Johnson City, TN – Willow Springs Park

We kind of had a hard time getting a walk in today. It drizzled a majority of the day. But, that didn’t stop us. We still took a walk at this park not far from home.

Willow Springs Park is a 36 acre park with nice views of Buffalo Mountain. It has a 1.8 mile, easy walking trail. Mostly paved, but there are some unpaved trails through the woods. It also has a very nice playground (train and village themed), picnic shelters /stand-alone picnic tables, basketball court, and volleyball court. There is also a pretty good sized dog park. But, from what I’ve ready, you’ve got to become a member to use it.

While walking the trail, you’ll come upon a pond near the Antioch Road entrance. There are signs stating that there is no fishing. There is a little boardwalk for viewing the pond. I’ve read that there are turtles in the pond. We’ve been to this park a few times, but I have yet to see the turtles. After you pass the pond, up on your left you’ll pass a butterfly habitat. Have only been to this park in the winter, but would like to visit in the spring / summer. I bet the habitat is beautiful that time of year.

Here are a few photos from today.

Address for GPS: 1201 Huffine Road, Johnson City, TN. There is also an entrance on Antioch Road, but not sure of an exact address.


Entrance on Huffine Road



Park trailhead



The park has a very nice playground



Near the trailhead. You’ve got the basketball court. The clouds look wicked over Buffalo Mountain.



Near the beginning of the walk, a view across the park



This tree with the clouds in the background looks evil



When you get to this fork, go to the right to get to the pond



And then you shortly arrive at the pond. The butterfly habitat is in the background.



I’m trying to keep warm and dry



We’re by the pond. Up ahead is the Antioch Road parking area. When you get to the top of the little hill up ahead, the pavement ends and you can continue on through the woods.



One of the trails through the woods. We decided to stay out of the woods since it was so wet.



I liked this view with the red looking pine trees with the needles all over the ground



There’s Steve pulling up the rear



Another pretty cool tree picture


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We’re almost to the end of our walk. Looking back at the view of Buffalo Mountain.




Kingsport, TN – Bays Mountain Park and Planetarium

We had just had a really cold spell. Was going to warm up some today, so headed over to Bays Mountain. As usual, we had our little picnic of wraps and coleslaw. We then took off for our normal 2 1/2 mile walk around the lake, on Lakeside Trail. Where it had been so cold, on the back side of the trail where you cross the bridges, the water was frozen. Got some neat pictures of the leaves, etc., frozen into the water.

After our walk around Lakeside Trail, we spent a little time walking around the animal habitat. The main goal was to check out the wolves. While we were hanging out at the wolf area, a bunch of them got into a fight. It was also a little weird too. There were two little kids walking around looking at the wolves and there was this one black wolf that followed them and never tooks its eyes off of them.

When we got home, that evening my son brought the twins up. Of course had to include a photo of them. I also included a photo of the deer in our front yard from that week. It’s so funny. We have so many deer that come across our property. But, if we are out somewhere, I’ll get so excited when I see deer.

So, here are a few photos from today. For additional photos, search the internet by “ranger annette bays mountain” where I have photos from 3 other posts.

Address for GPS: 853 Bays Mountain Park Rd, Kingsport, TN


This is where the trailhead is of Lakeside Trail (on animal habitat side of planetarium). There is also a bridge to walk out on for some lake views.



Not long after you have been walking on the Lakeside Trail, you’ll come across a boardwalk on your left. Walk out onto that boardwalk for this view of the lake.



The beavers have been busy blocking the flow of water in the woods



Steve on one of the two floating bridges on this trail



This bridge sways a little. Thank goodness this one has railings.



It’s been really cold. Leaves froze in the lake.



The pontoon boat coming out of one of the coves



One last view of the lake



One of the turtles in the little turtle pond



I always love seeing this little white and brown deer


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One of the little bobcats


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This is the wolf that I talked about that was following the little kids around


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Nice photo of another wolf



Uncle Eric at our house that night with Eli and Sawyer



And lastly, a few of “my” deer out in our front yard



Elizabethton, TN – Elizabethton Linear Trail and Tweetsie Trail

I had a very rare day off on Friday. I found a paved walking path in Elizabethton that I didn’t know existed. It starts at the Elizabethton covered bridge, and ends on Race St, close to the bridge that crosses 19E. According to Google Maps, looks like this paved trail is about 1 mile long. So, today Steve and I decided to check it out.

