Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dick Creek Falls, September 2009

I must start with a “thank you” 
to Mark Peacock of Milligan 
College from whose web site
we borrowed the directions to Dick 
Creek Falls. He has many more hikes 
and lots of great pictures. 

Dick Creek Falls is located behind Rock Creek Park. Rock
Creek Park is out from Erwin towards North Carolina about 3
miles or so. The hike itself is about 2 miles one way. And
not a difficult 2 miles, either, although the path is old
forest service road that can be really tough on the ankles.
It was a spectacular day for hiking. Cool. Sunny. Once we
got past Rock Creek we were all alone for most of the hike.
That’s one thing about hiking I like. You can mentally
shed the city as you enter the forest and then replace the
forest with a civilized veneer at your convenience. Makes me
feel more like Leatherstocking every time.

Kim Stroud, from Herndon Bird Club, and a friend, and
I took the sunny afternoon to hike to Dick Creek. It was
Kim's expert eye that knew what I took to be a spicebush
swallowtail (my eyes aren't that good) for a female Diana
Fritillary. A rare find.

When Ed Chevalier and I hiked in the Shawnee National Forest
in southern Illinois it was almost like being in a different
world away from the noise and artificiality of man-made
structures. That all might sound a bit flowery but it is
what being in nature should do to you. To view it from the
car doesn’t work, as we all know. You almost have to get
your hands a bit dirty with moss and tree bark and smell the
hot air rising and scrape against the Holly. Take your phone
if you want, but use your ears.

Kim and I trudged through some low water creeks, skirted old
prescribed burns, walked way back into part of the Cherokee
most of us would never visit, only to meet locals camping.

The falls is right nice, and compact. The creek pinches
through a crack in an old fault into, as they always say, an
inviting pool. The pictures do not do it justice. Lots of
rhododendron,fern, and returning hardwood forest. We hardly
heard one bird but found one toad! And one lone woman hiker
who acted like she was in a cross country race. Behind Rock
Creek Park is quiet. In front of Rock Creek Park is the
highway. Take you pick.