Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Nothing Strenuous, Just a Casual Photo Hike

This past weekend was absolutely gorgeous. It was sunny and for the first time in several months we saw temps just break above 70°F. Yes Spring is definitely springing, and around these parts of Southern Appalachia it is more apparent the further south you go.

Rather than load up our packs with water and gear for a long strenuous hike in one of our abundant parks, we opted instead to take a drive and find a nice long casual walk that contained promising shots for our cameras. We loaded our camera gear instead of the major hiking gear, along with the kiddo and the Beene and set sail.

This time around we headed South. We really didn't have a particular destination in mind so it was up in the air as to where the winds carried us. It wasn't very long before our tums were making noises and as we drove through Maryville heading south towards Greenback, Tennessee, Robin eyeballed a Central Park and made mention of it like she does every time we pass through this way. This time however was different, we actually stopped. "What? You've never ate at a Central Park? How long have you lived here?" That was the response I received from wifey when I responded with a "no" to her inquisition of whether I had ever eaten at said establishment.

30 minutes and $20 dollars later, we were stuffed and very content indeed. I have to say, Robin was right, they have the best fries in town and the burgers were very delectable. Once we were finished we continued our journey in search of a long walk, a very much needed walk after the lunch we had just consumed. We headed further south until we came to Greenback, Tennessee and the banks of Tellico Lake.

After a little here and there and everywhere, we finally settled on a "little" lakeside trail called East Lakeshore Trail. It was the Sinking Creek Branch of the trail and is 4.4 miles long. I had stumbled upon this trail sometime ago in my many researches on the interwebs. The East Lakeshore is an initiative of the WATeR organization  and TVA. Upon completion, the trail will stretch a total of 35 miles along the eastern shoreline of Tellico Lake. Currently there is approximately 18 miles of total trail constructed at this time.

Anyway, I thought that maybe we might stumble across it and by the time we got home and I asked Wifey's boyfriend (Google) my suspicion was correct. This was the trail. Anyway, we got out and walked strolled along the trail at a nice easy casual pace, snapping pictures that struck our fancy. It was a pleasant trail. Once away from the roadside, you cross a fence stile and through part of a cow pasture. The terrain is nice through here but I'd imagine the aroma wouldn't be so pleasant on a hot summer day. Luckily, the other side of the pasture isn't far and before long we were crossing another fence stile and entering a nice grove of pine, cedar, and hemlock. Of course this is all alongside the lake. It is rather peaceful back through here and very scenic. The track isn't too awful either. Only a few rocks and roots here and there. Other than that it is rather soft and I'm sure that was a welcomed delight for Robin's knees.

The elevation isn't much of a thing to worry about either, remember we were looking for a stroll, not a hike, and considering this is a lakeside trail, the elevation isn't an issue. Well at least not for the .8 miles back we walked erm I mean strolled. That's right we didn't walk the whole 4.4 miles of this branch.

Shortly after coming out of the pine, cedar and hemlock grove, we came upon a nice little bridge that crosses a runoff creek into the lake. We stopped here long enough to find that it was "The Kissing Bridge". Can you say photo op? Actually there was plenty other than just the bridge, but rest assured, the Beene was willing to give kisses to anyone who wanted them.

Before much longer the trail turned up a ridge and it was at this point we decided it was time for a small break and then to turn around and head back. Of course we took our time on the way back just as we did coming in. So many more pictures were taken and we ended the day we had several photos to add to our large collection.

If you're ever in the area, check out this trail system. It's very well maintained by the WATeR organization and of course, still a work in progress. I'm sure we will be back several more times to see what the other portions of the trail have to offer. It is definitely a great hike for beginners and those who enjoy nature, the great outdoors, and photography. From what I've read, there's even docking areas on the trail so that boater can come ashore and enjoy the trail too.

For more pics of our stroll check out the photostream on our Flickr page.

Happy Trails,
Tim and Robin

Stroll details on Trimble: