Thursday, January 7, 2010

Snowy Day Hike

After the area received a dusting of snow today, C and I decided to head back to Long Hunter State Park and hike the approximately 2-mile Couchville Lake Loop. A paved trail encircles much of the lake, crossing over the north end via a 300-foot wooden bridge.

The lake unexpectedly formed when the Corps of Engineers dammed the Stones River to create nearby Percy Priest Lake. Water seeped underground to fill the depression where Couchville Lake now sits, and it has been a part of Long Hunter Park ever since.

The lake level was down considerably since it mimics that of Percy Priest, which is currently at winter pool. Because of recent cold weather, the large majority of the lake was frozen over with a thin sheet of ice, and we had some fun skipping rocks across the slick surface and breaking it up with bigger rocks.

Click pictures to enlarge.
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Below, on the red Everytrail track, you can click on the thumbtacks to see additional waypointed pictures from the hike.

Couchville Lake

Driving into the park, we saw four does browsing next to the road, and at the outset of our hike, a great blue heron sat hunkered down by the chilly lakeside. A flock of geese squawked overhead at one point, and near the end of our hike, a small deer bounded across the trail. We also saw where plenty of inhabitants had used the trail before us. Gray squirrels and sparrows had left their tracks in the snow, as had the flock of turkeys that resides near Couchville Lake. We easily saw hundreds of turkey tracks over the course of the hike.

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Just past the one-mile mark, C and I stopped at a small shelter and used my Super Cat stove to heat up some water for hot chocolate. Made from cat-food cans, the Super Cat is an economical choice for a backpacking stove. It burns denatured alcohol and will bring water to boil in about five minutes. Total burn time for my stove, when filled to capacity, is around ten minutes. While today's windy conditions convinced me that it would benefit from an aluminum wind break, the stove still performed admirably, and we were able to warm up with our hot chocolate treat and continue our hike after a short break.

⇒ Click here for an excellent article on the Super Cat stove.
⇒ Click here for the mecca of homemade backpacking stoves.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'll bet Connor said, hot chocolate, hmm, hmm good. Grandad