submitted by Jeanne Siler
The more than 15 miles of trails at the Blue Ridge School in Dyke, Virginia, offered lots of choices for the near-dozen hikers (and two dogs) who braved the forecast and turned out Saturday morning, for Iva’s Annual Soup Hike.
It helps that the Blue Ridge School for Boys is only about a 10 minute-drive from Iva’s home—and thus just before the winter precip turned into serious rain—made for a quick return to her bright kitchen full of a trifecta of warm soups and a living room with a fire in the woodstove and afternoon Olympics coverage on the large screen.
But back to the trails in Dyke.
Designed with the school’s active student mountain bikers in mind, the trails, improved in both 2012 and 2017, keep steep slopes to a minimum, with lots of switchbacks. And lots of choices, with lots of signage. Good thing, too, about the latter, because even several experienced hikers declared the wooded areas that hug the upper hills beyond the campus to be maze-like as the trails wound up and around Bryson Hollow, Crawford Hollow, and along the Chesley Creek trail.
Our leader took us on a circuit loop from a parking lot near the school’s climbing wall, past spurs to Bear Hole and Senior Rock, over some nicely constructed slat bridges, and back along the Twin Lakes trail. Fitbits and GPS-equipped phones recorded something more than five miles. (Bushwhacking and shortcuts account for variances.)
We stopped for ginger snap snacks at one of the high spots overlooking the campus, as well as pausing to make a donation to a wishing well. (We didn’t bother with coins and put in a Bill!)
Moose the Dog (on his first-ever Iva Hike) along with Dustin (on the other end of the leash, also on his first-ever Iva Hike) saw his first-ever bicycle on the trail, though other wildlife in February tended to be limited to woodpeckers. By the time several bikers had barreled past, Moose had figured out that bikes were acceptable and stopped barking.
Suffice it to say, just being over the border of Albemarle County in Greene County—whether you hike or bike—Dyke makes a good destination for a quick morning or a long afternoon. A route for a hike that would traverse Brokenback Mountain and back to Iva’s via the Moonshine Trail is already being cooked up for next year.
Hats off (or on, considering the weather in February) to Dave Borzick, Dustin Degnan, Bev and Pete Fink, Iva Gillet, Nancy Handley, Bill Holman, Geoff Manning-Smith, Trevor Hepler, Michael Seth, Jeanne Siler, Remy The Hiking Dog, and her close friend and most well-behaved companion, Moose.