Sunday, September 27, 2009

Bowmans Island

I spent all the day with the kids today. Early church service, lunch at Little Azio's, bike riding in the parking lot at a local bank, and some exploring in the Bowman's Island area.

On the east bank, there are some trails in the far northwest corner that we haven't been on yet. To get there by trail you have to go in a big U. It's like going from New York to Chicago through Atlanta. I've been wanting to do some bushwhacking out there. Today was a good opportunity.

We parked at the Island Ford Road trailhead, took the trail a few hundred yards and started heading downhill. Right away I saw a familiar sight. An old collapsed chimney. I think. Maybe.


Not much bushwhacking actually. The woods was pretty much wide open. Not much underbrush to speak of. My plan was to descend along a creek, explore the trails and follow the ridgeline back. Before long we were on the creek, finding cool stuff.



I'm not sure what these are. They were set down inside pits, which appeared to be dug to house them. That or they used to sit on flat ground and the hillside has eroded down and filled in around them. They looked kind of like drums, but they were made of flimsy material. I always think moonshine when I see something weird like this, but who knows.


For a while there was plenty of flat to either side of the creek. We made good time there, but eventually it pinched and we had to tiptoe on exposed rocks. The girls were having a good time.

 Girls at the Creek

Sophie kept finding these little red bugs everywhere. I didn't see any until she finally pointed them out.

 Red Bugs

When we reached the trails we were looking for, we took a little break and pressed on. The topo map shows a trail leading down from Pass Road, bending north and leading up a ridgeline back toward Pannell Road. We'd been up the trail to Pass Road. It ends at private property. We took the trail toward Pannell Road. It became overgrown almost immediately, but a little trail led toward the river, past this oddity:


A tombstone? Maybe, but it was all alone, and unmarked. The trail led to an old roadbed, which led down to the river and T'ed into a riverside trail. We explored up and down it for a while and spent some time down at the river itself.

 Girls Descending to River


 Girls at the River

 Girls Ascending

The trail led south to Old Pass Road and north to the Laurel Ridge Trail. The recent rains had ravaged one of the little feeder creeks we crossed, leaving this cool little pool.


At Laurel Ridge, we met a lady with a short, fat Black Lab. The girls are usually a little nervous around dogs they don't know, but not this one. It was walking slow and panting hard doing it. No threat. Very sweet though. We scratched it's head for a while.

On the way back we found this cool tree. 2 trees had grown together and eventually split back apart.

 Split Tree

Mission accomplished, time go head back home. We picked up the ridge south of the creek. Again, the woods was wide open. Very little brush. There was this enormous rock pile though.

 Huge Rock Pile

And somebody was getting artistic out there.


And then we made it into the dumping ground.

 El Camino

Iz named it Betty. Betty the El Camino. The presence of an actual car made me look hard for signs of an old road. I kind-of found one. Turns out it led right where we wanted to go. We lost and found it over and over all the way back to the main trail.

Some highlights...

Rock piles.

 Rock Piles 1

 Rock Piles 2

 Rock Piles 3

Some kind of fruit tree and the fruit it bears. Not sure what these are. They smelled like tiny little apples and had the same consitancy, but I didn't taste them.

 Fruit Tree


There was a whole house full of crap dumped out there along the road.

 Fridge and Washer


There was also a dryer, a couple of toolboxes and ten thousand glass jars. Ugh.

Back on the main trail (Old Island Ford Road) we found some weird fruits about the size and color of a black cherry, but growing on a vine, individually, not in a bunch. They looked like grapes on the inside and smelled like them too. No idea. Maybe some kind of weird grape.

Right by the car I found this persimmon tree.


Finally, one I can identify, but all of the fruits were either underripe or rotten. Oh well, there's a persimmon tree by my house and one behind the dumpster at my office. I'm not hurting for persimmons.

When we left the house, the girls didn't want to go, but we had a great time. No dead legs, no rain, no injuries. Just fun. I felt like a kid, playing in the woods. I hope we have more days like today.

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