Wednesday, January 24, 2007


Falling Spring Falls, Bath County, Virginia

I've always been enamored by flowing water. As a child, my brothers and I would wait patiently for the heavy rains of summer to give us "rivers" to play in. These rivers were just the waters flowing from one pond to the next through the fields. Thinking back on this, we probably ingested a lot of cattle byproducts. That part of the fun is something I don't spend too much time reminiscing about. Later in my youth, the channels carved by the rain led exploring teenagers to the wide New River. These headwaters took me to the place I've called my home away from the house ever since. Back tracking rivers has been a hobby of mine for quite a while. Living in the mountains, it's easy to do. My neighboring county of Floyd is the only county in Virginia in which all water flows out of and none in, down the hills and into the Little (Gulf of Mexico) and South Fork Roanoke (Atlantic) Rivers. My other neighbor of Giles County has 37 miles of the New River as it's tourism claim to fame but waterways like the Little and Big Walker Rivers, Big Stoney, Little Stoney, Wolf and Dismal Creek (my favorite mountain stream) offer some of the most serene scenery in the New River Valley. Down the interstate in Wythe County, near the community of Rural Retreat, you transition from the Ohio Valley Watershed into the Tennessee. In 1996 I reached the pinnacle of tracing back waters up their valleys. In fact, I started an event that effected the Pacific Ocean and Gulf of Mexico. I poured water over the ridge of the Continental Divide in Colorado. Isn't that about the time El Nino was discovered? Oops.

So, as you can read, I'm a holler nut (a holler is a "hollow" or "steep valley" for our non-Appalachian readers). That is the reason that I loved this article from Blue Ridge Country by Bruce Ingram. It's the first I had heard of this man-made watershed divider.

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