Pretty simple; I just needed to knock this one out so that I could get to my Mom's house for our family shindig, with enough time to shower and throw my veggie tray on the table before all the fam started arriving.

The Powhatan WMA covers 4,462 acres of forests, open fields, lakes and streams. The wildlife is super diverse back there; they even have different areas that have been "cultivated for habitat enhancement," (from PWMA website). I passed by the area that's been devoted to quails, right next to the safety zone and the private residence. Not sure what other species they've created an area like this for, but I'd love to spend more time back there checking that stuff out.

The online map doesn't list the names of the trails (first sign that an area is NOT geared towards trail-runners), but the map onsite is better. Being slightly directionally challenged, I snapped a photo of the map to take along with me on my run.

I only covered a tiny portion of the vast acreage back there, trekking down Dogwood trail for a 2-mile out and back, then turning down Holly trail for a mile or so before heading back down the dirt road to wrap up my 6-miler. Both Dogwood and Holly trails were super wide, fire-road style trails. There were a few creek crossings and a couple of GIANT, muddy hills to climb.

This hill is MUCH bigger in person.

Nice creek to jump through, Holly Trail @ the Powhatan WMA

With just a couple of weeks before my 2nd 50k at Willis River, I'm in totally unchartered territory as far as training goes. The Seashore 50k was just last weekend; trying to recover from that while getting geared up to tackle another 31+-miler in just 12 days has been tricky. Yesterday's trek was a nice medium-effort run over new a new route with some nice views.

I didn't get lost, I didn't encounter any disgruntled hunters and I made it back to the car in time to enjoy a nice long stretch before heading out. I'll call that one a winner.

Nice wide open fields along the dirt road at PWMA