Dyer Hollow Trail

 By Joe Feeman

This short trail begins at Clear Creek Trail about 0.3 miles up from the Grist Mill. Although only 0.3 miles in length, Dyer Hollow has the most diverse and prolific spring wildflower display in the watershed. The trail cuts right off Clear Creek Trail, just before the bridge, and follows the small stream branch up the hollow. On your left you will see an orange spot on a yellow-poplar tree; this is the boundary line between Norris and TVA. So, most of the trail is located on Norris property. In the early 70s there was no formal trail up this hollow, but Bob Farmer, a former TVA forester, walked it to his office at the Fisheries Lab each day from his home on Reservoir Road. The narrow trail continues up the slope along the stream, traversing up and down on a good foot bed that is slightly slanted out (out-sloped). This drain (hollow) is very rich and is occupied by beech, yellow buckeye, yellow poplar, and sycamore, with lush umbrella magnolias in the understory. As the trail climbs, you will pass through blue cohosh, black cohosh, red trillium, foam flower, and many other species of wildflowers. The trail gets rockier as you continue and the hollow begins to widen. On the left, you will see the spring that feeds the stream you have been hiking next to; flow varies with rainfall and is much lower in late summer.

Beware, there is an enemy lurking along this trail and it gets denser as you pass the halfway point. Stinging nettle, a non native invasive plant, is abundant along the trail and should be avoided. This pesky plant, usually 2-3 feet tall (but can get much taller in certain conditions) spreads by underground rhizomes and can create a blanket of plants. The leaves and stems of the plant are covered with brittle, hollow, silky hairs that ‘sting' when bare skin rubs against them. According to the Ohio Perennial and Biennial Weed Guide concerning the nettle's capacity to cause skin irritation; "Toxins thought to be involved include formic acid (also found in ants), histamine, acetylcholine and 5-hydroxytryptamine." However, stinging nettles do have homeopathic uses for the treatment of osteoarthritis, hay fever, insect bites, sprains and strains, and is also a diuretic. One source says that the ‘stinging' will relieve pain when touching an area that is already in pain. If you are so unlucky and get ‘stung', which is often described as being like a bee sting, the best natural remedy is curled dock or jewelweed. Other remedies include over the counter anti itch or hydrocortisone crèmes, bee sting swabs, or a baking soda paste (the chemical which causes the sting is acidic and therefore, the soda neutralizes it).  This trail is normally one of the first weed eated by the trail crew, to cut the nettles down. Another area trail that has stinging nettle problems is River Bluff Trail on TVA.

As the hollow widens out you climb gently and will soon intersect Reservoir Hill Circle Trail. Dyer Hollow Trail gains about 140 feet in elevation over its 0.3 miles and is a foot-traffic only trail (red). The trail is not on the trail map. Although spring is the peak for wildflowers, Dyer Hollow is a good trail to hike in any season. It offers cool shade in the summer and brisk temperatures in the winter because the sun doesn't reach the hollow for very long each day. This trail can be combined with Clear Creek Trail, (Dyer Hollow-right), Reservoir Hill Loop Trail (left), Reservoir Hill Trail (right), Observation Point Trail (right), Eagle Trail (left), and Cliff Trail (right) back to Clear Creek. This loop is about 4 miles and climbs both Reservoir Hill and Observation Point. 

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