Tagged: hiking

Summer Fun: Adventuring

Last week I fell far short of my promised one-fun-thing-per-day promise.  I had a good excuse, though–I went to Nashville from Wednesday until Saturday to visit my sister.  Emily kindly provided some entertainment for her siblings in my stead, taking them blueberry picking.  And John took them to a “magnificent” (according to William) Asian restaurant to dine while I was gone.
But we did have one big adventure on Tuesday, one that did not turn out at all as I had planned!
We lived in South Knoxville when the big kids were little, and every Wednesday morning for years I used to take them to breakfast at Shoney’s.  Shoney’s was a big favorite for our family back then because we didn’t have a lot of money, we had a lot of mouths to feed, and kids ate free at the buffet!
So just about every summer since then we make a point to head south to that same Shoney’s to recreate some of that long ago summer fun.  Usually there’s a waitress or two there who still remembers us from back in the day (not this time, sadly).
That’s what the plan was on Tuesday, to be followed by a quick trip to the Fort Dickerson Overlook, perhaps a short walk on a trail, and visits to Scottish Pike Park and the new Suttree Landing Park that William and Lorelei have never seen.
Most of that will have to wait until another day, as you will see!
After a big breakfast, we drove up to Fort Dickerson Park and went to admire the view from the overlook.  I will never forget the first time I saw this view, about 25 years ago.  I couldn’t believe what I was seeing–it was like I was in some enchanted faraway land instead of about a mile from downtown Knoxville.
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Now, I’ve been to Fort Dickerson many times, but this time I saw something new–a trail just to the left of the overlook.
And that’s when I had a bright idea.  Why don’t we explore it, I said.  Let’s just see where it goes, I said.  We can always turn around and come back.
So we braved the kudzu and started to walk.
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And we walked.  And we walked.  And we sort of committed.  Eventually it was clear that we were walking right around the lake.  I figured we’d end up at the bottom (I’ve taken a trail that goes there from a different parking lot) and then surely there would be a way back on the other side.
Sure enough, after a fairly easy walk we ended up exactly where I thought, and we started hunting for that other trail.  At first things seemed to go fairly well, and we made our way along the opposite side of the lake, heading in exactly the direction we were supposed to.
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Until, that is, we ended up at a very dead end, standing right on the bank of the lake with a sheer cliff several hundred feet tall in front of us.
So we doubled back to where we had taken what was clearly the wrong fork and kept walking, only to eventually realize the trail we were on did nothing but circle us back–after a long time, I might add–to an area close to where it began.
By now we had come to realize that there WAS no trail on the other side.  We had two choices for how to get back to the car–take the trail we’d come down to begin with, or leave the park and go by road.
Did I mention that it was about a million degrees by now? (Well, at least 90 anyway.)  And we didn’t bring water.  We were tired, exhausted, and dehydrated as we made our way to the parking lot and thence to Chapman Highway, which if you are not local I need to explain is NOT the kind of road you really want to walk on.
Fortunately, there is a sidewalk–on the wrong side, naturally–and we were able to find a safe way to cross the highway.  We trudged doggedly up the hill and then crossed back over to the park entrance and finally made it to the car.  Y’all, we had walked FOUR MILES.
We drove straight to Weigel’s and bought Icees and much water, which I actually poured right on my head.  I apologized A LOT for my poor leadership skills.  But it was an adventure!
Read more of our summer adventures below!
Why We Can’t Have a 70s Summer and What We Are Doing Instead
The Summer Fun Continues . . .
More Summer Fun
Summer Fun Update
Summer Fun:  Vacation
That 70s Summer
In Which I Grow Lazy
Exploring History

Walking in Knoxville: A Guide for Hikers

Writing about hiking used to be a pretty big chunk of this blog.  Not so much lately, as I fell off the fitness wagon.  But fall is a great time for walking–it’s beautiful as well as cool.  So to inspire myself, and as a resource to any Knoxvillians or visitors, I’ve collected all my walking posts right here along with a brief description and picture for each.
Walking in East Knoxville: Welcoming Spring at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum
It’s not Spring as I am writing this but I am absolutely sure that this unsung gem will have fall foliage and flowers to delight you.  Don’t wait for Spring!
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Walking in South Knoxville
This was my introductory post of many about the 40 miles of trails in the Urban Wilderness.

