Chilly and soggy, but gorgeous run

Yesterday Lucy and I were stuck at the house, without our run because of nonstop rain once again. This morning when we both woke, although it was in the 50s, the sun was shinning and there was barely a cloud in the sky.

I definitely wanted to make use of this rare sunshine . . . .

Lucy and I got in the car and headed to the Kingsport Greenbelt for my morning therapy, our outdoor getaway in nature. When we arrived in the parking lot there was only two cars, far less than I have ever seen. That should have been a sign of what was ahead of us, but we were there and I needed to run.

We were left with the option of only going to the left because the path was pretty wet and under water to the right of our entrance way off of the PetSmart parking lot.

Instead of hearing the crunch of leaves as we ran, the only sound was the rushing of water, the slosh of the leaves as we made contact with them and birds chirping.

There were a few areas where Lucy and I ran across small puddles of water. There were other areas where we had to cross deeper puddles that were the length of the path. Lucy was very hesitant at first, due to her not being a fan of the water, but as we kept on going she became a pro, often times leading the way.

With the wind, it was a rather cool run, which kept our pace at a rather decent speed.

On our way back, near the bridge at the start of the path, there was a tree in the middle of the path that wasn’t there when we begun. It was a rather large tree trunk. I sure hope it fell when no one was around. It just goes to show just how much it has rained the past couple of weeks, everything is so saturated.

We ran a total of 2.28 miles today. I wanted to increase our distance every day this week, but as we  neared our usual area the path was really flooded and I didn’t want to run in squishy shoes all the way back to our starting point.

Tomorrow, the goal is to go at least 2.5 miles, that is if there is no rain and the path is a little dryer.

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I love the serenity of the Greenbelt. My mind and soul is always refreshed once we are done with our run.

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I decided to look up some information about the path that Lucy and I have grown to love over the last few months.

When the Riverfront Park and The Boatyard was developed, the linear path became a reality in the 1970s. In 1989, a master plan was created for the path, which includes a trail that extends along the Reedy Creek and the Holston River, connecting the east and west side of Kingsport.

Now the path begins at The Exchange Place on the east end of Kingsport and ends on the west side along the Battle of Kingsport on the banks of the Holston River.

The length of the trail is 8-miles long. Looks like Lucy and I have some exploring to do, some increased distances to achieve.

This tidbit of information I think is pretty neat: the Greenbelt was featured in Southern Living, received recognition from the White House, as well as statewide recreation awards. No wonder it is an active path with all generations of every exercise.

Check out http://www.kingsportgreenbelt.com for more information.

After we returned back home, I had an interview with LaVerne about a bike ride she is putting together from Tucson to Phoenix, more than 85 miles long. As our conversation went on, I connected with this woman who began bike riding when she was 40 years old . . . . 12 years ago.

She told me it’s the “Freedom of cycling . . . It’s something about the quiteness and the freedom . . . You feel alive.” LaVerne said the connection with nature also draws her in while riding her bike.

I can completely relate. I feel rejuvanated when Lucy and I are done running. I know that sounds strange, but it’s so true. That connection with nature is also another big draw for me. As I run, I breathe in that fresh air, while hearing the sounds of nature. I start to feel part of nature as we are passing through on that wonderful path.

I am thankful I found a passion, a healthy passion at that.

Until next time. . .

 

Pleasantly surprised

I have been waiting for today all week-long, well since Wednesday when we made plans.

Jason and I went for a hike at a new park I found on Facebook, Laurel Run Park, in Church Hill, Tennessee. It was only about a 10-mile drive for us from Kingsport, making it a perfect afternoon getaway in nature.

According to the Hawkins County website, the 440-acre park was the backdrop for the movie “The River,” which was filmed in 1984. This park runs along the Holston River.

When we first drove into the park, we spotted a one-mile paved walking path, baseball and softball field, basketball court, tennis court, playground, amphitheater and picnic areas. This park definitely had a lot to offer.

Laurel Run Park has trails that take you to Bays Mountain in Kingsport, 37.5 miles of trails to be exact. We have been to Bays Mountain a few times. It may be worth the adventure to make the hike from Church Hill to Kingsport one of these days.

With all that said, our adventures of the day begins . . .

The sun was out and the temperatures were nearing 70 degrees, perfection doesn’t come close to explain our afternoon.

As soon as we hit the trails, we were surprised, well to be honest, scared of the noise that caught us off guard. Before we made it to the trails, a sign told us to beware of wild animals . . . Two deer, with a third in the distance, started to run down the hill towards us. As soon as they spotted us, their direction quickly changed, and they went back up the hill again. That got our heart pumping a little bit . . .

IMG_1298Shortly after we starting walking the trail again, we bumped into another hiker who asked us if we saw a bat in the area. Unfortunately we did not, but she told us she stood and watched it for a good 10-minutes as it flew across the water and enjoyed an afternoon snack.

It appeared that the wildlife who calls this park home, was enjoying the warm temperatures as well.

IMG_1280As always, we started to detour off the given path. The sounds of water always draws in Jason and I.

Jason of course found rocks to make his way across, as I stood there taking pictures and listening to the sound of water falling off the rocks.

While I was taking in the scenery, I spotted some of the trees in bloom. Although I still do not know what kind of tree produces this bloom, I was captivated. From this moment on, I could not help but take tons of pictures.

IMG_1293It was interesting to see the buds at different stages as we moved along the trail.

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Like I said, it definitely caught my attention.

