Wednesday, January 1, 2014

First Landing State Park, Virginia Beach, VA

This morning we took part in our First Day Hike, part of a national collaboration between Virginia State Parks and America's State Parks. We went to First Landing State Park in Virginia Beach.
There is also a photo contest as part of this First Day Hike--and Al was being clever with our photo of the park sign. He took the park sign's photo through the punch out hole in our state park parking pass. We thought we'd enter this one in the contest.

To get to First Landing State Park, from I-64, take Northampton Blvd.-U.S. 13 North (Exit 282). Go through eight lights, then turn right at the Shore Drive/U.S. 60 exit (last exit before the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel). Take a right on Shore Drive and go four and a half miles to the park entrance. The park has 20 miles of trails and 1.5 miles of sandy Chesapeake Bay beach frontage. Most of the trails are paved so it's very easy to walk. This park also rents two bedroom furnished cabins which are dog friendly. It would be a great place to take an inexpensive vacation at Virginia Beach ($131-$146 per night during prime summer season) and take your four legged friend along! You'd also have a semi-private beach!
We walked on the Cape Henry Trail which has a lot of information on the Chesapeake Indians. The Chesapeake tribe was part of Algonquin speaking Indians who lived up and down the East Coast.
Here we are next to a boat, called a quintan. The Indians of the Chesapeake relied on large dugout canoes as their main form of transport. They felled huge cypress and Atlantic white cedar trees and hollowed them out by burning patches and scraping out the wood.
I think these downed logs were felled leftovers from Hurricane Isabel.

"On April 26, 1997 sixty-four human remains of the Chesapeake Indians were reinterred at this site. The Chesapeake Indians inhabited this area from about 800 B.C. to about 1600 A.D. The landing by the English colonists at Cape Henry on April 26, 1607 while enroute to Jamestown Island was observed by the Chesapeake Indians. The Nansemond Indian Tribe planned and coordinated the reburial ceremony."--the inscription on the plaque.

In ancient times when a person was buried it was difficult to bury them deeply, and sad to say, scavengers and predators were a constant problem. So mourners usually brought stones with them when they came so that they could pile them onto the grave to discourage animals from digging up the body. The modern tradition of placing a small stone on a grave to honor the deceased seems to me to show how many people visit the grave and also harkens back to an ancient tradition which shows respect for the mortal remains. You can see stones on all the posts around the burial mound.

The Chesapeake Indians tracked time and seasons. Passing years were counted by the number of winters, or cohonks—the sound of migrating geese flying overhead.
I think PG heard a cohonk overhead! She didn't want to leave when the walk was over so we have to go back to experience the splendor and the beauty of this maritime forest.

Wish you were here,
Sammy & PG

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