Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Scouting the Swamp

I want to lead another hike into the Great Dismal Swamp, and so my first hike of 2017 was a scouting trip to find a good route.  Alas, the hike I took is not one I would lead a group on.  After 3.6 miles, the route was flooded and overgrown, and I turned back.  But I still had a good day outside, and even saw an otter early in the hike.

The last time I was here, I started the hike from the same point.  But two months ago, I was hiking on Lynn Ditch, and this time I went down Jericho Ditch.  Here is a map showing the location, in the Northwest part of the Swamp.

And this shows my track along Jericho Ditch, starting and returning to the blue arrow.  If you venture off the path, you are going to get soaked, tied up in dense vegetation, and possibly lost.  I did not venture off the path.

My hike was not very eventful, but it was good to be outside.  I did see the otter, and a couple of birds, and lots of bear scat.  I walked down the pathway, encountered the flooded area, and gave up and turned back.  I was walking about 3 hours, or maybe a bit less.  Most of the time, the path looks like this, with water on each side.

Less than a mile into the hike was this little structure, which reminded me of a bus stop. I wonder if it were some kind of bird banding station?  There is a big birding festival here in April.  I saw the otter very close to this point.

At my turnaround point was this old abandoned fire tower.

At that point was a large group of turkey vultures.

There was bear scat like this all along the trail.  Clearly, bears were not hibernating in this part of the world.  Unlike my last trip here, I didn't see a bear.

I've ruled out taking a group on this hike.  It was too short.  But I do have another area to scout out on my next foray in this area, so we will see what that is like soon enough.  It sure felt good to be out in the woods again.


  1. That did look like a bus station. Good guess for what it is used for.
    Neat old tower. Did you try climbing it? : )

    1. No, I kept my feet on the ground. It was surrounded by a tall chain link fence, with signs saying "Property of US Govt. No Trespassing." Not sure it was even safe to climb. Can't wait to scope out another section!