We parked at Covered Bridge Park and spent some time taking photos around the covered bridge area. This included spending some time down at the river. The ducks there are so used to being fed, when we showed ourselves, here they came. So many ducks headed our way. When they finally realized that they weren’t going to be fed, they turned around and left. We then left the covered bridge area and walked under Elk Ave which took your through another little park with picnic tables. Not sure of the name of that park. This is where you then come out onto North Riverside Drive and have to walk about 1/10 of a mile by the road. You will see a yellow pole and a bridge. This is where you take a right off of Riverside. You then cross under the bridge at Broad St. We didn’t go much further after that. We realized that it looked like the rest of the trail was going to wind through a neighborhood and we would be on neighborhood streets through the remainder of the trail. Due to lack of photo opportunities, we decided to turn around and get some more walking in on the Tweetsie Trail.

So, we left and parked at the Lions Field ball park. We walked from there, to the overlook on the Tweetsie Trail. This little overlook area is named Milligan Depot. I believe that was around 3 miles round trip. It was kind of chilly today (high 30’s / low 40’s), but there were alot of people out on the trail today. On this section of the trail, you pass a few farms and you’ll see some horses and cows. You pass by the quarry. i read that they plan on putting a pavilion by the quarry. With as large as the area is by the quarry, I figured they would do something like that. We then kept on going until we arrived at the Milligan Depot overlook. Enjoyed the view and then headed back to the car.

Here are a few photos from today. Since we visited the twins today, there is a photo of each of them too.

Addresses for GPS: I can’t find an exact address for Elizabethton Covered Bridge or Lions Field. But, all you have to do is place these names in Google Maps, and you’ll have no problem getting there.


Elizabethton Covered Bridge



Walking through the covered bridge



As you see, the path then heads under the bridge on East Elk Avenue



Steve on the bridge at the parking area on the other side of Elk Avenue



On the river, at the park across Elk Avenue. Looking down the river, you see the bridge that crosses Broad Street. We’ll being walking under it shortly.



Heading back to the car. View of the other side of Elizabethton Covered Bridge and the small falls.


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We are now at the Tweetsie Trail. Parked at Lions Field. The gravel path up to the trail.


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After you leave the ball park and head towards Johnson City, this is the first bridge that you immediately come upon.


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One of the several horses we came across on the trail


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A stretch of the Tweetsie Trail with a little fall color left. Wow, unbelievable that there is still any fall color left mid-November.


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The cliffs above the quarry


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Snow capped mountains in the background. View from Milligan Depot.


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Now we’re visiting the twins. Eli is wondering why I’m placing that clicky thing in front of his face, AGAIN!


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Sawyer is on his way to see what’s going on outside. He knows what to do when the clicky thing is put in front of his face.




Bristol, TN – South Holston Spillway Trail

It’s over a week into November and there is still color out there. So, we decided to check out the spillway trail that we haven’t walked in about 3 years. Figured that with the color left, that it would really be beautiful when we arrived at the spillway area. I read that the spillway was created to protect South Holston Dam if the water levels rose quickly.

This is a very easy walk. The trail is used by hikers, bikers, and horses. It’s a good / gradual / wide trail. Looks like vehicles used to use this road. It’s approximately 3 1/2 miles round trip.

When you leave the parking area, you are increasing in elevation, but you can hardly tell. The first half or so of the walk, you have hills on your left, and valleys on your right. The last half of the walk, you have hills on your right and South Holston Lake on your left. At this point you are dropping in elevation, but again, it’s so gradual. The only hill that amounts to anything (and barely) is the hill that takes you down to the spillway area. Even with no leaves on the trees, it can be a little challenging getting good photos of the lake from the trail. But man, when you arrive at the spillway area, you have beautiful views of the lake and South Holston Mountain. Of course with it being the Fall, the lake water levels are way down.

After you finish this trail, don’t leave the area with visiting South Holston Dam, and the Osceola Island / Weir Dam area.

To see some photos from South Holston Dam, and the Osceola Island / Weir Dam area, search the internet by “ranger annette south holston dam” where you’ll find a few of my posts from past visits.

Here are a few photos from today’s walk.

