Friday, December 23, 2011

Long Hunter Short Hikes

Well, C and I were going fishing. But when we pulled up at Nice Mill Recreation area, we were met with a raging Stones River flooded out of its banks. On to Plan B. We made our way back up toward the lake and rendezvoused with V and E at Long Hunter State Park. Together, the four of us made our way around the Inland Trail, which sits beside a scenic picnic area overlooking Percy Priest. Then, C and I stayed at Long Hunter and completed two more nearby short hikes—the Nature Loop Trail and the Deer Trail. Midway through the latter trail, with the lake at winter pool, we combed the shore looking for lost lures. Sure enough, C found a nice, deep-diving plug right where we'd passed a couple of weeks ago.

Long Hunter Trails (L to R: Deer Trail, Inland Trail, Nature Loop Trail)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Two December Hikes

Long Hunter Deer Trail, December 11
In preparation for the twenty-six-mile Mega-Hike at Long Hunter, I want to explore every trail in the park before October. While I've covered anything of length at Long Hunter, I haven't hit some of the smaller trails. So on the 11th, the whole family took advantage of clear weather, and I was able to hike for the first time the one-mile "Deer Trail" next to the park office. It's a nice easy circuit that loops right by Percy Priest and the Hobson Pike bridge. This time around, a fumbled button led to no track data on the GPS, but I'll record a track next time I'm out there. Worth noting are the deer we saw grazing in the large field beyond the park office. We spotted them while driving in, and on the way out of the park, we rode down for a closer look. In all, Connor counted nineteen does.

Radnor Perimeter, December 21
Today, Jimmy and I met up on the east side of Radnor for a hike of the roughly four-and-a-half-mile perimeter. We routed clockwise, hitting the South Cove Trail before looping around the lake and catching Ganier Ridge. After having been office-bound for some time, I am in dire need of exercise, and the elevation changes were good for me. But as we climbed up to the last ridge, I was showing off the wind of a ninety-five-year-old, emphysema patient. Nonetheless, it was a good hike that featured some of the boldest deer I've seen at Radnor to date. Just off the South Cove Trail, we saw a group of six that looked ready to come and eat out of our hands. And as we were coming down the East Parking Lot Access Trail, we saw four more that were just as tame. In between, we gawked at two hawks perched low in trees at different points lakeside. I'm looking forward to getting back out there soon.

Radnor Perimeter

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Harpeth in December

Team Essence, middle Tennessee's premier sea-kayaking team, hit the little boats today for a December run on the Harpeth. We watched the river gauge all week and decided to pull the trigger when water levels at our planned put-in stayed above 2.5 feet. Right out of the gate, my kayak scrubbed bottom, but from there, we had clear paddling for the next 12+ miles. Our trip took us from the Highway 100 bridge northwest to the Hidden Lakes access. Along the way, we navigated a few rapids (see video below), but for the most part, the river offered up a calm, steady flow. The scenery, on the other hand, was less tranquil at times since the river path passed through urban sprawl and alongside busy thoroughfares. Nevertheless, we completed one more Harpeth leg in the area, and the missing link is now the roughly 9-mile portion from Hidden Lakes to the Highway 249 bridge. If we are able to make that trip soon, we will have paddled a contiguous 50-mile stretch of the Harpeth.

Harpeth in December

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Man and His Murse

With too much office and screen time under my belt the last several weeks, today I fled outdoors to "look far" as my mother likes to say. Given the sunny, crisp, and calm day, I could not have had better weather. I'd planned to hit the Bryant Grove Trail, but last minute, I diverted to the Long Hunter Day Loop where, at the trailhead, I had the pleasure of chatting with Ranger Tyler Blystone. He gave me some more information about the annual Long Hunter Mega Hike—twenty-six miles in a day over each of Long Hunter's trails. This coming year, I'm going to give the Mega Hike a try, which means I need to get out more often over the next several months and build some stamina.

In lieu of a backpack, I strapped on my homemade man purse, comprised of a nylon water bottle holder and some add-on, Molle-attached pouches. The rig, an essentials kit built around a core water bottle, was light and comfortable. Around the two-mile, halfway point, I stopped at an overlook with a spectacular view and used the kit to make a quick cup of coffee.

Long Hunter Day Loop