Monday, May 7, 2012

I feel like such a slacker! It took my dad to point out to me that it had been several days since I had entered anything for my blog. Luckily, I have been on several nice hikes including one that I believe helped forge my love for hiking years ago.
A stroll through the woods of Scott County

The Devil's Bathtub is a hidden treasure located in Scott County, Va near Fort Blackmore. Any time I've posted pictures of this area it has drew the most attention. Rumor has it, that the tub got it's name because the waters are cold as hell. Personally speaking, in all my hikes, I've never swam in colder water. This past weekend I visited the area twice in three days. The hike is just below two miles, and follows a yellow blazed trail up the creek, crossing it eleven times! It seems the most difficult thing for most first time visitors is actually finding the correct trail, the trail leaves the parking area via a set of steps uphill it then follows an old logging road and starts downhill to the first creek crossing. After crossing the creek almost immediately look for a trail to the left, a tree with a double yellow blaze marks the beginning of the correct trail. The trail to the right will eventually lead you there but it's a loop and it's much too far and you have to climb a near vertical trail to get there. The trail despite the many visitors is still in pristine condition, the forest floor is covered in ferns and wildlife abounds. Along the creek, you can almost guarantee encountering a salamander, sometimes even a copperhead or rattlesnake. Eventually the trail reaches a crossing where the trail is no where to be found on the opposite side but if you look upstream a yellow blaze is on a tree on the same side of the creek as you, just wade up stream for the hundred or so yards.
Stoney Creek, aptly named. look closely for yellow blaze on tree in center of picture.

After two miles of slipping and sliding the trail climbs slightly on the left of the creek and a small cascade can be heard, at this point you are almost twenty feet above the creek and the trail narrows and descends to the creek along a small cliff. If you wade upstream just a short distance you are greeted by the greenest clearest water I have ever seen, this is the pool below the Devil's Bathtub.
my all-time favorite swimming hole
nature's diving board

Many people arrive here thinking they have found the Devil's Bathtub when in reality they have not. The trail continues on along the creek just maybe a tenth of a mile more and you arrive at a creek crossing instead of following the trail on the other side, wade downstream being sure to watch your step on the slick moss covered rock. Just around the bend, a small waterfall swirls downstream and into a large tub-shaped pool, at last you have arrived at the Devil's Bathtub!
just above the waterfall

The Devil's Bathtub
deep water around 10ft.
I wasn't brave enough on my first visit to take the plunge but just two days later, I got my nerve up and dove in. The water was probably in the 40's or 50's I'm not sure, I just know it took my breath and for the first few minutes my skin felt like it had been burned. Once I went numb, I loved it. I done dives and cannonballs at the pool and laughed at my friends reactions to the cold waters. I knew the water wasn't bad for me from my college days, each day after practice I took ice baths that prepared me for the waters here. If you ever find yourself in the hills of southwest Virginia, be sure not to miss this beauty, I give guided tours for a fee of five hundred dollars;) Vacation looms just two weeks away and I'm excited to bring you some of my best hikes to date so until next time, enjoy the photos and happy trails!

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