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Boody trail in St. Paul, Virginia

Mark by Clinch River

Boody trailheadSugar Hill is our closest park with good walking trails (at least as the car drives), but Mark and I haven't been there for a while.  We've already explored the whole place, so we generally want to go somewhere new.

But we didn't feel like driving far Thursday, and when we showed up at Sugar Hill we were delighted to discover that a new trail has been added to the mix!  How's that for proof that Mark can manifest anything?

Boody trail

Boody Trail is more of a city walking trail than a naturalist's hiking trail, but the length is just right (two miles each way, with some loop potential), and an easy walk along the river sounded like fun.  Plus, the Bluebell Trail portion at the east end (bottom of the map above) is a nice chunk of floodplain, with beautiful sycamores and Virginia bluebells poking up through the floodplain sand.  Like the rest of the trail, there are lots of invasive plants present (Japanese Knotweed in the Bluebell portion of the trail), but I was interested to see that native cane was also being planted --- I'll have to check back and see if the canebrake can outcompete the knotweed.  This one-mile loop is the portion of the trail I'm likely to walk again.

St. Paul town trail

Another three-quarters of a mile of Boody Trail wiggles through the heart of St. Paul.  Since I hadn't seen a map at this point, following the little white signs felt a bit like a treasure hunt, and it reminded me of my days of walking around another town as a kid.  It was fun to pass by my favorite spot in St. Paul (the library) and to walk on a new little pedestrian passage under the bridge, but on the way back, we took a shortcut across the railroad tracks to cut out this portion.  Mark and I agreed that if we had to live in town, St. Paul, Virginia, might be the town we'd live in.  No way we'd trade in our mud and acreage for city streets, though.

Clinchfield bridge

1912A lot of the trail ran near the railroad, which provided nice views of old bridges.  The one Mark pictured yesterday was the prettiest, and was dated to 1912.  The bridge above, wasn't as old, but has its own appeal.  There's even a caboose parked along the trail at one point, which I suspect would be of interest to people with kids.  If you're a trainspotter, I understand that "This is a mega cool spot."


DandelionAll in all, Boody Trail made for a fun adventure.  No real wildflower or wildlife sightings, but I enjoyed seeing the first dandelions of the year along with daffodils in full bloom.  Towns are definitely good places to go if you want to pretend you live a week in the future, weatherwise.

By the way, in case you're curious, I believe Boody Trail is named after the road at one of its trailheads.  I'm not sure what the road is named after, though.  If you know, please do comment!

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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As near as I can tell, the area east of Saint Paul used to be called Boody, and still is on some older maps. I had imagined a tiny community, but it looks like it's just Boody road and the railroad track. As for "Boody" itself, it seems to be a surname, but I can't find any actual living (or deceased) people with that name in the area. (There is an organ maker in Staunton named Boody.)
Comment by Emily from Bristol Fri Mar 21 09:59:48 2014

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