Sunday, February 8, 2009

River Overlook Hike

It got into the 60’s yesterday (with more of the same to come...ah, Virginia), so we decided to take advantage of the warm and sunny weather with a hike in the woods. We took the recommendation of commenter Larry G, and followed his directions to a hike that starts near the “Spirit of Freedom” Garden of the unlikely-to-be-built-in-my-lifetime Slavery Museum. The garden itself is a very small plot of land with a path that winds past informational panels, with some African art and animals on the hillside, and at the center, a 5,000 lb. sculpture depicting a slave’s reaction to the Emancipation Proclamation. Here is a slideshow of the garden on the museum’s website.

The hike starts within view of the interstate and one of Celebrate Virginia’s many construction sites, but within a few steps you dip down out of view of the development and are in the woods. The marked trail runs along the ridge above the river, and eventually winds down to the river’s edge. Because of the abrupt thaw, the path was quite muddy, and footing in places was tricky, at least without proper hiking shoes, so we didn’t go all the way down to the river. The winter landscape did give us a nice view of the river, which I’m sure is obscured once the trees are fully in leaf. We’ll put this hike back on our to-do list for the future, along with a few other riverside hikes in the area.

Walk up the dirt road to the left of the Freedom Garden, and when you see this sight, turn left to the woods:

The garden in winter, with the statue called “Hallelujah” by Ken Smith of Staunton, Virginia:

Some of the wooden carvings:

Here's what most of Celebrate Virginia looks like these days. Uh oh...6 more weeks of winter.


Larry G said...

I was up there on Friday.. I think.. and yes.. frozen path with thawed surface make for slippery conditions but dogs with 4-paw "drive" don't notice so we did the 2 mile loop back up the east side of the quarry that snakes up (steeply) between the edge of the Quarry and I-95.

Since Silver has done quite a bit of clearing in the billboard area - we usually park on the road back - where there is a gap in curbing and then hop over to the trail right there.

Did I mention there is a 4-5 mile loop?

It takes you all the way over to a rock creek that tumbles down to the river just below the "Maze" rapids and then takes a riverside trail back to the right/left side quarry trail to the top and then walk from the Slave garden back along the road - to give the dog paws and chance to de-clump the mud and dirt.

Merry N said...

I’ll have to explore around the quarry some time. From the stories I’ve heard, it has a mythic place in the lives of native Fredericksburgers of a certain age.