On Saturday I finally had an opportunity to go on one of the hikes up on The Nature Conservancy's Warm Springs Mountain Preserve. Once again I am amazed by the wonders protected on the mountain. Brad Kreps, the local TNC director, is a great trail guide and picks varied locations for the monthly hikes that highlight the wonders on the mountain. OK, so I'm using the word "wonders" over and over. But what more can be said? While the evidence of human use of the mountain for the past few hundred years are obvious, nature is doing an amazing job of holding on to some habitats and reclaiming others. The views from the old stone overlooks perched on the side of the mountain are breath taking. We saw a huge bear tracks in the sandy road. In a wet area we found Liparis smallii, Small's Twayblade Orchid, a new species record for Bath County. The orchid was in bloom, which is weeks after the plant blooms in Giles County to the south.
I highly recommend these hikes. You can call TNC office in Warm Springs to check the schedule. There is a hike each month, open to the public. Also, don't forget the public trail that starts at the overlook on Route 39. And if you have a little extra time and/or money, the Warm Springs Mountain Preserve still needs help to pay off the debt and to help fight invasive species. Few places in the county are as special.
Not exactly nature, but don't forget to visit the Bath County Art Show this week at Valley Elementary School. Two-hundred-forty-three artist are showing 637 pieces of excellent art. You'd have to travel to a big city to see a collection as varied and as high in quality.