Rara Avis Series  LbNA # 13234

Placed DateJan 26 2005
LocationGreat Falls, VA
Found By Night0wl
Last Found Jan 15 2013
Hike Distance?

You will need a compass, and you will need to differentiate between a pace and a step.
Lady Ross's Turaco was missing but has recently been found.

From I-495 take Rte. 193 west toward Great Falls. Pass through Great Falls and almost to the end, turning right on Seneca Rd just before the traffic light at Rte 7. Go 3.6 miles to the end of Seneca Rd. Park on the roadside and look for the "No bikes on trails" sign nearest the yellow barrier. The trail begins just south of this sign. Follow the trail 40 yards to a fork; take the trail going nearly due North. Soon it will broaden and join a service road coming in from the left. Where this broad trail turns East to go downhill, look instead for the beech tree with carved and painted graffiti, and an "X" marks the spot. Follow the trail that begins to the left of X for 53 paces, until you see 4 beeches on the left, one with a natural marking that resembles a bowling pin. On the right, another beech has a marking rather like a toppling cross. Standing on the trail between these trees, take a bearing of 314 degrees and walk 27 steps to a very tall tree. Now, on a bearing of 239 degrees, walk 27 steps to 2 tall trees. Gray Heron lurks at the base of the southern-most tree

Return to the path and keep going, past the Phil Dimi and Dick Brown beeches on the right, until you come to a fork. Bear left. Walk until you come to a fork where the path circles around some trees to an overlook. If it's winter, enjoy the view. Otherwise, return to the fork at the top of the circle and take the path that leads off at 225 degrees. Walk 60-80 paces to a double-trunked tulip tree (NOT the double beech) on the left. On a bearing of 171 degrees, walk to a modest beech, (resetting your bearings every time you have to go around an obstacle). Lady Ross's Turaco dwells among the roots on the south side.

Return to the path and continue in a SW direction. At the intersection, turn left. Pass Tyler and Brian trees.Where the path splits (at another "X") bear right. Walk until you come to a rockpile overlooking the river. Eat lunch! Enjoy the view! Leave the rocks and follow the trail that goes steeply downhill at 136 degrees. Walk until you come to the remains of a rotted stump on the right. Standing on the path, opposite the stump, take a bearing of 260 degrees (almost due west) and walk to yet another beech tree. Palm Cockatoo lurks somewhere in the roots. Return to the path and follow it all the way down the hill and cross the creek on the footbridge. Turn right and when you come to the broad trail, turn right and start uphill. Shortly after you pass the tribute to Amanda Baker, on a tree on the left, you will come to a path leading off to the left. Follow this till you come to a sewer pipe. Standing on the pipe, take a bearing of 171 degrees and walk to a tall beech. Elementary, My Dear ---! is hidden somewhere among the roots.
Go back to the broad gravel service road and go left, up past the "x-marks the spot" tree on the right. When the trail flattens out and turns first to the left and then starts to the right, you can see the green gate ahead -- and 2 trails coming in on the left. Go to the first trail, which leads off at about 126º. Right at the beginning, you may see a very faint trail going off sharply on the left at 80º. This is hard to see especially because of all the downed branches from the last few storms. Up ahead you can see 3 young beech trees clustered around a very tall Hickory(?). Follow the path ahead around to the right with a deep gully on your left, past some ferns, counting beech trees on the right that are right on the path, not back a few feet. King Vulture will be found hidden in the fourth beech tree.
To go back to your car, return to the broad gravel trail/service road, go down through the green gate and walk left up the paved road.