Despite our strong desire to leave the hustle and bustle of city life, we were glad we took the time to explore a part of the Greater Washington D.C. area. After driving through the city we headed for Pohick Bay Regional Park just south of Alexandria and Mount Vernon. Their web site had been impressive claiming to be water orriented with access to the Potomac and boasting to have the largest free-form pool in Northern Virginia. We had no idea what exactly qualified as a “free-form pool”, but we were determined to find out.
As soon as we pitched the tent we headed into nearby Lorton for a much neaded tofu fix at a local Thai restaurant. However, early the next morning we explored one of the few publically accessible places on the Potomac River located within the park. We were excited to find the beginning of the half mile trail to the water just a few hundred feet from our campsite. After a few twists and turns we arrived at the first lookout on the river, glowing with the sun rise. It’s times like these that help you find the silver lining in having all of your kids wake up before 6 A.M., eager to jump around and loudly greet the day as nearby campers are cursing their luck at getting stuck next to a bunch of early birds. The path then meandered down to a large marina, where many keep their boats in order to put in on the Potomac. At first we balked at the “No Swimming” signs, as the Fives are hard pressd to pass up a chance to swim, but a closer inspection of the water and the warnings of high PCB levels in the resident fish confirmed the wisdom of the ban.
It was not until Day Two in Pohick that we decided to tackle Pirate’s Cove, one of five waterparks operated by Virginia regional parks. Not exactly the dip in the lake we’ve experienced at other state run parks, but we’re an open-minded bunch. Our campground reservation secured us half-price tickets, not bad for the decent sized water park that we found ourselves entering. Inside the park were greeted by slides, ships and an enormous pool covering at least 100 feet. In addition we found ourselves in the midst of swarms of day campers splashing wildely through the park as their counselors texted each other from the sidelines. This put Five Spice’s parenting impulses to the test as she restrained the urge to put half the pool into time out. The fully-dressed counselors circling the pool deck had no idea what was going on in the turbulent waters. Needless to say, the level of splashing, hair-pulling, and underwater wedgies greatly dropped off as group after group retired for the afternoon. However, through it all the Fives prevailed as Five of Hearts made dozens of rounds on the tube water slide, Five Ball enjoyed the smaller kiddie slide, and High Five became a big fish in the wading pool. It was hard for the younger Fives to say goodbye to such swashbuckling fun. However, the siren song of the open road keeps this band of wayfarers moving on.