Extract Junk, Inject Living
We like to hike around four miles...five on a good day and on trails that aren't uphill in both directions. :-) Extra points for hikes along a river or lake, since the vistas seem to take our minds off the discomfort of exercise. A loop can also a great motivator, since there's often no way to chicken out part way, and sone of the best loops we've experienced can be accessed from our campground alongside Ft. Loudon Lake in Lenoir City. Depending on how we're feeling, we can adjust the route to take us anywhere from two to four miles right along the lakeshore
For longer hikes and more diverse terrain, we are about an hour's drive from the entrance to Smoky Mountain National Park that has some of the most incredible trails in the Southeast including a good chunk of the 2,180-mile long Appellation Trail that meanders through fourteen states from Georgia to Maine. While traversing that trail will have to remain the goal of more adventurous hikers, armed with a couple of day packs filled with sandwiches, treats, and water, we're plenty happy just enjoying our little treks into the backcountry.
While COVID is still with us—preventing bar and restaurant visits; cancelling plays, concerts, and sporting events; closing attractions; and making every public space feel like a Petri dish of infection—the outdoors beckons. If we were young and much more fit, perhaps Margaret and I would take up backpacking. In an alcohol-induced stupor I'm sure I could conjure up an image of the two of us hiking fifteen miles into the back country and laying our bedrolls down on a bed of pine needles for a night's sleep under the stars, but I don't drink that much. We have, however, learned to love short hikes, and Eastern Tennessee sports hundreds of trails and paths through countryside that is about as beautiful as it gets.