A few miles from where I live there’s a cancer awareness garden that occupies the area surrounding one of the entrances to the Blackwater Creek Trail. I’ve been to the garden on a handful of occasions but had never checked out the trail, an asphalt path that, from this particular spot, runs a touch over two miles down to the James River and the city proper. So I decided to check it out one afternoon when I happened to be nearby.
After a stop in the Awareness Garden to remember my dear friend Erik who died of brain cancer in March of last year, I set off.
It was lightly trafficked as I made my way into the woods. I felt odd taking a brisk walk in jeans, a polo shirt and half-laced running shoes, but spur of the moment activities require sacrifices. I did want to limit my miles to three, so I downloaded the RunKeeper app onto my phone (in lieu of my trusty Garmin) before hitting the trail. I needn’t have worried about tracking it myself; as it turns out, the trail is populated with distance markers:
It was a stunning fall day, with bright sun, mid-60s temps and a nice breeze. I was glad for that breeze, wearing jeans and all! I was intrigued to see this sign along the route:
Seriously, anything with a backpacker logo is a magnet to my attention now. I vowed both to research this when I got home, and to come back another time and see where it goes. (Later, I found that it simply follows the actual creek for a short distance before rejoining the asphalt trail. I will hike it soon, as I’m fond of any excuse to leave tar and tread upon dirt!)
I hit the 1.5 mile mark at a point sandwiched between two small cliffs (a perfect choke point for an ambush, my study of military history reminded me) and made the turn for home. It was nice to be alone in the woods on a pleasant walk without the aforementioned Garmin and running shoes, or my backpack and trekking poles:
A technical trail for running or hiking it isn’t, but it is a great place within city limits to get that away-from-it-all feel. I saw both kids and seniors availing themselves of its charm, so it’s very family friendly. In addition, when snow and ice require abandoning the higher elevations in the area, this would be a good spot for weighted practice hikes to keep my hips and shoulders ready for attacking sections of the AT in the spring…