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View from the Ijams River Trail


Walking in South Knoxville II: The William Hastie Natural Area
One trailhead for this section of the Urban Wilderness is in the Lake Forest neighborhood where we used to live.  We were curious and went walking back here when it wasn’t even a thing.
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Walking in South Knoxville III:  Forks of the River WMA
These are hands-down my favorite trails in the system.
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Walking in South Knoxville IV:  Anderson School Trails
These fancifully named trails that wind along an easement through private land are Emily’s favorite.
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Walking in South Knoxville V: Ross Marble Natural Area
This area features the remains of a quarrying operation, almost like exploring exotic ruins.
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Walking in South Knoxville VI:  Fort Dickerson Quarry
This place is amazing.  You will forget you are in Knoxville.
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Walking in South Knoxville VII: In the Homestretch
Fall wildflowers along the Ross Marble Quarry trails and other autumn delights.
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Walking in South Knoxville VIII: Another One Bites the Dust
It’s back to the William Hastie trails with their shady hills and wildflowers.
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Walking in South Knoxville IX:  Forks of the River
There is something for everyone in this section of trails, whether you like woods or meadows, hilly or flat, dirt or pavement.
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Walking in South Knoxville X: A Quiet Walk at the Quarry
The Mead’s Quarry trail is challenging, but it will reward you with beautiful views.
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Walking in South Knoxville XI: A Belated Fall Roundup
A collection of pictures from a variety of trails.
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Walking in South Knoxville:  Success
Another roundup of trails and pictures, including some great views.
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Walking in Knoxville:  North, South, and Further South
This one is a bit further afield with walks in Norris and the Smokies included.
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Walking in West Knoxville
This is a collection of several great places to walk in South Knoxville, suitable to all skill levels.
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A May Stroll You Must Take
If you love the smell of honeysuckle, you’ll want to do this in the Spring, but if you are an architecture fan you will enjoy it any time of year.
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Short West Knoxville Walks
These aren’t pretty (comparatively) but they are good for exercise!
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Walking in West Knoxville:  The Jean Teague Greenway
This trail has the advantage of running right through a playground, where you can abandon your kids for awhile as you walk.
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Walking in Knoxville
This showcases the Pellissippi Greenway, which is at its best when the daffodils are in bloom.
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Two Walks
Finally, this is my very first walking post, laying out a nice hike that hits the high points of downtown Knoxville.
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I’ll continue to update this post with new hikes as I write them–I have a backlog which includes Baker Creek, House Mountain, and Haw Ridge, among others.
 
 
 

KANGEAUX Helps You Go: Sponsored Review

Oh, y’all, I feel so bad about this.  I received this product in exchange for my honest review, and somehow I did not get around to writing the review in a timely manner.  Now it appears that the company may have suspended operations.

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And I hate that, because not only did I like the product, but it’s a Knoxville company (something I didn’t learn until after the fact).

This much of the website is still up and you should take a look.  If you are from Knoxville you will probably see some places you recognize in the promotional video.  If you find the product interesting you might want to follow the company on Facebook in case they make a comeback.

I received two carriers to try, and I gave one to my son who is always doing things like hiking and caving.  He was especially impressed with how strong it was.

I keep mine in my car for hiking.  I’ve used it to carry my phone and my water bottle.  The website suggests tons of other uses.  It is very versatile and yes, quite strong and secure.  I didn’t have any fears that my phone would drop along the trail.

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The company was still operational as late as November so I am still hopeful they will reopen.  Keep your eyes open for Kangeaux products in the future.

Let’s Get Healthy (But We Won’t Call It a Resolution!)

There’s just something about a new year, isn’t there?  It feels fresh and new and full of possibilities.  Hence the talk of resolutions and the increase in gym membership purchases!

I am reluctant to commit to something so definite and portentous as resolutions any more.  Not sticking to them seems like failure and who needs more reasons to feel bad?

Still, I can’t deny that some of the good health habits I worked so hard to form a few years ago have become somewhat less habitual. And a new year is as good a time as any for taking stock and making some changes.  I’m still lighter and healthier and stronger than I was before my healthy journey began, but let’s just say that pie has a lot of carbs, and that we don’t hike every weekend any more.  And I’ve got a BIG birthday coming up this year (gulp!), and I’d like to feel healthier and stronger by then.

So I’m going back to the gym and walking and healthy eating, but I’m not calling it a resolution.  In case you are feeling like doing something similar, here’s what I am going to do.  For the rest of this month I am going to reshare posts I’ve written on health, low carb eating, recipes, and hiking, to help motivate myself and anyone else who could use some motivation!  If you want to see what I’m sharing, follow Life in Every Limb on Facebook and be sure to check “see first” so you don’t miss any posts.

