Bristol, TN – Rooster Front to Steele Creek With the Twins

Jason called today and said he was taking the twins to Rooster Front. So, we met him over there and took a walk with the twins, and then watched them play at the playground.

As with our last walk, we left Rooster Front and walked 1.5 miles in and then turned around and headed back to the playground.

During our walk, ran across some new blooms that we hadn’t seen on our previous walk. When we walked around the cove, the water was so still and got some pretty good shots of the trees reflecting in the water. After our 3 mile round trip walk, the twins expectations are that they will get to play for a while on the playground. We don’t disappoint!

If you’re interested in taking this easy walk or hiking any of the many trails, here is a link to a map of the trails. http://tn-bristol.civicplus.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2717

Here are a few photos from our walk and time spent at the playground with the twins.

Rooster Front address: 1160 Vance Dr, Bristol, TN

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These little cool dudes are ready to go

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The creek at Rooster Front. Nice picnic table spot on that tiny island.

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A little closer peek of the water rushing in the creek tonight

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Overlook at the wetlands

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To view the waterfall, you can take the bridge. You can still see the waterfall just fine continuing on the gravel trail.

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Waterfall looking pretty good tonight

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Blooms by the lake

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One other little bloom

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The water was so still up in the cove. Loved the reflection of the trees in the water.

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Another nice reflection photo

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The water is an interesting green

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Heading back through the cove to the playground

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Eli is watching his brother come down the slide

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Sawyer says hi!

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The boys are having some little conversation

Limestone, TN – Brights Zoo

This was our 2nd trip taking the twins to the zoo. Here is our post from the last time that we took them in June 2015. My previous post also had a little information about the zoo. https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/2015/06/28/limestone-tn-brights-zoo/

It was a nice, warm, sunny day, so Jason and Kim let us take the boys to the zoo. The last time that we took them they just rode in the stroller the entire time. Today we let them out some. They got out and posed on little animal seats, and got up close to the goats. For the last little bit, I just let them walk the entire time. We’d go to a cage and they would look in the cage, and then Eli would say “move on”. He was the boss so we moved on.

This is a very nice zoo. Not huge. It’s very well maintained and the walkways are very wide and nice. Here is a link to the zoo’s website so you can check out pricing and so forth before your visit. http://www.brightszoo.com/

Here are a few photos from our trip to the zoo today.

Zoo address: 3425 Andrew Johnson Hwy, Limestone, TN

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Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

We normally visit the arboretum only once per month. But, since the azaleas were starting to pop out a little in the National Native Azalea Repository when we were there last week, we decided to head over to check out the difference between last week and this week. Then of course we were going to go to the Rhododendron and Azalea Flower Show the following week, but ended up not making it over because I came down with a virus.

When we arrived today, we checked out what all was blooming in the gardens. After we finished in the gardens, behind the education center, we took the steps down by the rocking chairs and took the 1/2 mile walk down Running Cedar Road, to Bent Creek Road. It’s an easy walk down Running Cedar Road. If you go back up to the gardens via Running Cedar Road, there’s a slight incline that based on your fitness level can have you huffing and puffing. But, we didn’t go back that way. When we arrived at Bent Creek Road, we turned left and went maybe 3/10 of a mile and arrived at the azalea gardens on the right. We walked around the gardens, and there was definitely improvement in the # of azaleas that were blooming, from last week. After enjoying the azalea gardens, we turned right when we arrived back out onto Bent Creek Road. We walked maybe 4/10 of a mile or so when we came to the Old Mill trailhead that took off to the right. We didn’t take that trail, but turned to the left and immediately arrived at the trailhead for Wesley Branch Trail. Per the arboretum trail map, it is moderate to difficult. I’d call it moderate and not really difficult. Again, it’s really just based on your fitness level. It starts out next to the creek and soon you start the ascent to the exhibit center. This is a 4/10 of a mile trail. You’ll come to a 3 way intersection. You’ll turn right if you want to head back to the exhibit center, which we did. It’s not too far when you take that right.

Here is a link to the arboretum map. http://www.ncarboretum.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/Map_Guide_2014.pdf

Most of the time, I say “here are a few photos from today”. But instead, here are alot of photos from today. As I did with my last arboretum post. The first 23 photos are from the gardens. The next 3 photos are from Running Cedar Road to get down to Bent Creek Road. The next 20 photos are from the National Native Azalea Repository. The last 7 are taking the trail back up to the exhibit center.

Arboretum address: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

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Bristol, TN – Rooster Front to Steele Creek With the Twins

It’s been about a month since we’ve been able to go over to Rooster Front to do a walk with the twins, and to watch them enjoy playing on the playground.

