Jon Bradley Discovers Cure For The Summertime Blues

Despite a veritable who’s who of pundits, ranging from rocker Eddie Cochran…

to mod philosopher Pete Townsend …


… to legal scholar, former Attorney General, Janet Reno,


vociferously claiming that “… there ain’t no cure for the summertime blues!”, JB “The Producer” has, indeed, found the cure at The Springs!  I’ll let JB explain….

On July 16th, I arrived at Ottawa Lake Campground. I didn’t have a lot of time but I hit parts of the trail. The first image was taken by the Marl Pit bridge.


The second one was taken at the main springs. The sun was spotlighting the springs and it was a photo I couldn’t resist.

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The next morning, I got up bright and early and was able to walk the entire trail. When I got to the Sand Prairie and looked out, I noticed three deer down by the stream fed by the Indian Spring. They saw me before I saw them and ran into the woods before I could get a photo.



When I arrived at the Emerald Springs, I saw a few Monarchs on the milkweed plants. One of them allowed me to photograph it before continuing on its journey.

Later that day, I returned to “The Springs” for a short time. For years I had been tempted to get in the ice cold Scuppernong River and finally took advantage of it. The Marl Pit bridge has always been my favorite area, and I was thrilled to become one with the river for a moment. I then sat along the river while my feet dried and realized how lucky we are to have this beautiful spot in our part of the world.


I visited the trail one more time the next morning before packing up and heading home. Back at the Marl Pit Bridge, I was enjoying the morning air when the call of a Sandhill Crane nearly made my jump. It came out from behind the bend for just a second when I snapped this photo.


I then, of course, had to get a shot of the river facing west.


Over at Ottawa Lake I had a good time canoeing. I love canoeing at Ottawa more than any other body of water I’ve visited.




While canoeing, I saw Painted Turtles, Sandhill Cranes, a Great Blue Heron, a Northern Watersnake, and a state-threatened Blandings Turtle, but the highlight came shortly before packing up and heading home. I surprisingly found this Eastern Hognose Snake crossing the campground road. It put on a show by flattening its neck, hissing, bobbing its head, and curling up. Eventually it slithered back into the tall grass.


(editor’s note.  JB, it was great to finally meet you at The Springs.  One question:  Do you think it will last?)

See you at The Springs!

JB the Explorer’s Fall Classic

Today Jon Bradely, aka JBtheExplorer, makes another guest appearance. Check out these interesting and beautiful pictures from his recent adventure (Nov. 3) at The Springs.

I went today expecting the Autumn colors to be over and wildlife to be gone or dormant. It was a pleasant surprise to see quite a bit of color still there. The trail was also loaded with snakes today, 10 that I remember. Most of them were Garter Snakes however I also found two Red-Bellied Snakes. The first one (first 2 images) was found at the sand prairie and only about 3.5″ long. The second one was found at signpost 10 and was roughly 6″ long. In 2009 found a Red-Bellied Snake on the trail but didn’t know what kind it was at the time and it slipped away before I could see its belly. This time I made sure to photograph it!



The Garter Snakes I found were mostly along the Marl Pits. Admittedly I don’t know how to tell different types of Garters apart however the stripes below the eye of the Garter in the first picture look like the Plains Garter Snakes I see quite a bit where I live. If it is a Plains, its the first one I’ve seen at the trail.

Red-Bellied Snake.




Finally, I have some scenery shots I took at various spots along the trail.

Marl Pit bridge view.


The bird house Jon put up this past summer. (ed. note I Haven’t seen any tenants yet!)



Cloud gazing. (ed. note, if you love clouds, check out the pics on this incredible site!)


The Big Spring and the steps leading up the trail from it. (ed. note, this location is begging for an extended time exposure shot ala Toby Gant)



The view from the deck leading to the Emerald Spring.


The old Hotel/Cheese Factory/Sawmill site.


Ruins on the cut-off trail. (ed. note, in a recent post I speculated that these ruins were part of the marl pit factory because of a long concrete structure with a rectangular hole in it. Pati said it looked like a chimney that had simply fallen over. hmmm… applying Occam’s razor, I’d have to agree with Pati.)


The make-shift bridge connecting the cut-off trail to the main loop trail at the marl pit factory.


Near signpost #2.


I was lucky enough to visit The Springs four times this year and can’t wait to return next spring!

(ed. note Thanks Jon! Pati and I were at The Springs on Nov. 3 too. Maybe next time we can coordinate and meet there.)

See you at The Springs!