The trail led us to an opening where we had to cross the water. Of course as Jason was guiding me from rock to rock, my foot slipped and one foot went in. The water was cold, but not as bad as I thought. Shortly after, Jason too experienced the temperature of the water as his foot slipped in as well.

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We continued on, one foot dry and one foot a little soggy.

As soon as we got back on the trail, it wasn’t before too long that our path changed directions as our feet led us closer to the running water.

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This of course led us to our surprise discovery of the day. As Jason hopped from one rock to another as I sat back and took pictures, he discovered a waterfall. It was a pleasant surprise. I had no idea the paths would lead us to another waterfall.

So as Jason continued to make his way along the river from rock to rock, I walked back to the trail and met him at the foot of the waterfall.

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Again, according to the Hawkins County website, this waterfall’s name is Laurel Falls. Apparently there is a second waterfall, Kiner Creek Falls another 20-minutes down the trail. We will definitely have to go back and find that one.

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This is always my favorite part about our adventures, running into these beautiful waterfalls. I almost always find a rock that I can sit on and listen. No two waterfalls we have seen are alike. The water is either rushing down the rock ledge producing an incredibly forceful sound, while others are not as loud. Today, this waterfall had a magnificent sound. So, as I sat here allowing my thoughts to go clear, Jason, the boy he still is, creates his own adventure. He climbed and made his way to the right of the waterfall to gain another perspective.

IMG_1317When he decided to check out the left side of the waterfall, I decided to join the fun. It was fun to climb in between the rock formations to make our way behind the waterfall. Well, not completely behind, but far enough behind where we could see through the waterfall. My legs at this point, which are rather white because they have been covered all winter long, had a nice spray of cold water from the waterfall.

After a little while we climbed back up to the trail before exiting again to view the top of the waterfall. This part always makes me smile. I love seeing how the water cascades from the rocks above.

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We walked a little further and spotted another smaller waterfall before we decided to turn around and head back towards the car.

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As we made our way back to the car, we walked past a few other hikers. We always seem to time our hikes just right . . . it seems like Jason and I always have an opportunity to enjoy the waterfall, just the two of us, for a little while before we are joined by others.

As we were walking along the parking lot, my view shifted towards the playground area. My direction changed as I spotted brightly colored daffodils. A smile crept across my face as I took my camera out of its case. Spring is definitely upon us.

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This afternoon was absolutely perfect. I love exploring the outdoors with Jason.

The outdoors once again cleared my head.

IMG_1347I’m so glad I completed all of my articles before today, so I could fully enjoy the day knowing I had absolutely no work to go home to.

Until our next adventure . . .

My own little adventure

Today while Jason was at work I decided to head out and find my own adventure, which occurred along the Kingsport Greenbelt.

IMAG1864Right from the beginning I was taken back by the beauty along this trail, which runs eight miles along the Holston River and Reedy Creek in Kingsport, TN.

I have to admit I stopped quite a few times, so I could really take in the beauty, sounds and smells of the area. Of course this was accompanied by many, many photographs.

To think this is just minutes from our apartment . . .

IMAG1866There is something about nature that cures all while centering you again. Three hours along this trail and more than six miles of walking, I came out as relaxed as one I could possibly be . . . which made it all worth while.

IMAG1880Today marks 26 days since we arrived in TN . . . and I have to admit yesterday it hit me hard . . . I miss my family. When we lived in Fort Myers, I spent most of my days off with Mom while Jason was at work.  Today in an effort to get myself out of a funk I explored some more of our new home, I took a step into nature.   As I made my way along the trail and found beautiful spots, I sent some of the photographs to Mom, which made it feel like she was with me. I thought of her often as I walked the trail, only because I could envison us running together or going for an early morning walk.

A great thing about this trail was I spotted many benches that were in good locations to sit and take in the surroundings while resting.

IMAG1873Another great thing about the trail was it was covered well with vegetation, which kept me cool as I walked and walked and walked.

Although there were many other people of all ages walking, biking, running and walking their dogs, it was an incredibly  peaceful journey down the path and across ocassional bridges. The birds chirping, the sound of water making its way down the river and creek made me forget about everything as my steps continued.

A smile was constantly on my face, it just would not go away . . .

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IMAG1875I mean really, how could you be in a bad mood or let the stress overcome you while you are walking along a trail witnessing this kind of beauty?

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My favorite part of the walk was when I began to hear the water . . . I knew it was cascading down rocks.

IMAG1886I followed a little trail up the hill, which only led me to more water and beauty.

IMAG1887And more . . .

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IMAG1900I finally turned around and  was led back to the bottom where the sound of the water continued to have its soothing rhythm . . .

I decided this was a great place to stop and sit on the bench as my thoughts cleared a little more and the smile became wider.

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IMAG1905I followed the trail all the way to the end and then turned around and started my journey back towards where I started.

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This Kingsport Greenbelt is a perfect place for me to run. I am very excited that I finally stumbled upon this trail, I will definitely use it a few times a week.

Although I made it back to my starting point, my feet kept going . . .

IMAG1934As I began to hear the wonderful sound of quacking and splashing . . .

IMAG1918There were ducks everywhere . . .

IMAG1921Even a mamma and her little ones . . .

IMAG1936And many, many more . . .

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IMAG1942Today was amazing. The weather was perfect, the people I passed along the trail were friendly and I got an incredible workout. That is one of the best things about exercising outside, you do not realize how many miles or how much time has passed because it is not located directly in front of you.

On the other hand, the trail provided great signs that let you know how many miles you traveled.

My legs are definitely feeling the miles I put on them today.

What a breath of fresh air to get lost along a trail for so many hours. I cannot wait until I find another location to explore on my own.