Happy New Year and good luck to you on your resolutions or goals for the year or whatever you wish to call them!  Tell me about them in the comments, if you want.

 

You Can Go with Kangeaux: SPONSORED

OK, y’all, so you know how much I love to hike.  There’s a new batch of trails in Knoxville’s Urban Wilderness that Emily and I just started exploring yesterday, as a matter of fact (and more on those later!).  Now as a US Family Guide blogger I am going to receive a product that I hope will help make those excursions more convenient–at least when it comes to carrying things.

Here’s the scoop:  New carrying concept, the Walkabout by Kangeaux Outdoors, is designed to be an industrial-strength and multifunctional carrying tool for the outdoor adventurer and sports enthusiast alike. With the development of the Walkabout, Kangeaux Outdoors has designed a carrier like none other. It is predicted to become a standard for those “In The Field” — but just as easily, its ergonomic fit is ideal for the everyday carry. The Walkabout’s adaptable nature creates easy solutions for both athletic essentials like sports bottles and baseball caps, as well as everyday items like keys, phones, sunglasses, etc. There is truly no other carrier like the Walkabout.

So, I think this things sounds pretty cool.  Here are some pictures of the product and of people using it in various ways:

Here’s an offer for my readers:

Save 20% on your entire purchase!  Sign up and stay up to date with our Kangeaux Newsletter and receive a coupon code for 20% off your entire purchase! http:// www.kangeaux.com

I’ll be reviewing this item (honestly, as ever) when I receive it if you want to wait to hear what I have to say before purchasing.

 

 

My Sunday Photo: Downtown Knoxville

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My daughter and I were hiking on Saturday along the Tennessee River when I snapped this iPhone photo of downtown Knoxville.  It was one of those pictures that I knew would be good before I even took it.

The greenway we were on is about two miles from downtown, and connects to the Urban Wilderness with over 40 miles of bike/hiking trails.  We are extremely fortunate in Knoxville to have access to outdoor recreation in such a beautiful place.

OneDad3Girls

NaBloPoMo November 2015

My Sunday Photo – Reflections

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This week was Spring Break, and on Tuesday Lorelei and I went on an adventure with some friends, visiting Seven Islands Birding Park for the first time (but I am sure not the last).  It was a beautiful almost-Spring day, perfect for taking pictures.  We saw a Cooper’s Hawk, so the park lived up to its name!  We will be going back to explore and to hike more, and I will share more pictures in a future post.

OneDad3Girls

Smoky Mountain Graveyard

I cannot tell from the map of the footprint of the still ongoing wildfires whether this little graveyard, just a stone’s throw from Gatlinburg, is in the affected area, but there can be little doubt that other graveyards and historic structures have been destroyed and that the views are going to be different for awhile.
There’s nothing like stumbling upon an unexpected graveyard.  And I don’t mean that in a spooky way!  It happens more often than you’d think, as I’ve told you before:  Stanton Cemetery on the Meads Quarry Trail; the tiny graveyard at Charter E. Doyle Park; even Greenbrier Cemetery was a surprise to me when I first encountered it on a family picnic to Metcalf Bottoms.
I love hiking and I love graveyards, and when the two serendipitously collide, all is right in my little world.  So I was tremendously excited to tackle a very steep hill on our recent Smoky Mountain walk, and to be rewarded at the summit by an old family graveyard.
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Fighting Creek Cemetery is a small graveyard (more correctly called William Stinnett Cemetery according to those who ought to know) with a beautiful view, populated mostly by Stinnetts and Bohannons.
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One can hardly imagine a more beautiful place to be laid to rest, or a more challenging one for those in charge of the burying.  The most recent grave here dates from 1990, and it’s hard to imagine how a heavy modern coffin could make the trip up the hill.
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The earliest burial I saw was from 1877.  There were many stones that couldn’t be read, and probably some that were never written on at all.
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Of course there were babies.  There are always babies.
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There’s a little trail at the back of the cemetery that doesn’t go anywhere anymore, but the picture I took looking back through the leaves is my favorite:
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Neither I nor most of the other folks who hike through the Smokies know the stories of those who gave up their homes so that the land they loved would be forever preserved.  But at least the presence of this graveyard and others like it lets us know they were there, and that we should appreciate their sacrifice.
And if you would like to help the people who now live on the borders of the Park, who have lost homes and businesses in the fire, please consider a donation to Dolly Parton’s My People Fund.
 

