Lucy’s first hike

Yesterday we decided to take Lucy on her first hike at a park not too far from where we live.

Ever since we brought her home at the beginning of April, I have been thinking about places we could take her. Let’s just say I’ve been pretty excited about including this little puppy in our outdoor adventures.

With the warm temperatures and blue skies yesterday, Jason and I both had the itch to be outdoors. So, we got everything we needed and headed to the car with Lucy close at our heels. As soon as we neared the car, Lucy became a little hesitant. This has become a little bit of an obstacle at the moment for Lucy. She’s not a fan of the car yet, which we hope to change because Jason and I like to be on the go . . . We like to explore new places when the time affords us the opportunity.

So, Jason scooped her up and we were on our way. I have found that she enjoys laying down between the two seats on the little center console. With that said, she typically gravitates towards Jason’s lap where she snuggles and lays down.

We went to Laurel Run Park in Church Hill, Tenn. again. We wanted to take Lucy somewhere we had already been, so we knew the trails and how difficult they may be for her. Since she is only three months old, we didn’t want to completely wear her out to where we had to carry her.

As soon as we parked, Lucy was greeted by two youngsters. She of course loved the attention and licked happily as the little boy said puppy over and over again. After the mom came over and got her kids, we started towards the trail.

The last time we hiked this trail everything was starting to bloom. This time the trails were lined with white, yellow and light and dark purple flowers. It was really pretty.

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The butterflies were back!

Last year when we first started making our ways to the different trails we would see butterflies every where, of every color. Although not the best picture, here is one of the one’s we saw on the trail yesterday.

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The vegetation alongside the trails are once again a beautiful hue of greens with the occasional beautiful color of flowers.

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IMG_1659The better part of our hike, I carried the leash as Jason led the way. I found that if someone was ahead of her she was in a hurry to follow. But, of course, I had to hand the leash to Jason a time or two, so I could take a picture of our little peanut walking the trails.

IMG_1622Usually when I take her for a walk outside our place, she stops every few seconds to sniff and find something to eat. That was not the case when we went hiking yesterday, which of course surprised me. I figured with all the smells she would stop every few seconds. But Lucy was happy jogging along keeping up with the both of us.

Since yesterday was such a beautiful day, there were a ton of people at the park. For the majority of the hike, I did not have Lucy on a short leash, but rather allowed her to roam as far as the leash would take her. But, when we saw people approaching us, I would shorten the leash.

It was adorable, as everyone passed by, I heard so many “ahhh, she is so cute.” More times than not, they stopped to give her a little pat as Lucy soaked up all the attention. It’s true, you make a ton of friends when you have a dog, especially a puppy.

IMG_1624Lucy seemed to have a great time. She became a little braver the farther we hiked the trail, often times jumping across puddles in the path and climbing rocks. Jason commented at the end of our hike that she always stayed on the trail.

IMG_1636Until, of course we went off the beaten path.

We walked past the waterfall since there were so many people enjoying the sight and playing in the water at the foot of the falls. When we came back around, there was no one there, so Lucy led us down the rocks.

IMG_1640She stood in the dry area by the falls, but would not get her paws wet. Lucy was not too sure about the water. We will definitely have to get her used to the water.

IMG_1643Lucy really did well on her first hiking adventure. She really surprised me. On the way back to the car, she was trotting along at a faster pace than when we first started. I figured by this point she would be tired, but nope she was on a mission. Instead of missing all the muddy areas, she went right through them, which made me smile . . . she wasn’t afraid anymore.

This little peanut is going to be a great companion on our hikes. I’m so glad she did well. Now instead of leaving her at home, she can accompany us on our adventures.

On the car ride home she did fantastic. We really wore her out. We even stopped at the store and she was too tired to care that Jason got out.

IMG_1666Our adventure yesterday really was special for me. It’s a lot of fun to watch an animal enjoy the outdoors. When we got home, she ate and then took a bath. She instantly fell asleep in my lap when I finished drying her off. She slept for a couple more hours after that in her little bed.

I’m so glad she got all of that exercise!

Another hike, Bays Mountain

Jason gave me a great surprise today, a phone call telling me he was on his way home … no working a double today!

An early day for him meant another adventure for us. We decided to go back to Bays Mountain and find another trail to hike. 

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The start of our hike looked down over a dam along the Lakeside Trail, which led us 2.3 miles around the lake.

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This beautiful park is 3,550 acres and houses the old city of Kingsport reservoir, which now serves as a 44-acre lake. The reservoir was built in 1917 and served the city water until 1944.

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The elevation around the Kingsport Reservoir is 1,835 feet.

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As we were walking, I told Jason I love looking out on the water and seeing trees and mountains in the distance. Everything is so green right now. I’m used to seeing an endless body of water coming from SW Florida.

The little yellow flowers in the water caught my attention …

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Although the trail led you both up and down around the lake, it wasn’t as strenuous as the other hikes we have done.

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I love the trails …

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Especially when they take you over little manmade boardwalks across the water. Sometimes they look a little too scary to cross …The best part of this particular path was Jason spotted a dear in the water, which I was unfortunately able to capture.

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There were a lot of trees that had fallen over on this trail, or near the trail leaving unique stumps on the path.

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We eventually made it back to our favorite spot where we sat for a little while taking it all in – the beauty, sounds and smells.

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I look forward to these little adventures, especially today because this week starts my full-time job. Tomorrow kicks off training and Tuesday is my first full day as the new police beat reporter for the Bristol Herald Courier. That is both exciting and nerve racking!  Jason and I have come a long way since we arrived in Kingsport on May 1.

I never knew how much of a nature person I was until Jason started taking me outside on hikes in Florida. No matter how stressed I am, or how worried I am about something it all disappears by the time the hike is done.

I’m grateful Jason and I moved to Tennessee. The best part is we really have not even begun to explore what is around us.

Excitement is building

The days are slowly counting down to when my boyfriend and I will be departing from a home we have grown to know, a home that has been a part of our lives for quite some time and a home that brought us together after going our separate ways for more than a decade.

I have moved only twice, the first time from Illinois to Florida with my family and the second time to Arizona to attend Arizona State University, which led me eventually back to Southwest Florida.

A move to another state can be both sad and exciting. The exciting part stems from wiping the slate clean as a new beginning is mapped out at a new destination.

backyard111The hardest part about this move is of course leaving family behind, since I am one of six children and an aunt of four adorable boys. A drive down the street to my parents and sisters’ homes, as well as a couple hour drive to my brothers will no longer be an option, as we will be 14 hours away. The beauty of course behind this is we are an incredibly close family who talks often and a drive back to Southwest Florida or a plane trip is extremely doable.

Family will always be there through thick and thin, so even though we may be a farther distance away, they will forever be close because they are a phone call, text or short trip away.

Although this is constantly flowing through my mind, the excitement of this new adventure grabs a hold of me . . .

As we pulled up Google Earth and highlighted the area of NE Tennessee – our destination – the pictures were incredible, which only increased the excitement of our soon to be new home. The change of seasons, hiking trails, mountains, lakes and farm house pictures, which graced the computer screen, grasped our attention as smiles spread across our faces. The endless possibilities and the new areas to explore are incredibly exciting to think about.

I am beyond thrilled to experience a new state and discover all it has to offer with this man who has become an incredible part of my life. What a journey to take with someone you love and share everything with. Our new journey is on the verge of beginning, a journey I know we will both make the most of, due to his incredible love for finding new areas to explore.

The excitement for the end of April is building, as we put in final notices at work and to our apartment complex, as well as making plans of how we are going to get from point A to point B with all of our belongings.