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Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Bull Run Trek

Jeff watched as I prepared for a trip into the woods during Saturday's snow storm.  Merino socks, a couple layers of clothing, gloves, hiking boots, wool "gators" over my boots and pants, two pair gloves, one that allows my fingers to be free to work camera buttons, fleece head band to cover my ears, reading glasses to see my camera screen, scarf, down coat, camera, granola bar, cell phone and at the last minute Jeff talked me into taking a new high-tech, spring-loaded walking pole, then, let's see . . . .no, nothing else.  Now dressed like the Michelin Man, and with plans for Jeff to pick me up when I called in a couple hours, I left before the warm house smothered me.
Dense gray clouds kept the day dark, seldom allowing the sun to squeeze into sight.  My goal for the day was Bull Run Road, which, by-the-way, would be a great name for a band.  It is one of the two band names I am saving for that day when the world is set right and my missing musical talent is finally found.
Until that fantasy day comes, I am content to travel Bull Run Road by car and walk over that part of the farm known as "over Bull Run".
With snow blowing in my face and at my back, I walk back to the quarry trail where I took you last week on a beautiful sunny day. Click on this link to read about it:  Break in the Weather. Today I had trouble even finding the trail as I headed into the woods and straight down toward Bull Run.
Now for those of you unfamiliar with Appalachian terminology, a "run" is a creek or small stream. "Runs" often flow or "run" into larger creeks.  Bull Run flows into Bull Creek which flows into the Ohio River. Our own gully (Views of the Gully) fills with water that falls downhill into Bull Run
I was thankful that I had decided to bring the walking pole. While I thought, at first, that the pole might be in my way, I soon realized that this trip could not have continued without it.
Snow covered fallen branches and filled in space around those branches, concealing holes and generally making my journey difficult.  The pole, attached to my right hand gave me balance and was a great tool to plunge into the path ahead as I searched for a way down the steep hill.
I retraced my way back up and down the hill trying to find a way to the creek below. The hill was generally laced with smaller ridges and dips where erosion was performing its natural task of slowly wearing away the hill top and carrying it, bit by bit into the bottom where the topsoil would build up into a nutrient rich dirt that, during times of high water, would be carried on to Bull Creek then into the Ohio River and on toward new Orleans. Many of these dips were  now filled with a mixture of snow and leaves that make my progression treacherous.
This morning the woods were very quiet.  The driving snow kept all smart animals sheltered. As my knees ached and my nose froze, I questioned my own degree of smarts but this was fun.  Being alone in the woods is never all bad and there was much to see. For instance, this tall shagbark hickory stood out against the snow.  
The large hickory is larger than any I have ever seen in our woods.  Somehow it missed being timbered several years ago and still stands, its long fingers of bark clinging to its trunk like a hula skirt. 
The rest of this week we will continue our journey to and along Bull Run. For now, though, I will leave you with a teaser as we look down the hill to the run below.
The partially frozen stream meanders through the bottom, barely visible through the snowy woods.

1 comment:

Linda said...

Nice pictures! We have a "Bull Run" here in Virginia too, site of a famous Civil War battle.