I have walked the trails at Mead’s Quarry once before and I probably won’t again, unless I REALLY feel the need to take someone there. Y’all, that Tharp Trace Trail is JUST THAT HARD.
That’s one of the reasons Emily and I waited until October to tackle this set of trails. We wanted no part of climbing and climbing and CLIMBING when it was hot. There are other good reasons for doing this hike in the fall or winter. Mead’s Quarry has become an extremely popular destination and it was crowded all summer. On the chilly and cloudy day we were there, we had it all to ourselves. And if you are going to do all that climbing, you don’t want a lot of leaves obscuring your view, something that is not so much a problem this time of year.
We started on the lower trail which takes you nearer to the water. There’s even a stairway to walk down to get really close. The first part of the trail is full of reminders that the activity here used to be of a very different kind, back when Meads was supplying stone for buildings in our Nation’s Capital.
The first time I ever saw a quarry lake (at Fort Dickerson), I was absolutely amazed. They don’t get much less amazing no matter how often I see them.
Now I want you to look closely at the following picture. At that sheer ridiculously high wall. And I don’t know whether you can see that there is actually a semblance of a path, presumably for people who do not value their lives.
We did NOT take that path. We took this one, which was safer but still plenty challenging:
Well, we knew when we were standing at the bottom of that wall that we were going to be climbing because we could tell from our South Knox Trail App that the trail ran right along the top of it. So when we got to that point we thought we were finished climbing.
Y’all, we were WRONG. We walked and walked and walked and WALKED. (I should be saying climbed.) This was the most strenuous hike of them all, even though it’s only one mile long. Every time we thought we must be near the top, we were SO WRONG.
I already gave away the view pictures at the beginning of this post, so you know the climb was worth it. And near the end there was a special delight: if hiking in the Urban Wilderness makes me happy–and surely by now you know it does–then what could make me happier? How about an actual GRAVEYARD on an Urban Wilderness Trail? Oh, yes, there is! Stanton Cemetery, which will be the subject of my next post, is RIGHT THERE. Stay tuned!
For more South Knoxville Walking Adventures, see below: