Elizabeth A.S. Brooke

Crafting, traveling and everything in between.


Anchorage Trail, Anchorage, Ky.

On Christmas Day, Chris, Sidney, Chris’ parents and I headed off to explore Anchorage Trail. This 2-mile loop trail is located in Anchorage, a small city in the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Area (Ky.). Anchorage is a community full of large homes and trees. I can’t seem to find a government site about the park, but here’s some pics and a review from a local from a few years ago.

And here are some of my pics and a review of what we saw:

Anchorage Trail

Despite the cold, there were lots of people walking their pups, biking or giving their kids an opportunity to ride their scooters. True to the culture we’ve come to expect from Louisvillians and surrounding communities, most of the walkers greeted us with a smile and “Merry Christmas.”

Alongside the trail were fields of soybeans, a small pond with several mallards and a pair of swans, tree stands and views of many large homes. We saw a nuthatch, a young hawk, a possum and many cardinals and robins.

Anchorage Hawk

Anchorage ducks

Most of the trail is paved, but there are some dirt paths that we avoided because of melting ice. We did venture out onto a wooden overlook to check out the pond and ducks.

Chris and Sidney at Anchorage overlook

Residents in the area are lucky to have this available. It’s a great place to walk or bike and is connected to sidewalks so that you can walk up the street to local cafes and shopping.

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Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge

At Mason Neck National Wildlife Refuge, we first hiked on the Woodland Trail. We saw kingfishers, a pileated woodpecker and egrets flying at Eagle Point Overlook. We also think we saw a couple of warblers, though we aren’t too sure. One was black with a white underbelly and a white spot on its wing. The mate was light green or yellow green. They have a soft “peep-peep” call and they fly like a flycatcher. We saw them hanging around an understory tree in woods.

Microanthra spiders had built lots of big webs across the trails. We had to tear down several to make our way through the woods.

We next went to the Great Marsh Trail, which is .75 miles long. It is paved, so is handicapped accessible. At the end of the trail is a sitting area with a telescope. We heard frogs, saw some egrets at a distance and saw some seagulls.

It would be good to take along some bug spray if you plan to spend a lot of time at the sitting area. It won’t be necessary, I don’t think, if you visit in cooler months.

We took a rest and discussed our next stop on our way home.


Fern Valley, National Arboretum

The area called Fern Valley is filled with meadow and prairie plants. The trail also winds through a small wooded area, but we did not walk there. This was a beautiful garden to start our tour of the gardens. The garden had cattails, rose mallow, cup plant and other flowers and grasses. It was very enjoyable!

Here’s just a few photos:

Fern Valley

Bridge in Fern Valley meadow

Rose Mallow and Bee

A bee working on a rose mallow.

Bug on thistle

A bug on a thistle.

bee and flower

yellow meadow


Shelley Lake Park, Raleigh, N.C.

Shelley Lake Park in Raleigh, N.C., is a great place to take a stroll or, as many people were on a recent visit, jog.

The small lake is surrounded by trees and a 2+ miles of trails, including sections of a greenway. Walking around the lake we saw ducks, geese, turtles and, possibly, cormorants. The cormorants could also have been herons; the birds were far away and hard to see.

There are also basketball courts, a playground, a boat house and an art center (Sertoma Arts Center) located in the park.

Great place to take a stroll with the family on a weekday afternoon!

(Sorry, no photos to share this time!)


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Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge

On a recent trip to the Wheeling, W.Va., area, we stopped at two locations for the Ohio River Islands National Wildlife Refuge.

Refuge headquarters
On the way up, we stopped in Williamstown, W.Va, home of the refuge’s headquarters. There, you can find a visitor center with some exhibits and a few short trails, including a trail that’s 0.9 miles (with a 0.5 mile shorter loop).

You can’t get across to the islands at this location, but you can hike, hunt and fish. The refuge has 22 islands and three mainland tracts.

We had a nice picnic lunch under a shelter before heading out.

Here’s some pics:

This turtle has a pointy snout!

This is a washboard mussel. The visitor center had several examples of the mussels protected along the refuge’s riverbank.

A buckeye! People from Ohio are called Buckeyes, but after a nut, not this butterfly.

I’m standing beside the Ohio. One of the trails travels along the riverbank.

Middle Island
On our way back home, we stopped at Middle Island, which is located at St. Marys, W.Va.

This is the only island in the Ohio River Island National Wildlife Refuge you can visit.

We walked a 3.77 mile loop, but never saw a visitor center that I thought would be at the top of the loop.

Here’s some pics:

Things to do nearby
While in Williamstown, visit the town’s wetlands. It’s just up the road from the refuge and is a new, short trail located in the middle of town.

Here’s some pics:

Williamstown is also home to the Fenton Glass Factory, which you can tour, and the Henderson Hall Plantation.

Chris enjoyed seeing how the town was built around the railroad. Get out and walk around town to check out the buildings and see how homes and businesses were built near and around the tracks.

While in Willimastown, we saw lots of locally-owned businesses and wilfdlife:
birds: goldfinches, pigeons, ducks, sandpiper-type bird
butterflies: sulphurs, buckeyes, whites, red spotted purples, monarch or viceroy
dragonflies
Some more photos:
A dragonfly at the Ohio River Islands refuge.
There was so much algae, this bird was able to walk on the water at the wetlands. I think this is a type of sandpiper.
A dragonfly at the wetlands.

Ducks at the wetlands.

I think this is a viceroy, but it could be a monarch.

Williamstown is also across the river from Marietta, Ohio. Chris wanted to visit, but we didn’t have any time to stop. In and around Marietta, there’s a lot of Underground Railroad sites.

You can’t see it here, but there’s a sign along the bank that says “Marietta.”