You are here

National Park Mystery Spot 34 Revealed: Up the Creek

Bridge on the Laurel Loop Trail. NPS photo.

Told that Mystery Spot 34 is a natural feature located in a national park that is not one of the 58 National Park-designated units of the National Park System, you were tasked to identify it from the clues provided below:

Kate's highborn mate has a balding pate.

If details are all you glean, the overall pattern may not be seen.

This water body bears the same name as a g-man school of enduring fame.

Where do you find yourself when you become hopelessly stuck in a sorry situation and you don't even possess a bladed implement of the appropriate design?


The answer is Quantico Creek in Prince William Forest Park. Situated in the piedmont forests about 35 miles south of Washington, DC, Prince William Forest Park offers a variety of recreational opportunities, including windshield touring on a Scenic Drive loop, wildlife viewing, picnicking, fishing, hiking, bicycling, and what is arguably the best drive-in and cabin camping in northern Virginia.  Most of the park lies in the watershed of Quantico Creek, a tidal tributary of the Potomac River.

Congratulations to DStaniforth, La. Hardware Man, Eric, Aron, and Eric Nelson, who are all eligible for our monthly prize drawing. Also submitting correct answers were viewmtn, ILoveRoadTrips, RangerLady, and ed-123. Good job, everybody.

Here is how the clues lead to the answer:

Kate's highborn mate is Prince William.

When a person focuses so intently on details that s/he cannot discern an overall pattern, it is said that s/he "cannot see the forest for the trees."

The FBI Academy, a school for FBI agents ("g-men"), is famously located at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia. The FBI Academy, like the Marine base, is usually referred to as Quantico.

If you are hopelessly stuck in a sorry situation, you are said to be "up the creek without a paddle."


[Eric Nelson submitted the following comment yesterday in
reference to the Mystery Spot 34 puzzle. 
It gave away the answer, so it was not allowed.  I'm posting it here because it's darn good
information. Thanks, Eric. rlj]

I’ve been curious about the toponymy of Prince William Forest Park for some time.  Naming a national park unit for a prince struck me as distinctly unusual. Your mystery spot, led me to finally look it up.  As I’m sure you know, Prince William Forest Park takes its current name from the Virginia county in which it’s located.  The county was named for Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland, a younger son of George II.  A general of dogged mediocrity, he was none the less considered the martial son of George II.  He is best remembered for his victory at Culloden and the (brutal) suppression of the Jacobite rising of 1745.  As a consequence of the Prince’s popularity, his name is sprinkled across the map of North America.  Prince William County in Virginia, the Cumberland River, the Cumberland Plateau, and the Cumberland Mountains are amongst the places named in his honor.  A strong supporter of the Georgia colony, James Oglethorpe named Cumberland Island for him.  By now, I’m sure you can see where this is going.   Prince William Forest Park, Cumberland Island NS and Cumberland Gap NHP also trace their toponymic lineage back to Prince William Augustus, Duke of Cumberland....


Add comment


This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

National Parks Traveler's Essential Park Guide