This is part of a national series, and the first real public ones, that havent been Word of Mouth.
PERSEVERANCE: (def) Steady persistence in adhering to a course of action, a belief, or a purpose; steadfastness.
MARTIAL ART REPRESENTED: The modern day art of "Mixed Martial Arts". The newest form of martial art and the direction on martial arts in the upcoming years, is a style of well-rounded fighter that is balanced in all aspects of skilled fighting...from wrestling, to kickboxing, to ju-jitsu, to freestyle. It is know for bruital force, and the art of ending fights quickly via knockout, or submission on the ground. It has some of the best athlete's in the world in the sport now, and has become popular via the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and no-holds barred cage fights the past 10 years. Often called barbaric, fighters are safer than the sport of boxing, due to quick fight stoppages compared to the prolonged hour long beating boxers aften take. This style is the basis for this whole series, and the motivation to break down different styles and make this series.
BACKGROUND: This is a letterbox in a global long hike letterbox series consisting of 20 or so boxes across the planet, with others in Northern Virginia, Maryland, Canada, Indiana, Oregon, Wisconsin, Ohio, and even Holland. All boxes have custom logbooks, hand-carved mounted stamps, and well disguised containers. The idea is to only have a few visitors a year, and keep it safe for the high traffic boxes in the world. I often vacation in the Virginia Beach area a few times a year, and decided that I must get one in this series planted in the area, as it is a good spot for vacationers to do a box in this national series. I can also easily maintain this box and visit it 2-3 times a year and check on it. This is not the most challenging hike, but it is over 4.5 miles long. It is the shortest and easiest in the series so far. It offers views of swampland, marshes, turtles, woodpeckers, and bullfrogs. At a normal pace, including logging in, it can be completed in under 2 hours.
DIRECTIONS: First Landing State Park is the largest park in the Virginia Beach area, so locating it will be simple..look on any map of the area. There are 2 entrances to this park. One is on 64th street at the oceanfront..The other it to the north, off Shore Drive...near Fort Story..This is the main entrance and the one you will need to take. Go into main entrance off Shore Drive near Fort Story.....You will come to a park ranger booth within 300 feet of the entry to the park.....Pay your fees ( $3 on weekdays, $4 on weekends),ask for a trail map, and drive straight foward. The road twists and turns for awhile, take it to the end to the main parking lot. This is the most visited state park in the Commonwealth of Virginia, so be VERY descrete about finding and loggin into this letterbox. ALSO: there is a warning about cottonmouth snakes in this park on the longest trail you use for this box, on logs in the swampland....stay on path, and use your eyes. Do this box at your own normal risk.
CLUES: In the lot, you will see the Visitors Center..Head to it, and to the right of the building you will see a sign for the "Bald Cypress Trail" aka the red trail . Go ahead and start your journey down the trail mentioned above. Soon into your walk you will be on a bridge/overlook that puts you over a swamp. You will see some activity in the water, and some woodpeckers feasting in the Cypress Trees the path is named for. Cary on...you will soon come to another bridge/overlook area... Again, take note of the black water and trees around you. These bridges were breathtaking and the images will be left in my mind for sometime...No other way to describe it...After you leave this second bridge, you will come have to make a decision, as the path comes to a "T"...Go to the East... Soon after going East...you will see a large observation area off to your right, that is "U" shaped, and leads back to the path...Check it out for a few, and see if you can locate all the frogs in the swamp. Go back to the trail and you will walk past a few large trees that are in the middle of your path. Soon you will come to another trail. This is the Osmanthus Trail, and the real start of this journey. This trail is long and repetitive at times but you will need to "perservere" it to complete this. Take this 3.2 mile trail clockwise. in a few minutes you will see 2 large trees on your left with carvings on them. One has a heart with the word "LOVE" forever etched on it. This path currently has a lot of bridges you will have to cross. After the 7th bridge you will soon come to a large pine tree on your left on the edge of the trail. Directly across the path on your right is a small pine tree that is leaning across the path making an arc to walk under. This arcing pine is resting on the large tree on the left side of the path, and the small trunk passes well beyond the large tree. 2 branches on the "arcing" pine are making a football "field goal" style upright, to the left of the larger tree on your left. From this area you will walk 35 steps to a 3 trunked-tree hugging the edge of the trail on your left. With your left shoulder touching this tree, and feet still on the path, take a reading of 240 degrees. Look about 20-25 feet in that direction, under the base of a small fallen tree. Once finding....look around, and you will spot a good area to log in on "natures benches"..This is a perfect area to look like you are taking a rest, and disguise what you are doing...Remember this park is busy, and has lots of joggers...So you can be approached by people out of no where around any turn. BE DESCRETE...and stealth..and enjoy. When done, continue on on the loop...when you come back to where this trail meets the Bald Cypress trail, you will make a left, and finish that trail over more swamp overlooks. Refer to your park map to get back to the parking area......