Walking in Knoxville: North, South, and Further South

Emily and I can’t stop exercising just because we finished up the Urban Wilderness Trails.  Our weekend treks have been sporadic of late (Christmas holidays, trips out of town, and hello SNOW!) but we’ve explored a number of trails in and around Knoxville in the past few weeks.
First we took a trip to the north the walk on the Songbird Trail in Anderson County near Norris Dam State Park.  We made the mistake (big mistake) of trusting Siri for directions, and it ended up taking us way longer to drive there than it did to walk the nice, flat, paved trail.  We did discover that there are many other trails within the park that we may come back and investigate another time.
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There’s more to South Knoxville than the Urban Wilderness, y’all.  High Ground Park is a new area to explore, on Cherokee Trail near that awful water tower.  There you will find some historic information (because it’s the site of Fort Higley), a trail, and a nice place to “set for a spell.”  We ran into one obstacle in that the parking lot was chained off for no apparent reason, but we found a gravel lot nearby and we persevered.
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Going back to our car we discovered the existence of another, as yet unfinished, trail system (River Bluff Wildlife Area) that I have been reliably informed leads to some amazing bluff views.  As you can see by the picture below, this is under development, but I believe that the eventual plan is that these trails will eventually connect somehow with those of the Urban Wilderness and the ones at Fort Dickerson.
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The trails at IC King Park were another happy South Knoxville surprise.  When I thought of IC King Park at all, it conjured up thoughts of a somewhat sketchy place where brave souls might go fishing.  But it’s been cleaned up now–with even an on-site satellite Sheriff’s Office–and if you don’t mind risking your life on Alcoa Highway to get there, you’ll be rewarded with eight miles of trails.  We just scratched the surface so I’ll write more on that another time, so consider this a preview:
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Finally, we are making it a goal this year to do more hiking in the Great Smoky Mountains.  You local folks realize, I’m sure, that thousands of people travel from all over the country every year to enjoy what we have in our own backyard.  And I know growing up we took way too little advantage of that.
So we are going to try to take one Saturday a month to hike in the mountains.  I think there are 900 miles of trails all together and some of them are out of our skill level at this time, so it will be many, many years down the road before I am able to blog that we hiked them all!  We started with a couple of Quiet Walkways that are close to Gatlinburg.
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I’ve often wondered about these little trails and have longed to pull off to explore them, so this was a real treat.  It doesn’t take long before you can’t hear the traffic anymore and there is always something beautiful and surprising to see.  For example, I’ll be devoting another blog post to the graveyard we discovered (on top of a VERY steep hill) on the first walkway.
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We are so lucky, so blessed, to have so much beauty to explore just an hour’s drive away, aren’t we?  In, near, and around Knoxville–so many walks and so little time.

Walking in South Knoxville: Success!

So we did it!  We hiked all 42 miles of the South Knoxville Urban Wilderness!  And we have badges to prove it:
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We had just a few awkward pieces of trail to finish up to earn our badges, and we did it by walking the entire twelve-mile loop over three weekends, four miles at a time.  We are considering that as training for walking the whole 12 miles in one day, something we are planning to do in the near future.
We’ve seen the trails in every season now, and each has its charms.  I’ve always found something pretty to photograph–in fact sometimes my desire to take pictures has interfered with the keeping-my-heart-rate up part of walking!  I have a few more pictures to share with you from the main twelve-mile loop.
The first several pictures are from the section of the loop that runs through the Ross Marble area.  This section runs along Burnett Ridge and has some nice views of downtown.
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The next several shots were taken on the Victor Ashe Trail, which runs through Marie Myers Park and ends in the View Park neighborhood.  I wouldn’t walk on this trail again if I didn’t have to in order to do the loop.  It’s almost always muddy and just not as interesting as the other trails, although the bamboo tunnel at the end is a nice touch.
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The following pictures were taken along the Lost Chromosome Trail in the Anderson Schools/Private Land Easement area.
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And these were taken in the William Hastie Natural Area.
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Finally, here are a few final pictures of my favorite groups of trails, in the Forks of the River Wildlife Management Area.
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And that’s all, folks!  When we do the 12-mile walk, I’ll write about that, of course.  But for now we are finished with the Urban Wilderness and are ready to share other hiking adventures with you.  In fact, I’m already behind in writing about those other hikes, some in South Knoxville and some further afield.
For more South Knoxville walking adventures, read the posts below:
Walking in South Knoxville I
Walking in South Knoxville II
Walking in South Knoxville III
Walking in South Knoxville IV
Walking in South Knoxville V
Walking in South Knoxville VI
Walking in South Knoxville VII
Walking in South Knoxville VIII
Walking in South Knoxville IX
Walking in South Knoxville X
Walking in South Knoxville XI

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