Placed DateDec 15 2002
LocationGreat Falls, VA
Found By paper trail
Last Found Oct 1 2009
Hike Distance?

For these boxes,you will need a compass, and you will need to differentiate between a pace and a step

This park seems to have no name and perhaps belongs to the Water Authority folks, but you can actually walk from here along the river to Riverbend Park.On some maps it is called The Seneca Tract. No restrooms, no amenities, lots of dogs most days.

From 495 take exit 44 (Rte. 193) west toward Great Falls. Go almost to the end, turning right on Seneca Rd. just before the traffic light at Rte 7. Drive 3.6 miles to the end of Seneca Rd, where you will see a yellow barrier (usually open) and a cyclone fence-type gate (closed). Park on the road. Take any trail into the woods and follow it northward, always bearing left so that you are paralleling the road which you can see off to the left. WARNING: In the Fall, these trails can be VERY hard to see because of the fallen leaves; take your time!

THE ASTRONAUT Planted 12/15/02
America's first astronaut, this intrepid fellow's 1961 sub-orbital flight paved the way for Alan B. Shepard and the rest of the Mercury Astronauts. After leaving the space program, he spent several years in public relations with a well-known D.C. educational and research institution. Upon retirement, he moved to North Carolina where he lived out his life in an extended family of fellow research associates. Those who knew him remember him with affection and respect. Enter the woods as described above and follow the path that bears nearly due North. This path soon joins a service road coming in from the left and broadens. Where it turns nearly due East and starts downhill, stop; do not go downhill. Look for "X marks the spot" on a tree ahead of you and, keeping this to your right, follow the path that goes straight ahead. Stay on this path for 151 paces (not steps), until you see the "Phil Dimi" beech tree on your right. From Phil, walk a few paces to another beech set back on the right, "Dick Brown". Phil's name has been badly defaced by vertical knife slashes and is hard to read. "Dick Brown" is readable, and across the path from Dick is a notable group of 4 trees. Stand in the center of this cluster and, on a bearing of 16º walk 24 steps to another tree with a blackened stub at its base on the North side. Standing by the stub, on a bearing of 40º walk 24 steps to a tulip tree with a hollow at its base. The Astronaut dwells here under leaves, sticks and a rock.

ELEPHANT WALK Planted 11/8/02
After replacing The Astronaut , return to the main, broad trail and follow it downhill. After a few minutes you'll hear the river ahead. When the trail flattens out and turns right to follow the river, go about 45 paces to a path on the left that leads to the river and a nice picnic spot. Enjoy the spot and your lunch. Return to the broad path and keep going downstream as the trail gradually moves away from the river. After 10-15 minutes you'll come to a place where 2 trails emerge on the right. Take the one that bears first about 260º and then quickly turns to 270. Follow this path up past several waterbars, past a large grapevine on the left and then a double-trunked tree on the left. Stand on the trail opposite this tree and, on a bearing of 294º, walk to a tree with a bulge at the base. Elephant Walk is at the base of this tree under a rock, leaves and sticks.

THE NEW KING Planted 12/15/02
Since we all know that the erstwhile King of the Jungle is actually a denizen of open woodlands and savannahs, we propose this fellow for the post. A mild-mannered, family-oriented vegetarian, his imposing stature and regal bearing, not to mention his habitat, make him the perfect candidate. Long live the New King! Leaving Elephant Walk, continue on up this trail (the hard stuff is over). You will pass a couple of trails coming in on the left and right. Stay on this yellow-blazed trail.This is a popular horse trail and is seriously eroded in places. You will come to a place where another trail appears to the right,and just ahead a tree on the right that's sticking its elbow out. Continue past the elbow tree, and ignore the trail going left. After about 3 more minutes you will see houses and a road ahead. A trail will appear on the left. Take this path and follow it as it turns right downhill and then left following an old fence line. Ahead you will see a large beech tree on the left. Step around this tree to find the encouraging statement carved into its NW side. The New King is at the base of the tree below this carving, under leaves, sticks and a rock. To return to your car: Retrace your steps to where this path ends at the trail you followed from Elephant Walk. Turn right and when you reach the elbow tree turn left. Follow the orange blazes back to your car.