10/24 – Now that we are back home in Virginia, we still have lots of opportunities for hiking. We are fortunate to live near the Great Dismal Swamp, 112 thousand acres of wilderness that straddles the state line between Virginia and North Carolina. George Washington and his cronies forced slaves to dig miles of canal, with the expectation of draining the swamp, but the mosquitos and terrain were so formidable that the project was forsaken.
The miles of canal remain, with an excellent dirt roadway maintained by the forest service alongside, which affords great hiking or biking, and other areas dedicated to hunting. No fires or overnight camping are permitted. We find this trail not at all dismal!
We entered at the Washington Ditch entrance and walked for about four hours on a gorgeous weekday afternoon. We saw frogs and turtles in the swamp, and lots of birds in the foliage. A hawk was kind enough to drop a feather, which I picked up to adorn my hat.
At one point we encountered a black snake. We weren’t quick enough to get a picture, but here was my reaction!
Here is one of the locks that regulates the water level in the canal.
A praying mantis on a fall bloom.
The trail goes eventually to Lake Drummond, but we didn’t walk that far today. A peaceful walk on a beautiful day. On our way out we passed fields of cotton, another reminder of Virginia’s heritage.