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"In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six
different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours."
~ Mark Twain
(Continued from the previous page about our "spring training")

Despite all the rain and the wide variance in temperatures in the Roanoke area this spring, Jim and I were able to get out on our favorite trails several times a week.

Two of the other trails in the Vinton-Roanoke area that are fairly convenient to our house for running, hiking, and cycling are the Wolf Creek Greenway and the Stewart's Knob Trail. I've spent more time on those trails the last six weeks than at Explore.

Dogwoods in bloom near the playground in Stonebridge Park;
the bridge is one of several over Wolf Creek.  (4-13-11)

I'll feature photos from Wolf Creek in this entry and Stewart's Knob on the next page so the pictures will load faster.


When the greenway system is eventually completed in the Roanoke Valley it will include 50 miles or more of paved and dirt trails that are all connected. That hasn't happened yet.

Right now there are at least half a dozen shorter trails around the city that don't connect with each other. One of the problems is right of way; another problem is bridging the Roanoke River, which looks benign most of the year when it's running shallow but can become a behemoth after heavy rains. It costs a lot of money to build pedestrian bridges to span that river.

New pedestrian bridge over the Roanoke River between Wasena and Vic Thomas Parks.  (11-3-10)

The longest stretch is about ten miles along the Roanoke River closer to downtown Roanoke. I showed some pictures from it in the last entry (and the picture above).

The other segment we like is closer to our house -- the wide dirt pedestrian and bike path that follows about three miles of Wolf Creek in the Vinton area. It begins at Hardy Road and ends at the Blue Ridge Parkway, traversing Goode and Stonebridge parks in the middle.

Above and below:  dogwoods in bloom on either side of another bridge
over Wolf Creek in Stonebridge Park.  (4-13-11)

This is a hillier, more shady path than the river greenway. We much prefer its softer surface for running and hiking than the paved river greenway. Although it crosses two residential streets, it's farther from any traffic and noise (factories, trains) than the river greenway. Not as many people use this greenway, either.

One of the most scenic sections of this trail is in Stonebridge Park. There are two wooden bridges over the creek; the longest one is shown in the last two photos above and several more below. Note all the pretty white dogwood trees in bloom.

I took the next two photos on April 12 and 13 when the creek was lower:


After a good rain, I took the next three pictures on April 17:



The Wolf Creek Greenway has many scenic spots along the creek, through the trees, and past some horse pastures between Stonebridge Park and the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Over the past seven years it's been fun to watch the half dozen horses that graze in a large field a quarter mile from the Parkway. They aren't always this close to the greenway. When they are, I make a point to talk with them and pet them if they come over to the fence:

One of the horse pastures along Wolf Creek  (4-29-11)


Jim likes to pet them, too:

For the last two years it's been very interesting to watch what's going on at the property across the path from that large pasture.

Someone purchased an old house on this very hilly piece of land and has done a great job renovating  it. In fact, it is on a home tour this weekend (the Barfield House). The new owners cut down some of the trees, contoured the dirt, built a barn and some other out-buildings, and put up a handsome fence:


The family owns several horses. Before moving into the renovated house, they let two large horses graze on the property.

While we were gone over the winter those horses were moved to a field across the road (not shown) and two Shetland ponies have taken up residence next to the greenway:

There are also two curious goats in this field:


I know less about goats than horses so I haven't tried to pet one of them -- not with those pointy horns! They're fun to watch, though.

Look carefully at the next photo:

That is one of the goats lying on a picnic table at the top of the hill! Too funny.

This is how lush the farm looked on May 6 with all the leaves out:

Photos continued on the next page . . .

Happy trails,

"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, and Cody the Ultra Lab

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2011 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil