June 8, 2021
I had several goals for the week. One was to visit Burke’s Garden. Two was to explore, float or fish the Clinch River. Three was to check out other trout streams in Tazewell, Wythe and Bland Counties. I started out the morning following the Clinch River from Tazewell to Claypool. Rt. 460 parallels the river. I had read some articles on how diverse the river is with good scenery and fishing. It has rained the last few days, so the river was somewhat muddy, a bit dirty and rather uninviting.
At Claypool I turned south on 610 (Indian Paint Road), crossing a pretty stream that looked a bit too shallow to float. I had crossed a road called Freestone Valley Road yesterday, and thought I would explore that. Up and over a mountain I went and headed down into a beautiful valley, stopping often to take pictures. Making a left turn, I ended up at Maiden Springs.
As I turned around to head back out, a doe and its fawn were browsing in the grass next to the spring.
I slowed to turn on 604, for what I thought was Freestone Valley. An older gentleman on an ATV, asked, “Are you lost Pilgrim?” “No”, I said, “but you sure live in a beautiful place.” I was sort of lost, but happy in my journey. I continued up the Thompson Valley until I reached Rt. 16, where aI turned north to Tazewell. This valley is as pretty a place as I have seen, and it runs right up against Garden Mountain. Later I would learn that Maiden Springs is the headwaters of the Clinch River, the south fork of the Clinch, although it’s not called that. The north and south forks come together before the Rt. 80 bridge.