Dodd Creek Trail: Getting There

Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll post short entries from the observations, images and thoughts that have come from two back-to-back early September visits to a local walking trail called “the Dodd Creek Trail.”

In a few weeks, you can walk the trail with me and Jane Cundiff by way of a video narrative, filmed on September 8 by Citizens Coop (thank you Hari and Fox) and to become a small part of SustainFloyd’s 2020 Digital EcoFair in mid-November.

The existence of this trail is testimony to the cooperative interaction of local citizens, non-profits and the Town of Floyd. Persistence and hope over several years has culminated in this one mile loop along one of the county’s main tributaries of the Little River.

The trailhead begins adjacent to the ball field (that must have an official name) across from Micky G’s and within a mile of The Light in Floyd proper. There is plenty of parking, and picnic tables in the shade for refreshment before or after your walk.

The elevation change is 100 feet, parking space to creek level and back again. The hike is mostly Easy with maybe 5% Moderate for steepness of descent. Several benches (constructed by the local Boy Scouts of Floyd) offer resting and thinking spots along the way.

Historical images from this area show it to have been in pasture, and later adjacent lands were used as a tree nursery, now abandoned. Save for the few larger trees on the steep bluffs of the creek, the “woods” have ways to go before becoming a fully-elaborated forest.

However, the “old field succession” status makes for a dense and diverse understory competing for the light and attempting to pull nutrients from a soil used and eroded decades ago before it was neglected for pasture and allowed to revert toward a “temperate mixed Hardwood Forest.”

Dodd Creek Trail | Partnership for Floyd

In upcoming posts, I’ll share some of the things you’re likely to see and might want to know as you walk the trail. Below are just a very few of the officially-designated residents along the learning path.

And it won’t be much longer before you’ll get the buzz–the full scope of the Blue Ridge EcoFair. You won’t want to miss it!

Life in The Cloud

Ah yes. Now I remember. Life in the cloud.

It was mysterious and eerie and the relentless fog lent a kind of drama to the aloneness that first year in Floyd County living, just me and the cat, on Walnut Knob, just off the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I especially remember the disembodied language of a flock of Ravens roosting in the invisible trees a few hundred feet into the milky distance. This morning, it is the crows, in the same opaque beyond that ear can cross but eye cannot.

This is the first of its kind since moving here ten weeks ago from a valley cleft where fog “up top” was a surprise as we reached the pavement less than 2 miles but more than 500 feet above the creeks where we lived.

We’ve had fog other mornings here, but this one has drenched everything on the porch all around.

It is as if the entire outside world has been silently powerwashed by a superwet aerosol that reaches anywhere there is air. Everything still remaining from the move that had not found place inside is now very wet, outside. This includes stuff we had felt certain would stay dry under the porch roof.

This, and the coming of the Winds, we must prepare for, plus those vagaries of nature we can only know by surviving them this first year.

Meanwhile…

It’s a start. I’ll create a partition to separate new from aged organic matter. The pine tree under a powerline clearing must go. The small fenced area contains Jerusalem Artichokes. Deer love ’em but can’t have ’em.

We now have a place to put coffee grounds, apple peels, corn shucks and such that, regrettably, we have been sending to the landfill until now. I took three more-or-less equal sized pallets and wired them together to form three sides of a cubicle to contain vegetable scraps and yard waste plus topsoil, browns and greens laid down towards next years REAL garden.

We had eight 8’x4′ cattle panels and lots of T-posts for this year’s 8×24′ space, then added a bit for gifted raspberries. Come spring, this year’s sod will be ready for direct planting inside a sturdy fence–design yet to come to mind.

This year’s pitiful little space is making us ‘maters, in a fraction of what next year’s first real effort will encompass. We’ve mulched the full intended dimensions ()24′ x 32’) with hay from a busted bale over against the edge of the pasture.

And little by little, we’re learning to live here.