Buffalo River Trail
to Arrington Creek
May 7, 2006
Whew! What a week. For the fourth time in eight days I drove out of town to tromp through the woods after waterfalls, this time with Joey to the Buffalo River Trail near Boxley. Over a year ago I’d hiked this section of the trail on a dry February afternoon, and I vowed to return on a wet spring day to see what several small streams with waterfalls might look like. To my surprise the first two small streams had very little water in them. Further down the trail we heard running water below on the right and went down to investigate. The stream we found had just enough water in it to form pretty waterfalls as it dropped steeply down the mountainside. We separated and found our own spots to photograph at leisure.
Photo © by Joey Bentley
I hate to admit this, but when we went back uphill to find the trail, we got lost. We hunted nearly half an hour for a trail that we knew was there but seemed to have vanished. Finally we found it, along with an explanation of how we misplaced an entire hiking trail: we had left the trail at a spot where it made a U-turn. The trail was curving away from us at both ends and we needed to be at the top of the curve to pick it up again.
Mystery solved, we continued on down a few hundred yards where the trail crossed Arrington Creek. There wasn’t nearly as much water as I expected in the creek either. I believe either the area had not gotten as much rain as Whitaker Creek or perhaps the large amount of limestone in the soil leads to a fast runoff. Maybe it’s a little of both.
An interesting cluster of leaves on the ground near the creek caught my eye; I didn’t recognize them, and they were attractive. The dark green leaves had three pointed lobes and had a pattern of light blotches. I looked around and saw similar clusters in several places. I believe now they were Hepatica, also called liverleaf.
Joey and I decided to do some exploring by bushwhacking up the southern bank of Arrington Creek. There wasn’t anything special directly on the creek, though we did find a tall limestone bluff on the north side a few hundred yards upstream. Soon we located what we assumed was the little stream we had spent so much time at earlier, and followed it up the hill. On the hike out I saw several gigantic Beech trees that I wanted to get pictures of, but the white puffy clouds in the sky above them would have ruined the photos. Guess I’ll give them another try on my third trip to Arrington Creek some day.