Even so, the cold weather won't keep me from doing my almost-daily walking ritual. I'm supposed to walk every day, but sometimes things get in the way and it just doesn't happen. On the other hand, I actually like to do it and one of my motivational tools is a copy of 60 Hikes within 60 Miles of Nashville. I ordered it from Amazon the week I moved here, and that first day of the camping trip, while waiting for the rest of the gang to show up, I sat there under a pine tree reading it, planning all kinds of wonderful adventures in the woods of Tennessee. But just a week later, I was flat on my back in the ICU, with so many tubes and electrodes attached to me that I looked like the a chubby version of the Bionic Man. It didn't look like I'd be doing much of anything anytime soon.
But adventure delayed is not adventure denied, and since I've made a helluva recovery, one of the things I really like to do is wander around in the woods. And one of my many new goals is to do every single one of the hikes in the book. Coincidentally, Hike #1, the Anderson Road Fitness Trail, was the first hike on my agenda. It's out in Antioch, not far from the airport, and since I had to take Cyndi out there this morning to catch her flight to Dallas, I figured I'd brave the cold, the rain, and the fog, and knock out this first trail, too.
It's listed as being 1.3 miles, and an 'easy' hike, which is right up in my comfort zone. It's almost 100% paved, which I don't really care for, but then, you can't get lost, either. But, genius that I am, decided to take a spur trail near the end, thinking it would be a better hike than just walking along a paved road for a quarter mile back to my truck. Turns out, it was just a mountain biking loop to nowhere and it added an extra quarter-mile or so to my walk. No harm no foul, but it kinda pissed me off. First lesson learned--follow the map and the trail guide.
Anyhow, I'm trying to knock out all the easy hikes first--the shorter ones with paved trails or very little elevation changes, or the ones in the local greenbelts and parks, just until I feel like I'm ready to go and tackle some real hikes. As much as I love the trails at Percy Warner, I'm just not ready to go full-on and do six miles up and down those hills. I'm still in the baby-step phase.
Still, this was a good place to start. My own personal journey of a thousand miles began with a few footsteps along Percy Priest Lake, a couple of raindrops, and a brisk 43 degrees. At least I remembered to bring my camera. (Clicky for full-sized goodness)
First view of the lake through the trees at the beginning of the trailhead. The guidebook said to absolutely *not* take the gravel path to the left, which made me question what they were hiding. But it was just an 'unofficial' trail, so I stayed on the paved path. At least at first.
It was definitely an easy walking trail as it curved along the lake. I always use my hiking stick, so I prefer to walk along the edge, keeping the stick moving in the grass and dirt, so I don't sound like a peg-legged pirate when I walk.
After about a third of a mile, there was a wooden bench just off the trail at the high-water mark. The guidebook calls it a 'contemplation spot', but to me it just seems like a good spot to rest and take a photo or two. I don't think I did much contemplating.
After meandering along the edge of the lake for awhile, the pathway kind of heads slightly uphill, away from the water and deeper into the woods.
About two-thirds of a mile down the path, just a few feet off the trail, were the remnants of an old well from an early homestead, likely back in the late 1800s. The woods have reclaimed all other evidence of the cabin and such.
Not far beyond the well, there's a marker letting you know that you've walked a mile. By then, my nose was freezing cold, but my head had steam coming off of it, like those players in the footage on those old NFL Films highlights.
After 1.1 miles, the boulders mark the end of the trail at the park service road. You can either turn back and do the trail in reverse, or just walk down the road a quarter mile to the parking lot.
Or, you could take this obvious spur trail off to the side that certainly must take you back to the parking lot.
See, this is what a hiking trail is supposed to look like!
Unfortunately, the little spur trail didn't do anything but circle around in the woods for a bit, bringing me back to the row of boulders at the edge of the road after about ten minutes. So I got a little extra-credit hiking done.
And now that I know I won't melt in the rain or the fog, I'll probably do another hike tomorrow. I haven't decided if I'm going to walk the greenbelt up at Concorde Park up in Brentwood (meh...), or maybe head south and explore some trails along the Duck River. Or if the weather is too uncooperative, I may just take the dogs on a walk around the neighborhood. Believe me, getting dragged around the subdivision by a basset hound with a short attention span is a pretty good workout all on it's own.