Summer, fall, winter. We’ve spent one of each here in the Appalachian mountains of Blacksburg, Virginia. And finally, we get to see spring. We took a walk at the Falls Ridge Preserve on Sunday, a 655 acre plot of land owned and maintained by The Nature Conservancy. It’s only about 15 minutes from our home, with an easy half mile trail packed with a lime kiln, shallow caverns that provided at least an hour of entertainment for our kids, a stream, a waterfall, and of course, wildflowers.
I know it is totally cliché to post photographs of spring for an April “Change” photo challenge. While this photo essay does embrace all the conventional themes of spring transition – new life, hope, color, potential – the type of change these photographs signify to me is one of having roots, being established, and consequently, being able to bloom. For the first time in our married life, my husband and I aim to stop wandering. This is unprecedented for us, to stay put in one place, possibly for the rest of our lives. It seems significant somehow, to wrap up our first year with the season of spring, the season of new life, hope, color, and potential. To put down roots while we watch our new world blossom.
Directions to Falls Ridge Preserve from Blacksburg: From South Main Street, just north of 460, turn onto Ellet Rd. (which becomes Cedar Run Rd.). Follow Cedar Run Rd. to the end and turn left on Jennelle Rd. at the railroad tracks. Follow Jennelle to the Food Time store (you’ll pass another Ellet Rd) and turn right on Den Hill Rd. Turn left on North Fork Rd and drive about three miles. On your right you will see a super rickety bridge on your right, with red railings and a sign that says “Use at your own risk.” Turn right and cross that bridge. Cross the railroad tracks and make an immediate left on a dirt/gravel road. Follow about .25 miles and you will see a parking lot on the left. There is a Nature Conservancy Kiosk in the grassy meadow. Follow the meadow to the woods and you will see the caves, kiln, and waterfall.