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.
 
 
 

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.

 

 

Walking in East Knoxville: Welcoming Spring at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum

Okay, y’all, I know it isn’t Spring anymore.  And I’ve been terrible about showing you new places to walk in Knoxville lately, for one thing because I haven’t been doing as much walking this year, and for another, I’m behind in my blogging.  Way behind.
But y’all don’t want to wait for next year to see these pretty pictures.  Nor do you want to wait that long to go walking at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum, a lesser known treasure that more people should be taking advantage of.
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These gardens are over 200 years in the making, because the Howell family who originally owned this land operated it first as a an orchard and later as a nursery.  It was, in fact, the longest continuously run business in East Tennessee.  You should go read more about its fascinating history on the website above.  And you should appreciate how very, very fortunate we all are that its 40 some acres have been set aside for us to enjoy instead of being sold to developers.
There are several trails to walk on but you may not get a lot of exercise unless you walk it all twice, because I guarantee the first time you are going to be stopping a lot to look at things, smell them, and take pictures of them.
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The gardens are enhanced and complemented by beautiful stonework.
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These gardens are not just beautiful, they are also useful:  they are providing a venue for teaching children about gardening and for growing food for people in the community.
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In addition to flowering bushes, trees, and perennials, the gardens showcase fabulous views.
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But more than anything else it’s about the plants.  So many plants.  The awesome thing about the KBGA is that it should present a feast for the eyes in every season, and the feast will be different.  Here is a taste of springtime for you:
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Now that I’ve virtually revisited the gardens, I’m excited to see what grows there in the summer time!  If I do, I will come back and let you know.
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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

Walking in South Knoxville: A Belated Fall Roundup

As those of you who have been following me for a while know, my daughter Emily and I have been hiking the South Knoxville Urban Wilderness trails every Saturday for months, and I’ve been reviewing those trails for my readers.
I fell behind–not in hiking, but reviewing–during the Christmas/Birthday season.  I’ve written about all these trails at least once before anyway, but I still want to share the beautiful fall pictures with you.  I wish there was some safe way to hike them in the snow so I could get some winter pictures!
First up:  the trails of Ijams Nature Center.  These have been around the longest, and of course we had walked all of them many times before, from the time when I was carrying Teddy (who turned 20 yesterday) around on my back and chasing Emily and Jake.  They’ve added new trails since those days, but on this particular afternoon we were on the Discovery Trails, bringing back old memories.
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Next up are what I call the Anderson School Trails, although the official name is Private Land Easement.  You can park either at the TWRA Dove Field off Burnett Ridge Road or at the old Anderson School for this one.
The trails themselves are somewhat more cleverly named, however.
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We have enjoyed these trails so much!  I will be finishing up my final review of the Urban Wilderness trails in a couple more posts, and then hope to have new adventures to share.
For more Walking in South Knoxville stories, look 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
 

A Quiet Walk at the Quarry

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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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We did NOT take that path.  We took this one, which was safer but still plenty challenging:
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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.
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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.
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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:
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

Forks of the River: My Favorite Trails

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Bear with me, y’all because there are going to be a LOT of pictures in this post.
Emily and I have walked on the Forks of the River trails five times, because there is a lot of territory to cover and also because we didn’t plan very well for the task of completing all the trails with the least repetition.  But I can’t say I’m sorry, because we’ve had the opportunity to explore the place in Spring, Summer, and Fall.
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There are wildflowers throughout the Urban Wilderness, but Forks of the River takes the prize no matter the season.
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But even in late fall, there is plenty of color!
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This area can also not be matched for its variety.  You can walk through meadows or in the woods.  Some paths are flat, but along the river bluff there are challenging climbs.
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Also of note are the beautiful views:
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As always, I encountered a few mysteries while walking here.  For example, it looks like this area was lived in at some point, judging by some plants you’d expect to find in someone’s garden:
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At first, I thought this cactus must have been cultivated as well.  But it turns out that prickly pear cactus is native to East Tennessee:
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Now that we’ve hiked almost every trail in the Wilderness, I can tell you that this area is my favorite.  It’s definitely where I would recommend you start if you are interested in exploring these trails.
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I’ll miss hiking here as we move on to another walking adventure but I’m sure I’ll be back!
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For more on walking in South Knoxville, see 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: Another One Bites the Dust

Y’all, I’m getting so excited!  Emily and I finished another section of Urban Wilderness Trails last weekend.  We look to be on track to get our badges before the end of the year.  And really, we will have walked way more than 40 miles, since walking all of them necessarily entails walking some of them more than once.
This time we finished up the William Hastie trails, which is actually where we began this project back in May.  Let me come right out and say that these are probably my least favorite trails.  There’s nothing wrong with them; they just aren’t as interesting to me personally as many of the others.  These pictures below show something pretty interesting and actually downright terrifying, though:
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Unfortunately the photos don’t really do it justice, but that’s a sinkhole.  A gigantic scary deep sinkhole.  The first trail off the parking lot is named Sinkhole for a reason.  As you walk you’ll see a trail off to your right that leads right up to the edge of that.  We were too scared to get close enough for a good picture, but we saw evidence that some adventurous (insane?) people had been climbing down into the thing.  To which I say, they are welcome to it.
Moving right along, we enjoyed the cool fall weather.  Walking three miles in the fall is a whole lot different than doing the same hike when it’s 90 degrees.  There are trade offs, though–no wildflowers, or at least not many.  Still, we had this instead:
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See the collapsing boards in the second picture, though?  That particular bridge (not a bridge, exactly–a raised path over an area prone to mud) was rotting right through.  No big problem when you are walking, but it could be dangerous for an inattentive mountain biker.  Looking at some of the trails they bike on intentionally, though, I imagine they’d probably just look at it as another challenge!
I always have to take a couple of path pictures when we walk:
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I’m really pleased with the way that bottom one turned out.  I wasn’t sure my iPhone would be able to pick up that tunnel effect.
Most of the Hastie trails are through the woods, but the main trail (Margaret Road) was originally a KUB access road and was kept cleared.  In fact, there’s one part that in the summer was a meadow festooned with wildflowers:
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That same part is now a somewhat chilly desert with no plant life in sight.  But the absence of trees allowed us to appreciate the blue sky.  Have you ever noticed that the sky in autumn is a deeper, more intense blue?
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Remember, if you don’t have time to get up to the mountains to enjoy the fall colors, the Urban Wilderness is much closer!
For more South Knoxville walks, see 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