Wednesday, April 23, 2014

love life

I have found that if you love life, life will love you back. 
--Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982) Polish-American classical pianist.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Easter!

It is the hour to rend thy chains, the blossom time of souls. 
--Katherine Lee Bates

Friday, April 18, 2014

Hampton Watershed Trails

The Hampton Watershed Trails offer five miles of trails for mountain bikers, hikers, and trail-runners of all skill levels, with rating from easy to double-black-diamond. I'm completely impressed with the amount of maintenance that has been done on these trails -- they're in fantastic shape, including the lower portion that goes through pine forests with many downed trees.  I can't imagine all the hours donated by volunteers to keep them open and looking so great. First time visitors should note that the trails aren't well marked, so be sure to take a photo of the trail map located at the trail head. Along with the main trails, there are instances where riders have created cut-throughs - so you'll want to pay close attention to the map as you go. These trails are specifically for biking and hiking, with no horseback riding, hunting or camping allowed.

The Watershed area is fantastic, giving visitors the experience of biking/hiking through both pine and hardwood forests, on both mountain and (relatively) flat terrain. There are three trails in the Watershed:

Trail Name:         Skill Level:         Length:
Pine Loop            Easy                   1 mi.
River Loop          Difficult              1.25 mi.
Cat's Pajamas    Very Difficult      1.5 mi.

Doe River
The River Loop takes visitors on a journey to a small opening/access along the Doe River. I found the River Loop trail to be easy to moderate as a hiking trail, but I could image it being rated as difficult in terms of mountain biking. The view at the top was taken on the Cat's Pajamas trail at an overlook of the Doe River Gorge. The upper portion of the Cat's Pajamas trail is marked as a one-way trail, due to its steepness and difficulty (click on link to map below). The portion leading up to the overlook is steady in terms of its elevation gain, but still, is fairly easy to hike. For hikers, I'd say to go back the way you came after visiting the overlook, as the double-black diamond portion of the Cat's Pajamas trail looks very steep. :)

The sign at the trail head instructs cyclists to "ride within their ability levels and yield to pedestrians." My advice for hikers is to be aware that there are many mountain bikers who frequent this area. My guess is that the vast majority of visitors to the Watershed are bikers. And because hikers aren't always used to sharing trails with bikers, it's important to be attentive and prepared to quickly step aside, especially in areas where bikers don't have a good line-of-sight to give them warning of your presence. Special care needs to be taken with children and pets. 

Hampton Trail Bicycle Shop has put together a Facebook page here.

You'll find a fun video of a mountain bike ride through the Pine Loop, here.

For more Mountain Biking destinations in our area, click here.

Directions: Access to the Hampton Watershed Trail system is found behind Hampton High School in Hampton, TN. To get there, take 1st Ave. east for 1/2 mile to a small gravel parking lot on your left. There you will find a detailed map of the area.  Click here for google map.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

April spirit

April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.
--William Shakespeare (1564-1616) English writer.

Above: Watauga Point Recreation Area awaiting summer picnics.

Monday, April 14, 2014


There are two things that are more difficult than making an after-dinner speech: climbing a wall which is leaning toward you and kissing a girl who is leaning away from you. 
--Winston Churchill (1874-1965) British Prime Minister.

Sunday, April 13, 2014


Since you cannot do good to all, you are to pay special attention to those who, by the accidents of time, or place, or circumstances, are brought into closer connection with you.
--Saint Augustine (354-430) bishop and theologian.

Above: Butler Bridge, built in 1948.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

plunge boldly

Plunge boldly into the thick of life!  
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) German writer.

Above: Kiner Creek Falls found in Laurel Run Park, Church Hill, TN. I've updated my descriptions and directions of the park, complete with map! Now is a great time to visit this amazing park with wildflowers in bloom during the next few weeks.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Logger Falls

This is Logger Falls in Hawkins County, a seldom visited, but interesting waterfall in fairly close proximity to Laurel Run Falls. Like nearby Kiner Falls, it can be a bit of a challenge to reach this one.  The trail is not well established, or marked - but you follow the creek the entire way, so you really can't get lost.  As you see from the photo above, the waterfall is impressive (at least I think so!), although there are a lot of downed trees, limbs, branches and trash around it.  It could use a good spring cleaning. Here's a link to the only information I've found on the web about this waterfall.

I've updated the description in my Laurel Run Park post to include detailed directions to all three waterfalls found in this area of Laurel Run Park.

This weekend would be a great time to visit Laurel Run Park, lots of spring wildflowers to see!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

step by step

When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don't adjust the goals, adjust the action steps. 
--Confucius (551-479 BC) Chinese philosopher.

Above: Small waterfalls found along Laurel Run outside of Church Hill, TN.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

wonders never cease

America is a land of wonders, in which everything is in constant motion and every change seems an improvement. No natural boundary seems to be set to the efforts of man and in his eyes what is not yet done is only what he has not attempted to do. 
--Alexis de Tocqueville

Above: The 10 foot high Laurel Run Falls found within Laurel Run Park, Church Hill, TN. I'll be posting more from my visit to the park. It's a favorite place of mine to visit in the spring. For directions and description, click here.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

spring has sprung

Love is like wildflowers; It's often found in the most unlikely places.
--Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Above: This is rue anemone, one of the first wildflowers to appear in the woods each spring.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

don't be afraid

Don't be afraid to take a big step if one is indicated; you can't cross a chasm in two small jumps.
--David Lloyd George (1863-1945) British Prime Minister. 

Above: The view from the base of Backbone Rock Falls looking downstream into the rocky chasm on a rainy day.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

backbone falls

The individual activity of one man with backbone will do more than a thousand men with a mere wishbone. 
--William J. H. Boetcker (1873–1962) Presbyterian minister and motivational speaker.  

Above: Backbone Falls in Johnson County, TN. For information about Backbone Rock and Backbone Falls and for directions, click here.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

into each life

"The Rainy Day"

The day is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
The vine still clings to the mouldering wall,
But at every gust the dead leaves fall,
And the day is dark and dreary.

My life is cold, and dark, and dreary;
It rains, and the wind is never weary;
My thoughts still cling to the mouldering Past,
But the hopes of youth fall thick in the blast,
And the days are dark and dreary.

Be still, sad heart! and cease repining;
Behind the clouds is the sun still shining;
Thy fate is the common fate of all,
Into each life some rain must fall,
Some days must be dark and dreary.

--Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882) American Poet

Above: The Appalachian Trail as it crosses Osborne Farm outside of Shady Valley, TN. The farm was purchased in 2001 by the Appalachian Trail Conference in order to reroute the trail and create a buffer between the trail and other properties. More info here.  The trail through this area offers a nice stroll through the old fields and pastures providing wonderful views of Shady Valley and beyond.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


One who walks in another's tracks leaves no footprints.

Above: Blue walking along the Appalachian Trail near Iron Mountain Gap on the Tennessee/North Carolina border. Much more snow up there than I anticipated finding! I thought we all agreed it was spring?