Sunday, January 29, 2012


Today we went on the longest hike EVER -- into a SWAMP!  I've never been in a swamp before, and I was really hoping it would require sloshing through lots of mud and water.  But Dad was only willing to come along if Mom promised him there would be no river crossings or walking through water of any type.  So Mom took us along the Washington Ditch Trail (no, I didn't get to walk in the ditch) deep into the Great Dismal Swamp to Lake Drummond.  

The Washington Ditch runs from the western edge of the swamp to Lake Drummond and can be seen on the left side of this Dismal Swamp Trail Map.  The trail is actually a raised road that runs along the ditch.  It is very straight and level so it's an easy -- although LONG -- hike to Lake Drummond.  We hiked a total of 10.91 miles today, hiking to Lake Drummond and back and then along the Boardwalk Trail.  (This is our route.)  The water in the ditch and in the lake was brown and I didn't get to go swimming because Mom was afraid the tannins in the water would turn my coat brown!

The Washington Ditch got its name because George Washington visited the Dismal Swamp in 1763 and organized the Dismal Swamp Company to drain, farm, and log portions of the swamp.  The Washington Ditch was dug by hand under his supervision.  It's really more like a canal than a ditch, and it reminds Mom and Dad of the Dismal Swamp Canal (which is on the eastern edge of the swamp), although a bit narrower.  Mom and Dad were amazed at how straight it is, since it was dug by hand in the late 1700s, before they had electronic equipment to tell them how to dig it straight.

This is how I ensure I will not be left behind
I think this town needs better PR
Maybe that's why it's so straight -- it was surveyed by George Washington!
This is Washington Ditch, looking west
This is the Dismal Swamp
And this is Lake Drummond, one of only two natural lakes in Virginia

I was amazed to find such a huge lake in the middle of the swamp
(Lake Drummond is 3,100 acres)
This is where the Washington Ditch empties into Lake Drummond
The water was glassy calm and it was very quiet and peaceful

Mommy and me on the pier at Lake Drummond
Lake Drummond was like a mirror

What's down there?

Who is that good-looking yellow lab?
Me and my Dad

Of course I found a stick to munch on
This is my obligatory pose in a scenic location photo
This is the trail, heading west

This is the Boardwalk Trail
I was very tired toward the end of the hike
I was SOOOOOO tired when I got home


  1. I can't believe you hiked through a swamp and didn't get to play in the mud at all! It looks very pretty, but the lack of mud is thoroughly disappointing.

    1. There were actually a couple puddles in the road that I walked through, but I really wanted to wallow in the mud and brown water, but mom thought it was just too nasty. I think she was afraid some swamp creature would snatch me.

    2. Gosh Garth that looks the kind of hike that Hero would like very much! It looks beautiful...did it take you a long time to get there? As always your pics and chat are fantastic..we all love the world according to Garth!