Address for GPS: 918 Holston View Dam Road, Bristol, TN. According to Google Maps, it looks like you will continue to the stop sign. Turn right to head towards the dam. Watch for a gravel parking area on your right. There will be a cable at the trailhead so vehicles can’t take off down that road.


We are just leaving the parking area. The view of the straight stretch in the trail.



Some remaining color



The view (kind of) once you arrive to where the lake is on your left.



Here’s a spot where you have a pretty good view



Wow! Look at that view when you arrive at the spillway area



And then this is back the other way



Steve with the spillway in the background



I climbed up on the spillway wall. This is what was on the other side today.



Steve captured me taking photographs of a lady’s running dog



A closeup. Isn’t it beautiful?


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Arriving back at the parking area. Looks larger in this photo than it really is.



Lake Lure, NC – Morse Park and Beyond

I had read on the internet that if we still wanted to see some fall color, Lake Lure was the place to go. So, we headed over that way today. There was still color and quite a few green leaves on the trees.

Our destination today was Morse Park which is located on the west end of Lake Lure. You have great views here. Especially of the mountains of Hickory Nut Gorge. The 23 acre park has a visitor center, playground, picnic tables, tennis courts, basketball court, gazebo (used for weddings), fishing, and walking trails. The walking trails include 4 different sections. You have a meadow, gardens, wetlands, and riverside areas. The annual Dirty Dancing Festival is held here too.

Just walking around the park and making sure we hit all of the parts of the trail, we ended up walking a little over a mile. But, we also added on some additional walking. After finishing up in the park, we headed around the marina, out towards the road. There is a boardwalk that connects this area with the beach. The beach also had a little water park which includes a couple of water slides and something called “Water Wars”. Couldn’t quite figure that one out. Across the road from the beach, you have Lake Lure Inn and Spa. We walked past the beach and spa until we reached the paved road. Turned around and headed back at that point. I’d say today we strolled a total of 2 1/2 miles or so.

Here are a few photos from today. I also included one at the end that I took this morning through the glass by my front door. There were a few deer hanging out / lounging out front of our house.

Address for GPS: 2948 Memorial Hwy, Lake Lure, NC


Welcome to Morse Park



I’m walking along the back side of the park along an “inlet” off of Lake Lure



And this is the view in front of me



I took a few photos of the fall colors reflecting in the water



Looking back towards Chimney Rock (on the left)



We are on a trail up above the trail that runs along the lake. Looking towards the gazebo.



Steve with Lake Lure in the background



That is the boardwalk that we will take over to the beach



Zooming in on the little water park across the lake



View of the lake, beach (which you can barely see) and the mountains behind the beach



This is where the boardwalk starts, beside of the marina



Towards the end of the boardwalk, there are places that you can dock your boat. The water park and beach are in the background.



Nice view from the beach



We’re almost back to Morse Park



This picture isn’t very good from where I took it through a tiny window beside of my front door. But, a few deer hanging out. A couple of the younger ones are resting.



Blowing Rock, NC – Moses Cone Memorial Park (Rich Mountain Carriage Trail and Trout Lake Loop in the Snow)

We knew there was alot more snow in the mountains than at the house, so up to the mountains we headed.

Our “plan” was to walk to the top of Rich Mountain. We parked where you exit the parking area from Trout Lake and come out onto Shulls Mill Road. There’s room for 3 or 4 cars here.

So off we head in the snow. We came across a couple of other families on the trail. We also came across a huge truck that was coming down the little one lane road. It ends up that they were up taking care of the cattle. Until we arrived at the big clearing before you continue your walk up to the top, there were parts where there were tracks with no snow where the sun had hit. Then, of course there were other parts where there hadn’t really been any sun to amount to anything and were still pretty snow covered. We had arrived here early afternoon and started our walk. When we arrived at the first clearing, which I’m guessing was about 1/2 mile into our walk, we got to talking about how it could be a little challenging going back down. Taking that into account and how much further we had to walk to get to the top, and how late in the day it was, we decided to turn around and head back down. Of course we had to be very careful going back down just that 1/2 mile or so that we had come. We made it without any mishaps. But, I am going to start looking into traction devices because I love getting out walking in the snow. I can also use traction devices if it snows at home and I have to park at the road and walk to the house.

