Potpourri by Gwen Johnson

An old railroad bed turns into greenway

Hard to believe a couple of Sundays ago I was bundled against the cold, even wearing a hat and gloves. After all, it was the first of March. But today was like spring, sunny and relatively warm.

By the time I had gotten less than a quarter of a mile walk in on the new greenway trail, I was peeling off the navy blue sweatshirt I was wearing and tying it around my waist.

Along the peaceful path my friend and I encountered the sound of rippling clear waters as the creek that ran parallel to the walking path rushed over rocks. The afternoon sun made the white foam sparkle and dance as the waters hurried along.

Gwen Johnson
Gwen Johnson

Yellow daffodils grew in bunches among the sticks of fallen tree branches close to the creek indicating that spring was right around the corner. An aged swinging bridge against a back drop of old barns and blue skies was so picturesque I couldn’t resist taking lots of pictures.

As we ambled along we stopped and listened to a bird that was constantly whistling. At first I wondered what kind of bird that was we heard whistling away? To our surprise when we whistled back, it answered exactly as though it were an echo. I knew right away it was a mocking bird. It sort of followed us along the trail, ever whistling and waiting for us to answer his call.

Along the path we encountered lots of folks out for a Sunday afternoon stroll on the newly finished Greenway Trail. Everyone was happy and friendly. One walker said, “I think this trail is the best thing that ever happened to New Castle.” And she wasn’t alone in her sentiments, either. Everyone seemed to feel that way.

Some walked at a pace as though they had a mission to accomplish, and others like us just ambled along taking in the sounds and the scenery. One place along the way we came across a young boy filled with joy as he bent over to pick up acorns to show to his mother.

When we arrived at the kiosk which is built right at the beginning of the trail at the corner of 3rd and Commerce Streets next to the Virginia Department of Transportation, I was pleasantly surprised to see a miniature shelter there instead of the usual kiosk. Inside was a picnic table and the history of the C&O Railroad as it pertained to the trains that ran between New Castle and Eagle Rock as early as the 1930s to the late 1950s.

Thanks to the C&O Railroad involvement some 80 years ago, New Castle now has its very own greenway trail that is unique. The mile-long trail winds its way through a pasture complete with cows, barns and farm equipment. It continues along the creek bed and past an old swinging bridge tucked in among scenic views of meadows and mountains.

And so March which is only two weeks old may see winter snows and cold windy days, but the warm and sunny days, yellow daffodils and the call of birds in the tree tops are filled with the promise of springtime.

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