Sunday has become unofficial hiking day. Of late, I seem to have fallen into a new routine. Saturday, I recover from the previous 5 days of hiking, biking, rowing, and yoga. I do this mostly by laying on the couch with the occasional interruption of taking Tisen for walks.
But Sunday, Sunday I hike. And this past Sunday, Pat needed to work, so it was the perfect opportunity to make my second attempt at Edward Point. This time, Tisen and I would start at 10:30 in the morning instead of 4:30 in the evening. We were mentally prepared for a rather challenging 6 mile hike, up and down Signal Mountain, scrambling over rocks.
This was our fourth trip to the Signal Point overlook. It’s an easy walk down a paved trail from the parking lot. We spent 20 minutes covering the 100 yards from the parking lot to the overlook–there were lots of places to sniff.
But the overlook is it for the suburban park setting. After stopping for a couple of quick shots, we headed to the Cumberland Trail. Even with its manmade steps, it’s not an easy trail. Many people make it the first half mile to a “natural” overlook point over the gully that our trail would wind its way around. But it involves clamoring down steep and big steps, jumping onto rocks, and stepping carefully. Tisen did an amazing job navigating all the obstacles.
Every time we go on a hike that starts out with an accessible view, I notice the drop off in population as you get further from the parking lot. We were still on the most traveled part of the trail, but already we were down to only 2 other people who we didn’t see until we made it to the overlook point.
Before we’d rounded the first blind turn, a Pileated Woodpecker called from so close to where we were standing that I was sure I would look up and see it clinging to a tree. As I searched for the shape of this giant woodpecker, it called again, sounding slightly further away. I searched frantically, watching for shadows against the dark forest floor. When it called a third time, the Doppler effect kicked in–I could hear it moving away from us as it called. I was bummed. I haven’t seen a Pileated Woodpecker in quite a while–I would have loved to have gotten a shot of it.
We continued our hike possibly in greater safety now that the woodpecker was gone–I have a tendency to forget I’m walking on the edge of a cliff when I’m searching for a bird.
When we stopped at the first natural overlook, Tisen was already panting hard. I got out his portable water bowl and tried to coax him into drinking water. Tisen stuck his elbow in the collapsible water bowl and stared at me, pink tongue lolling from his black-and-white mouth.
I read somewhere that it is best for dogs not to drink water immediately after becoming over heated. When me and Sasha spend a lot of time in the sun, I will say “you need to go in and have some water”. But once we get in all she wants to do is lay flat out on the kitchen floor where it is cool. Then after a few minutes she goes to her water bowl.
Ah–that makes perfect sense–that’s exactly what Tisen did! Thanks!
I love hiking; any day with nature around you is amazing;) I wrote a post about hiking as well if you want to check it out sometime .
Thanks for reading and commenting! I read your post. You are so right about the stillness that comes from being surrounded by nature and just listening. Hiking is very much a form of meditation for me–from having to think about each footstep to sitting on a ledge listening to the wind. There is nothing else quite like it. I will say I see a lot of smiling folks on the Tennessee Riverwalk in the morning–I think exercise in general will do that to people, although hiking has added benefits. :-).
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