One more hiking story! Chesterfield County does hikes all thru the year, on Thursdays and Saturdays. On January 1st I sign up for a few in the Spring when bugs aren’t quite out and wildflowers are in bloom. This is the last one I signed up for this year, and it was another excellent hike: the Blue Ridge Rail Trail. Originally the rail bed for the Blue Ridge Railway short line, it was converted to a trail between 2003 and 2010 and provides seven miles of recreation for hikers, bikers, and equestrians.
The trail head where we started is 1.7 miles along and provided parking for cars, basic facilities, and a gazebo. We hiked 2 1/2 miles or so, then returned along the same path, accompanied all the way by the Piney River! The weather was comfortable, but as summer warms the river would be great for paddling or floating. The trail is not wide, mostly forested, with occasional views of farmland (and one abandoned truck!). We crossed several bridges, including a trail-sized covered one over Naked Creek. There were a few wild flowers as you can see in the slide show. It was good to see wild roses and blackberries blooming next to each other so I could see the differences up close. Our naturalist at first thought there were also black raspberries, but showed us the plants had ridged stems which meant more blackberries. (note to self: come back in July for berries!)
We took a break at a lovely rock outcropping in the Piney, then walked a bit further to a bridge over the confluence of the Piney and Tye Rivers. If we had continued another mile or so, we would have reached the turn around at end of the trail, but we turned around at the bridge and enjoyed cool forest breezes, butterflies and the peaceful river back to the van. On the way home, we stopped in the small Virginia town of Colleen for ice cream!
If you’re in the Richmond, Virginia area and interested in joining Chesterfield County for any of their hikes, check out the Chesterfield Parks and Recreation website.