Tropical Storm Lee has been slowly moving towards Southwest Virginia. Its precursor precipitation bands arrived Sunday afternoon, and it rained most of Sunday night. The Doppler radar weather map Monday morning looked like it was painted green, with just a small area around Washington County not showing rain. It was a small decent-weather window in which to labor through one last long run on the Virginia Creeper Trail before the Blue Ridge Relay race later this week.
With the rainy weather, it is surprising that the color that is in forefront of my mind today is red. Running through the matte lighting on the misty trail this morning, I saw more red in the outdoors than anytime this summer:
- The falling and fallen leaves that are finally turning red (in addition to yellow), signaling the onset of autumn and the fantastic color changes we will be witnessing once again across the mountains very soon;
- The beautiful orange-red color pattern of an Eastern box turtle that was slowly crossing the trail. Its brilliantly-colored head was raised high as it scouted the area; and
- The long, lithesome body and outstretched tail of an auburn-colored red fox darting over the trail only 100 feet in front of me.
All of this was on a four-mile stretch of the trail from the Abingdon trailhead.
On this website, I usually don’t cover too much about the Virginia Creeper Trail, in part because it’s covered extensively on other sites, and on this site I seek to provide information about some of the less-known outdoor activities near Abingdon. That said, it is true that sometimes we take for granted that which is closest to us. The Virginia Creeper Trail is really something quite special; a solitary trip at an unusual time is sometimes the best way to reawaken awareness of how fortunate we are to have this awesome natural resource literally in our backyard.