A Stream Along The Corridor

The Gambles Mill Corridor borders the exclusive Country Club of Virginia, where to my surprise, golfers can still tee off in mid-January. The trail began with the university community garden, wood chips, chopped trees, and mulch, but quickly transitioned into a more natural setting. Woven clusters of vines were spattered with leaves and fallen branches lined the trailside thereafter.

I spent most of my time exploring a small stream that snaked its way through the woods. Two drainage pipes fed the stream and its cool waters moved through sand bottomed pools and rocky riffles. The tightly packed leaves driven upon the rocks were indicative of the stream swelling from the previous day’s rain. Following the current, I came upon wild chives on the embankment. The distinct smell immediately reminded me of the herbs my family grows in our backyard every year. Deeper into the woods, I came upon what looked like a well or maybe a raised flowerbed. It contained one metal rung and was only a foot or so deep, which made me unable to distinguish its original purpose. Its bricks and cement were weathered with moss, rocks, and leaves having taken over the interior of the structure. It appeared as if the woods were reincorporating the “well” back into its domain. Subtle hints of human presence could also be seen in the stream by the well. Old clay-colored pipes made a small dam and formed a broad pool. Only upon noticing the pipes, did I realize how much the bank wall had risen from less than a foot to at least four feet. It was startling how quickly the riverbank rose in the course of a hundred feet.

Just as astonishing, was the trash I saw along the way. Amidst thorny bushes lay crushed beer cans and in the distance, I saw plastic bottles. On my way out, I even spotted a wayward golf ball and Westhampton/Richmond College cup. Eventually, a series of storms and flooding could eventually flush the trash into the stream and enter the watershed. On a warm day, I hope to go out with a trash bag and collect the junk I passed on my way out. Maybe with some help? I hope to make the stream near the well my place to revisit during the spring and, if not, just make it a little cleaner.

Where the stream begins...

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One Response to A Stream Along The Corridor

  1. C.J. says:

    My second trip to the Gambles Mill Corridor made me realize why this area of campus is unknown and underappreciated. It did not hit me on my first encounter because I was quite content exploring my way down the stream. There was no crosswalk to the trail and we learned it’s only accessible from campus via Westhampton Way. Drivers do not even have to put their foot on the gas to reach 35 mph as they come down the hill near the entrance. The trail was lined with barbed wire along its border with the crosswalk and lets out at the busy intersection of River Road. This was not the most inviting place for the average Richmond student. However, Earth Lodgers are not the average student. Here in Earth Lodge we are better than you, and we know it (what Paul really meant in his final project video ☺). From the trail, the woods did not look inviting and in many cases the forest was inaccessible because of the power lines. However, I think what is beyond the physical path that makes the corridor special. I firmly believe that each Earth Lodger should explore the woods alone and maybe they will find some wonder in the corridor.
    Little did I know that there would be a seismographer on campus or that Virginia Tech has set them up around the state. The Virginia Tech seismographic data center must have lighted up during the September earthquake. It was noteworthy that the path was once used to transport coal by truck to the power plant. On our way back, I got to see the library tower as Kelly mentioned in his blog. The tower really showed a great contrast between the trail and the University because this little strip of land goes unnoticed. I definitely think that this view made my trip to the GMT.

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