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Lost Corner

May 2, 2012 by Tim Jon filed under Columns, Just Like Nothing (Else) on Earth No Comments
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Totally wild. Where the wild things are. The call of the wild. Something wild. If there’s a place in Loudoun County where these expressions apply, I’d have to say it’s up in Lost Corner. I’ve probably already lost you – no pun intended.

It’s sort of a no-man’s land region strewn between Lucketts and the Potomac River – up in the northeast corner of this varied jurisdiction. See – not many people live there – and there really isn’t a major destination at the “end of the road,” like a shopping mall – or a bridge to Maryland – or even a 7-11 where you could score some java.

But there’s space in scads – and in some Einsteinian way, it seems to affect the amount of time one spends here – you know – that whole time-space relationship thing; if you spend an hour or so driving along Lucketts Road, Lost Corner Road and Spinks Ferry Road, the whole experience may just may take you for a real ride. Especially if you’re a newcomer: it’ll all be fresh. When I took my latest trip, I even turned around and retraced my “tracks” back along the same roads; so often, I find a unique place will offer some surprising images you can only see from one direction.

And, if this writer were a better photographer, you’d probably be seeing some nice pictures of a few of the herds of whitetail deer that populate this little area. Well, trees, houses, hay bales and hillsides are a bit easier to capture, so you’ll have to settle for some of those, I suppose.

And, speaking of images, I couldn’t help noting – in my mind’s eye – the stark contrast to a different trip to Lost Corner- under far more spartan circumstances. This was back a couple of years ago, when we had the Blizzard-Geddon, or whatever it was called; the US Postal Service makes a promise to at least try to deliver mail under the worst conditions imaginable, and this didn’t take much imagination. It was almost eight o’clock in the evening, and I’d just finished a route in Leesburg, where I’d been helping out during the onslaught of snow (things were probably even worse in my “home office” of Purcellville – which includes routes in the mountains).

Well, I was instructed to head over to the Main Office on Catoctin Circle and finish one of their rural routes. Your stomach always churns with one of those assignments: there’s something a little disconcerting about being ordered to deliver mail on unfamiliar roads – then you add little details like pitch-black night, several feet of snow and 20 degree temperatures, and – who knows what around the next bend – pretty much a nightmare scenario.

Rural – this was like a trip to Himalayas, after that avalanche of snow! Well, we got the mail sorted and loaded by around nine – luckily, some had already been done, so I only had to worry about a couple hundred deliveries. By the time I’d reached my turnoff from Route 15 at Limestone School Road, I’d seen all the winter wonderland I’d cared to: the snow drifts had been sliced through on either side of the highway by some kind of mega-plow, and I could only imagine what may lie ahead – on the real country roads.
I didn’t have long to imagine. How I didn’t get stuck along those ‘roads’ is beyond me: I’m not a very religious man, but you might say my entire thought process on that delivery was in the form of a Snowbank-narrowed little dirt roads – spiced up with plenty of steep – slippery – grades and death-defying driveways (remember those parcel deliveries!) – not to mention that mailboxes were often hidden behind – or even within – the snow.

Well, I “got er done,” by around 10:30, headed back to Leesburg a changed man, and wondered when I’d be back on solid food: it takes hours to settle down after nerves and adrenalin levels are peaked for about as long as the body will take.

So – this was the experience from which I had to compare my latest visit – which featured completely dry roads, a landscape barren of any snow cover – and the best of all – unhindered by the responsibility of delivering mail under the direst of circumstances. I had it made. All I had to do was keep my brand-new Forester between the ditches and watch out for deer – and not spill my early-morning coffee.

So – I was more than happy to let this adventure take me just about wherever the good Lord intended. And – despite the relative ease in which I found my “working conditions,” I still found the area up around Lost Corner to be pretty wild.

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