Thursday, November 19, 2009

Hike the Fiedale Trail with Friends

Or Canoe to Collect Mistletoe

DRBA will conclude the year's First Saturday Outings with a December 5 hike on the Fieldale Trail in Fieldale, VA, led by members of Friends of the Fieldale Trail. Beginning at 10:00 a.m. at the Fieldale Park, the out-and-back hike can total 6 miles, but hikers may choose to walk shorter distances. The entire trail is flat and easy to walk.
Boaters may wish instead to join other paddle clubs in the 27th annual Sprig Outing to collect holiday greenery in the swamp of the Upper Little River near Lillington, NC. Details are at .

Described by its Friends as "a golden opportunity to see Mother Nature up close and personal right in our own backyard," the Fieldale Trail hugs the bank of the Smith River. The graveled upper section winds through woods and open fields to the trailhead at the Fieldale Canoe Access, where a restroom is available. From there, the natural-surface lower section enters the riverside forest and skirts rhododendron bluffs alongside the river to its downstream terminus. Towering sycamore trees shelter the trail, and gravel bars and rock formations in the streambed give voice to the river.

Envisioned at a 2005 planning retreat of DRBA's affiliate, the Rivers & Trails Group, the Fieldale Trail is the ongoing project of DRBA and many partners. A special feature of the trail is a 54-foot section salvaged from the landmark 1931 Fieldale Iron Bridge and being installed as trail art, thanks to dozens of donors and generous corporate gifts of time and materials. Paula Wyatt, trip coordinator, and Jennifer Doss, DRBA's Rivers & Trails Project Manager, will bring hikers up to date on plans for the bridge section and future plans for the trail.

Please meet at 10:00 a.m. at Fieldale Park, 188 Field Avenue, at the intersection of Field Avenue and South River Road (GPS coordinates: North 36.42, 076 West 56.021, 079). Bring lunch and water, wear comfortable shoes or hiking boots, dress in layers of water-shedding artificial fabric or wool, and be prepared for rain or wind. All participants will be asked to sign a waiver form.

Directions: From US 220 take the VA 609 exit towards Fieldale. Turn right at Dillon's Fork Road, continue on Virginia Avenue, continue on Patrick Avenue, turn right at Field Avenue. Turn right at South River Road, and immediately turn right into the parking lot of the Fieldale Park.

More information: Paula Wyatt, 276-647-3274 or

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