This morning we walked/hiked up at Stringer's Ridge. This area is newly renovated and opened to walkers, bicyclists, and runners. In order to avoid collisions on the paths, there are directional instructions based on the day of the week for the different outdoor enthusiasts.
We started at the Spears Trailhead. The trailhead parking area provided a good 10-12 parking spaces, a picnic table, a large map of the area, and a port-a-john. The trail markings were abundant and clear. In fact, I haven't seen a trail system so adequately marked. That was refreshing to see. Click here for a map of Stringer's Ridge.
During our adventure we encountered two snakes, a turtle, a runner, some other walkers, a woman with a stroller full of kids. It was overall fairly quiet for a Friday morning outing.
The highlight very well could be the overlook. They have done a tremendous job on this overlook. There are three block benches for seating on the structure that goes out over the drop off. The view is gorgeous. Though a little hazy this morning, one could still see downtown well.
Being on the trail with a botanist and his number one sidekick means that I got to learn new things today. I saw native magnolia trees. Their leaves are HUMONGOUS. Not the magnolia trees I grew up with in my yard nor that my grandmother had, which I learned are native to Mississippi. I saw Japanese grass, Kudzu, tick weed, funky fungus that turned out to be elegant stinkhorn (Mutinus elegans), the fruit of the may apple, Christmas fern that looked that a stocking (though I thought it looked like an oversized mitten), etc. Some things I had seen during my spring walks and had learned, but had not seen in this state. The indian pink was beginning to shrivel and fade away.
|Ginger, little brown jug, pig's nose|
It was good to be out in creation, walking along the paths in the woods. The majority of the paths we walked were in the woods, though some were the gravel roads which are remnants of the roads and driveways from the neighborhoods from days gone by.
If you live locally and haven't checked out Stringer's Ridge, I encourage you to do so.
If you are planning to come to the Chattanooga area and you are looking for a place to hike, check it out.
Lastly, I saw this quote today on Facebook on the Shalem Institute site by Gerald May and it fit very well for today:
"In order to let God lead, you have to be relatively free from the things that normally determine your thoughts and actions. I find it best to be outdoors, away from the habits of household and civilization. Familiar surroundings always seem to demand certain activities from me. I sit a certain way in a chair, act a certain way in a room, think along particular lines in a particular place. Outdoors, especially in a fairly wild place, I'm much fresher, more immediately available for whatever inspiration might come."
Today's walk/hike outdoors was definitely refreshing. And with the snakes and turtle sighting (and the odd plant life), there was some "wild" involved. Maybe as I walked those paths, God was working and leading inwardly in my heart, mind, and soul. Who knows?
Blessings on your journey,
|covered avea.. looked cool|
|erosion at beginning of Spears Trailhead|
|graffiti on the concrete block foundation|
Article in Times Free Press, September 2013
Friends of Stringer's Ridge Facebook Page
The Trust for Public Land-- Stringer's Ridge