Journal Excerpt: Bottom Creek Gorge

January 23, 2007 at 10:10 pm 10 comments

A couple of weekends ago, Leith and I took a trip to The Nature Conservancy’s Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve near Bent Mountain.  Bottom Creek Gorge is a great outing.  It provides an overlook to Bent Mountain Falls which are the second largest falls in Virginia.  A number of historic structures remain on the trails as well.  It was a dogless trek, however, as the preserve doesn’t permit pets.  Some excerpts from my January 20, 2007 journal entry:

There was a lot to see too — an old cemetery, remains of old log cabins, woodpeckers, deer and of course, Bent Mountain Falls.

I remember in 2003 taking a picture of a bunch of downed trees in the preserve and citing it as Dad’s wet dream.  My father used to love finding downed trees and then chopping them up for firewood.  He started chopping wood when he was five years old (he actually asked Santa for an ax) and had been doing it ever since.

Now that he lives in a townhouse, his lifelong habit is no longer needed.  At first I felt bad, but Dad  just shrugged and said, “I’ve been chopping wood for 60 years.  I don’t need to do it anymore.”

Anyway, the Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve still has a lot of downed trees and even though my father no longer chops wood, I still thought of him.

Leith and I passed a very rough looking tree on Duvall Trail.  It had obviously weathered some tough times.  It sported multiple knots and big gaping holes.  That tree still stood despite its sketchy past.  And that tree was surrounded fallen and decaying brothers who weren’t quite as lucky.

That tree was surrounded by the carnage of its own kind.

It was a neat statement.  Here was the survivor out of many trees– but it didn’t make it through unscathed.  Its bark and trunk documented its struggle.  Its wounds, deformities and scars remain.

Speaking of scars, Leith and I passed an old wire fence which left its mark on surrounding trees.  Last week on my blog I talked about the stem cell researchers and Alfred Hitchcock working around their obstacles.  Leith and I saw trees that took an entirely different approach.  When impeded by the wire fence, the trees did not grow around it– they absorbed the wire into their trunks and grew through it.

Some trees, we would see the wire go right smack through the middle of the tree as if someone specifically threaded the wire through.  Not all the trees were that far along in their progress.  On some, the wire was just starting to get assimilated by the bark.

All the trees, no matter how deep the wire, had tell-tale parallel lines on its trunk.  You could see where the wire once rested before it just became another part of the tree.

Leith and I saw about eight deer and a few woodpeckers as well.  We also ran across one tree a woodpecker had a field day with.  A great portion of the tree was littered with little tiny holes.

I was amazed at how straight the lines of holes were that circled the trunk.  Every now and then the woodpecker would have lines of holes that were slightly skewed.  But most of them were as straight as an arror and perfectly parallel to the ground.

The woodpecker accomplishes that with only the body he was given by the Good Lord.  Laser levels?  Bah!  The woodpecker needs none of that!

All my pictures from our visit to Bottom Creek Gorge are available on my Flickr site.

Entry filed under: Bottom Creek Gorge, Dad, Hiking, L S, Virginia.

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10 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Melanie  |  January 25, 2007 at 10:14 am

    The pics of the trees absorbing the fence are amazing. Reminds me of that quote from Jeff Goldblum from “Jurassic Park” — “Life finds a way.” Of course, in this case it’s on a much smaller and less threatening scale. 😉

  • 2. tgaw  |  January 25, 2007 at 10:27 am

    Haha, yeah!

    Trees are especially industrious. I remember in Pennsylvania hiking by a tree that was growing on a big boulder. Its roots snaked over the boulder and down, down, down until it reached the nutrient rich soil it coveted. The resulting roots were about 6′ – 7′ tall before it hit the ground. That tree’s determination still amazes me.

  • 3. John's Creek Mountain Trail - A Tale of Trees « TGAW  |  April 1, 2007 at 8:20 pm

    […] between VA-658 and the Appalachian Trail, I ran into this tree.  Just like the tree I saw at Bottom Creek Gorge, this tree had devoured a foreign object in its path.  The metal blaze was almost entirely […]

  • 4. HelloWorld  |  April 28, 2007 at 7:17 am

    Peace people

    We love you

  • 5. Falls Ridge « TGAW  |  May 8, 2007 at 10:38 pm

    […] and I went for a quick trip to the Falls Ridge Preserve.  It is located in Ellett Valley and, like Bottom Creek Gorge, it is maintained by the Nature Conservancy.  Falls Ridge is a very easy hike, but super […]

  • 6. arlene  |  October 23, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I love this journal. My mothers ancestors are burried right there in that cemetary you were talking about.. I think they were collins. it has been forever since I been up there. I was searching for directions and came across this and I am so glad I did!
    My son was a little thing the last time I went there. I remember he wanted to jump off the mountain to get across to the waterfall on the other side! I had a time chasing him around. that is a LONG hike there!! I loved it.

    thank you!


  • 7. tgaw  |  October 26, 2008 at 9:11 pm

    @Arlene – Wow, thanks for your comments. I’m glad you enjoyed the journal entries as well as the Bottom Creek Gorge preserve. Your son is daring– that is quite a ways to the falls!

  • 8. gesundheit  |  March 11, 2009 at 7:59 am

    Sehr wertvolle Informationen! Empfehlen!

  • 9. Elli  |  October 10, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    This is a wonderful post about the Bottom Creek Gorge Preserve. Your pictures are gorgeous and you really covered all the experiences well. I’d just like to add that it is in Bent Mountain, not near. Take it from a native.

  • 10. tgaw  |  October 11, 2011 at 9:06 am

    Thanks for the correction Elli!!!!


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