We don’t always just go to parks, often you will find in historical sites enough of trails to make it a “hike” and not just a place to look at where dead people sat on a stool. We traveled to Booker T. Washington National Historic Site this past week and had such a good time.

There is much historical information that you could get just by walking around, viewing what is left, going into the Visitor’s Center (if it was not closed for Covid), and just talking to the Park Rangers. There was a lovely lady that was having a meaningful conversation with visitors discussing topics like slavery and social/political evolution. This is a place where you can see a bit of history and imagine that what you see on TV is not always the exact replica of what happened.

This was the site where Booker T Washington spent early part of his life and where he and his family were freed in 1865. If you want some further information, check out the History Channel’s webpage as well.

We got to see some pigs, chickens, and ducks, but for the most part, we were there to hike and see what trails they did have on the property. There is 223.92 acres here, although there really is only one loop trail that covers a portion of the property.

Overall, we did about 2.2 miles of hiking if you include the plantation, so not a very difficult trek. Our main adventure was the Jack-O-Lantern Branch Heritage Trail which was about 1.5 miles.

It appears that there is much more room for more trails and I can only hope that some day they create more, because this was such a beautiful day even in the middle of winter.

Early on the Jack-O-Lantern Trail you follow the Spring Branch as it merges into the Jack-O-Lantern Brach, which the water is very peaceful:

The walk is well maintained and you can tell the national park was updated much more than the trails of the other state parks we have visited. The grade was fairly even, so I imagine that this trail would be fairly easy for older walkers too.

The more interesting part of this trail was when the branch merged into Gills Creek and this much faster running water was beautiful! Earlier in the fall, there had been flash flooding in the area that had caused obvious damaged to the banks on both sides.

At that point of the water (there is a quick turn off here to go down to the water, but be careful of your steps), you can really see the debris along the bank.

Farther down was a small whirlpool in the water, so you can imagine if the water was swifter and higher, how much damage that could cause:

Overall, this was a very enjoyable walk and I can’t wait to go back in the Spring and see it in full bloom.

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