Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2021-2022

A photographic record of whatever leapt out at us

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

The Augusta Springs Wetlands in mid-winter

27 December 2021

We've been moving books and whatnot all round preparing for some carpeteers to come and renovate our mezzanine, but we'll come back later. Choupette needs her sleep.

As does Melvin the Doge as usual

But leaving them to their hopefully pleasant dreams, we're off to walk the 'Uplands Trail' at the Augusta Springs Wetland

A grey day at the Augusta Springs Wetland, and somewhat chilly. Not wintry, but chilly.

We'll start off clockwise round the boardwalks.

Cold, and wet

And almost overflowing

The faded but still elegant boardwalk across the squishy bog; graceful wiggly curves

A 180m piece of utilitarian art

Squishy bog, seen from the comfort of the boardwalk

Credit where credit is due

Back to terra firma

A sad and lonely place to sit and reflect

So 'No Trespassing' indeed: We learned recently that the property on the far side of that hill is a 'Hotshot Area', and the idea of wandering into a 'Hotshot' area clinches it. But, despite the ominous name here in Virginia's celebrated gun country, the Hotshots are a venerable elite organization of forest firefighting crews, operated by the Forest Service with the Bureaux of Indian Affairs and of Land Management, and the National Park Service.

So we'll leave them in peace, and avoid any fines.

We're on our way up the 'Uplands Trail' once again, enthusiastically.

First we have to work our way back up into this mini-valley before matters become more uplandish.

Admonitions not to wander off the trail, in that direction anyway.

But it's okay for horses?

We've never noticed this little road before, now obvious through the mid-winter trees. It's presumably part of the Hotshots' little fiefdom.

We're obviously not welcome here, so we retreat to our Uplands Trail. The 'No Horses' sign on our trail is new and evidently set there for the benefit of us walkers.

And we begin our uplanding.

We pause a moment to take note of the rusted-out ex-refrigerators and what not that have been dumped below during some more accessible era in the forest's life.

We've reached our high point on the ridge and marvel again at still another new No Horses sign specifying our trail, but not the one that is crossing us along the ridge line.

That one there on the left. We'll come back and investigate it soon.

It continues northward along the ridge, and is presumably at the disposal of hiking horses. And their riders.

But today we remain focused and descend.

Someone's disposed of the getaway car, back when you could drive it up in here. All of the discarded cars along this trail have what seems like a late 1940s look to them.

Down to the creek (called the 'Montgomery Run', as I recall; the creek on the far side of the wetland, near the Hotshots' hangout, is called the Liptrap Run, adjacent to Joyful Sound Lane (just up the street from the Joyful Sound Church))

Some wayward scofflaw dragged his unwanted car up here and dumped it, and then the forest animals got to it.

We should be coming up on our next automotive landmark soon.

Eh voilà

A extraordinarily observant member of our party recalls having noticed a trail marker for an additional walking trail here that we hadn't known existed. We're being led along to ascertain whether that might be true.

-- Kerplop to you, too, sir.

We're backtracking along the normal loop trail round the pond, to the trailhead of the Upland Trail . . .

. . . with a stop-off to admire the pond and associated swamp.

That's a glimpse of the ancient stonework of the facilities and waterworks of the 19th century health spa resort here, now eclipsed by the passing years and kudzu. Looks like a newly discovered Mayan temple.

A good view of the central pond

Various claims have been made by a usually reliable member of our party that there are ducks to be seen flapping about on the far side of the pond, but as this photograph makes clear, the claim remains unsubstantiated.

The recollection of the extraordinarily observant member of our party gains major points for this -- a third marked trail, not registered on any map, which we will need to investigate as soon as practicable.

Back towards the car. Mind your head.

We've got the place to ourselves today. It's pretty chilly and it's probably a work day, but still . . . .

Formerly elegant reminders of a glorious past

The road home to Staunton; that's probably just past Buffalo Gap on the Parkersburg Turnpike (Rte. 254, eventually to become Beverley St in downtown Staunton).

Fleetfooted, sneaky Choupette escaped from the apartment as we opened the door, and is hiding in the corridor.

And to end this awkward year, a short jolt round the Yulee Trail of the Montgomery Hall Park in Staunton

New Year's Eve Day 2021: Ambition-free, we're setting off on a quick constitutional along the Yulee Trail . . .

. . . formerly our favorite walk within a short drive from home, but since we've discovered the other, connected trails within this park . . .

. . . we've been saving this path for (as above) ambition-free perambulations.

Whilst back home . . .

A gift from Kristin's son George, who has immortalized Melvin's predecessor as No. 1 Indispensable Cat, the Squirrel, who tragically passed away on the night of 17 February 2017 at the young age of about 18. We were inconsolable.

What's next, then? A welcome snow day in Staunton, 3 January 2022

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 14 January 2021.

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