Skip to main content
  1. Sports
  2. Recreation
  3. Outdoor Rec & Adventure

Follow your stream

See also

It’s the Lubber Run today. The walk today traces the “run” as it leaves the Ballston Pond and goes underground, popping up in Ballston backyards before becoming apparent in the Lubber Run Park as it drains into the Four Mile Run.

“One-third of the runoff from Lubber Run is detained and treated in Ballston Pond, a detention storage site for runoff from a .6-square-mile drainage area, including portions of Interstate 66. Ballston Pond will be restored in the near future.”

http://environment.arlingtonva.us/streams/stream-monitoring/lubber-run/

The hike was at least 4 miles in a loop. The temperature is in the 80s and I brought my own water in a backpack.

The feature photo is a butterfly on clover. Fortunately, there are lots of bees today. They are on the teal berry vine.

“Description: This deciduous woody vine, native to northeastern Asia, casts a spell with its spherical fruit colors rarely seen in nature. The berries emerge from the small green, branching flower cymes borne in summer. These berries start green, progress to light blue and then on to metallic shades of blue, teal and purple.”

http://www.sfgate.com/homeandgarden/pickoftheweek/article/Woody-fruit-vi...

The teal berry may be considered an invasive plant, however, given how bees have taken to it, horticulturalists must contemplate a better alternative before removing them and further devastating the bee population.

Here is a “list” of things notable in the hike.

1. Ballston Pond

2. Sewer drain at Fields Park

3. Balls Crossing Neighborhood

4. Homeowners helping runoff

5. Bridges over Lubber Run

6. Low water

7. Stonework

8. Arlington County, Virginia geological features (map)

9. Lubber Run geological features

10. Prospectors got excited

11. Restrooms

12. Everything

13. Landmark House

14. Four Mile Run

15. Chipmunk

1. Ballston Pond
1. Ballston Pond James George

1. Ballston Pond

Ballston Pond plays an important role in filtering runoff from highways. It helps clean up the water before it drains into streams and on to the Chesapeake Bay. The most disappointing thing is that it catches literally a ton of plastic that careless humans discard.

2. Sewer drain at Fields Park
2. Sewer drain at Fields Park James George

2. Sewer drain at Fields Park

I once saw a beaver exit this drain. It ran across the old Trolley Trail and sat on a branch in a tree. I saw it again on at a different time in the same place. The next year, Arlington County chopped down the tree and the beavers disappeared.

3. Balls Crossing Neighborhood
3. Balls Crossing Neighborhood James George

3. Balls Crossing Neighborhood

Just beyond this sign, the Lubber Run pops from underground as it flows under George Mason Drive and into the park bearing its name. The neighborhood is named for the founding family.

4. Homeowners helping runoff
4. Homeowners helping runoff James George

4. Homeowners helping runoff

Adding value to their property and doing a service for the community, this homeowner is helping guide the runoff into the Lubber Run system. It makes a great landscape feature.

5. Bridges over Lubber Run
5. Bridges over Lubber Run James George

5. Bridges over Lubber Run

As Lubber Run meanders through the ravine, it creates an opportunity to build hiking trail bridges to keep feet dry. It is possible to hop stones to the other side. Wading isn’t advisable.

Bridges in this neighborhood are famous for meetings between spies and their accomplices, and the FBI.

6. Low water
6. Low water James George

6. Low water

It hasn’t rained much lately and the water is low. It is still flowing however as natural springs feed the watershed. Can't get too excited about low water, but wait until it rains.

7. Stonework
7. Stonework James George

7. Stonework

Stone masonry from hundreds of years is visible here. Some of it is from older generations of storm sewers. It appears that it may have been navigable at one time. George Washington road his horse around here and his stepson built a mill.

 

8. Arlington County, Virginia geological features (map)
8. Arlington County, Virginia geological features (map) James George

8. Arlington County, Virginia geological features (map)

We could use some more public information about Arlington County geology.

http://gis.arlingtonva.us/Maps/Standard_Maps/Environmental_Maps/Geology.pdf

What we see on the map is “Qal.” What we see in Lubber Run are what appear to be extrusions from volcanic activity. They resemble fallen trees.

“Virginia
Alluvium (Quaternary)
Alluvium - Poorly sorted organic material, clay, sand, and rounded pebbles and cobbles
Quaternary and Tertiary Deposits (Tertiary-Quaternary)
Quaternary and Tertiary Deposits - Tabb through Windsor Formations and alluvial/tidal prism deposits.”

http://mrdata.usgs.gov/geology/state/sgmc-lith.php?text=alluvium

9. Restrooms
9. Restrooms James George

9. Restrooms

Restrooms are not always open, even when they are present. Sometimes they have portable restrooms in the vicinity, especially at Lubber Run Amphitheater. They want to discourage vagrants and must maintain a balance with public needs.

10. Everything
10. Everything James George

10. Everything

Here is a picture of Lubber Run and everything that we have been talking about, including wonderful shade that is appreciated on hot days like this one. Now, we must head uphill.

11. Lubber Run geological features
11. Lubber Run geological features James George

11. Lubber Run geological features

The stream bed is so interesting at Lubber Run as it contains pebbles, boulders and those volcanic extrusions. The chipmunks like the geological features too.

12. Spooky
12. Spooky James George

12. Spooky

A tree fell across the trail, leaving just enough room to walk under. It is dark and uphill at this point with a steep cliff to the left. At the top of the hill is a bench as you may need to recover from the climb.

13. Landmark House
13. Landmark House James George

13. Landmark House

When you get to this house after exiting Lubber Run Park, make a left and it dead ends into the Four Mile Run and W&OD Trail. Turn right and you are heading toward Falls Church. You can see a church steeple that is in the Westover neighborhood.

14. Four Mile Run
14. Four Mile Run James George

14. Four Mile Run

The water quality of Four Mile Run seems to be improving. I didn’t see the bluegills today as they are probably in the shadiest and deepest water they can locate. I had my eye out for a coyote that people report seeing in this area.

15. Chipmunk
15. Chipmunk James George

15. Chipmunk

The only remarkable creature that I could photograph today is this little chipmunk. I did see a woodpecker and some other birds too. The animals are all safely in the brush, including wild turkeys.

Advertisement