So, after we got back down to the truck, we drove down and around and parked at Trout Lake. We knew not having traction devices, that this would be the perfect walk for us. Pretty much flat all the way around the lake. The only challenging part was going down the little path to the lake path. Again, no mishaps. We then headed off on our 1 mile loop walk around the lake. The portion of the paved one lane road that you have to take as you are walking around the lake was pretty clear from the traffic. When we took a left off of the road and walked around the back side of the lake, there was quite a bit of snow. It was a little challenging in spots because of the snow weighing some of the bushes down. Got a little sloppy. But, ended up overall being a great walk.

Here is one of my previous posts where we did make it to the top of Rich Mountain. It includes the directions to the parking area. I do mention too in my directions that you will pass the entrance that will take you to the Trout Lake parking area.

Here are a few snowy photos from today.


This is where we were parked out on Shulls Mill Rd. This is the one lane road coming from the parking lot at Trout Lake.



Starting out, not too bad. Beautiful out there. Right now the trail is just wet with leaves all over it from where there was still some fall color left when it snowed.



Another shot heading up



The cows had just been delivered some fresh hay. We took a few cow photos and headed back down since it was going to be a little challenging going back down without traction devices.



Heading back down. Sections of the trail that look like this, don’t seem to look very challenging, but they were.



Another challenging hill



We are alone in that huge parking area at Trout Lake



This looks flat in my photo, but this is the slightly steep hill down to the lake loop trail



On the back side of the lake, there was still a lot of snow on the trail and the snow was weighing the bushes down into the trail



Steve on the back side of the trail


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The one section of the loop that has the best view of the lake


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A creek coming out of the mountains


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Nice view from this section of the lake with the little mountain in the background



Abingdon, VA – Virginia Creeper Trail (Alvarado Station Parking Area)

We woke up this morning with a little bit of snow on the ground. The temperature was only going to be in the mid 30’s. Wanted to do an easy walk in the snow today. Decided to go hit the Virginia Creeper Trail. Our plan was to park in the Alvarado Station parking area.

On our way to the creeper trail, we stopped off at the South Holston Dam area (Osceola Island/Weir Dam) thinking we could get an easy snow walk in there too. There pretty much wasn’t anything on the ground. So, we jumped back in the truck and headed further north to the creeper trail. We are thinking being further north that there will be at least a little bit of snow on the ground. NOT!

We needed to do a walk for the day, so we got out and walked a portion of the trail anyway. We ended up just waking from Alvarado Station to the trestle that crosses Holston River (trestle 12). Just guessing, I’d say this was probably a little over 2 miles round trip. I was surprised out how many people were out today. Mostly runners.

This little section of the trail runs along the river most of the way. There is a section where you are a good ways from the river. I’d say maybe only 3/10 of a mile, you are not right next to the river. But, this is definitely a little section that’s a great leg stretcher. There was still quite a bit of fall color on the trail today which was nice. Normally there’s no fall color by the beginning of November.

Here are a few photos from today. These include the little bit of snow at the house before we left. A couple of photos from the South Holston Dam area. Of course our walk on the creeper trail today. And of course I have to include a couple of photos of the twins. They came up on Halloween night in their little costumes.

Address for Alvarado Station for GPS: 21198 Alvarado Road, Abingdon, VA


There was just a dusting at the house when we left. Thought there would be more snow further north.



A shot of the bridge that takes you over to Osceola Island below South Holston Dam. This photo was taken from the first parking area as you cross the river.



No snow to tromp in. We’re heading further north to the creeper trail.



When we get to Alvarado Station, nothing. Across the road from Alvarado Station is the river and a nice picnic area.



As you start walking from Alvarado Station towards trestle 12, this is your first long straight stretch



Not far up the trail, there are a couple of benches where you can enjoy the river



Captured this photo of Steve standing by some nice remaining fall color



And Steve captured this one of me with a little fall color



This was more vibrant looking in person. These people really looked cool with some fall color remaining and their colorful running clothing.


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Trestle 12 was a little slick


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A split in Holston River from trestle 12


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Looking in the other direction at Holston River from trestle 12


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We’ve turned around to head back to the car. One more photo of the river and over the side of trestle 12.


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We’re on the straight stretch back to the car. Liked this photo of the leaves on the trail with the rocks with moss on them.



Jason, Kim and the twins in the Halloween costumes



Jason and the boys (out of their hot costumes). They are sharing their musical toy like good little brothers.



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