As usual, we started out at Rooster Front and took off on the easy 4 mile round trip trail that takes you over to Steele Creek. And, as usual, we didn’t do the entire 4 miles. We went in about 1.5 miles and then turned around so there would be time for the boys to play at the playground.

As for the trail today, it was kind of weird. As we were walking between the wetlands and the waterfall, you have woods on both sides of you. The woods on the left were quite green. Lots of leaves on the trees and so forth. On the right hand side, the trees / woods were still almost bare. The waterfall had good water flow today. As we were heading back to the car, we came across a couple of guys that had been fishing. They caught a huge catfish. Steve asked if he could take a photo, which I have included below. We then headed on back to the playground at Rooster Front.

Here is a link that will take you to trail maps and a map of Steele Creek Park. https://www.friendsofsteelecreek.org/?page_id=34

Here are a few photos from this evening’s walk. I’ve also included one of Orka at the end, climbing a tree.

Rooster Front Address: 1160 Vance Dr, Bristol, TN

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The boys looking all cool in their sunglasses ready to be pushed on the trail

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A lone squirrel

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Trail map at the trailhead

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The wetlands area that is probably about 1 to 2/10 of a mile into the trail

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I mentioned this in my post. Left hand side of the trail pretty and green

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Standing in the same spot, the trees on the right hand side of the trail are still almost bare

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The waterfall

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The rapids above the waterfall

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A duck just hanging out at the dam area

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View of the lake and trail on the right, right as you are starting into the cove

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Heading back towards the car. A blooming tree and the lake an interesting green.

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Stopping to give the boys some water. What a look on Eli’s face.

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Sawyer has almost the same look

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A couple of people enjoying bicycling through the park

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Some guy caught a pretty good sized catfish

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Eli having fun sliding at the playground

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Sawyer waving before heading down the slide

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Lastly, at our house, Orka just took off running and climbing the tree

Blowing Rock, NC – Moses Cone Memorial Park

For other walks / hikes at this park, search by “ranger annette blowing rock nc moses cone memorial park”.

Today we took the trail that takes you to the stables, but before arriving at the stables, we turned right and did a 1/2 mile loop. We had previously gone to the park and completed the trail that brings you out at the end of the park, where if you crossed the road, you would arrive at the horse stables. Instead of going all the way to the end of the park, we took a right onto a road that just said “0.5 Mile Loop”. No other name, other than that.

As we were facing Bass Lake in front of Moses Cone Manor, we took a right and took the paved road for a pretty short distance and took a left onto Duncan Road. This road (trail) will eventually take you down to Bass Lake. But once we arrived at the fork where Bass Lake was to the left, we took a right towards the horse stables. It wasn’t too long of a walk to this point. From here the horse stables are 7/10 of a mile. But, as I stated, prior to arriving at the horse stables, we saw a sign on the right for 0.5 mile loop. We took off to the right. It wasn’t real exciting, but we got some exercise in. There were some partial views through the tree limbs. Probably no views at all when there are leaves on the trees. There was one portion of that loop that had a wall built I guess because there was a steep drop-off. That was about it for that loop. We then arrived back at the main road and turned left and headed back to the manor house.

This was an easy walk and I guesstimate that we walked about probably a little less than 3 miles round trip.

Here is a map of the park trails. If you look on this map, on lower left hand side, you will see our destination, the loop that we took. https://www.nps.gov/blri/planyourvisit/upload/Cone%20Park%20Carriage%20Trails.pdf

Moses Cone Manor is at milepost 294 on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Here are a few photos from today.

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We parked and headed down the hill to the manor

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And if you’d like to read the sign in the previous photo

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Bass Lake from the manor

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Zooming in on the lake. You can see parts of the trail that goes around the lake.

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We started off on the upper paved trail

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We then arrived here and turned left onto gravel Duncan Road

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Heading down Duncan Road with a nice hillside view in the background

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Walking down the switchbacks

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Time to turn right and head towards the horse stables

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Here is where you come out of the woods. Across this field is Hwy 221 that we will soon walk under, through a tunnel.

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Coming upon the tunnel that takes us under Hwy 221

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We have arrived where we turn right and walk the 1/2 mile loop

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After a short distance, when we arrived at this fork, we went to the right

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In this view through the trees, you can see the condos on top of Sugar Mountain

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Some mountains way in the background

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Here is where the wall is built and there is a good drop off on the other side of that wall

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If I recall correctly, this is a view through the woods down towards the stables

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Almost back at the manor house

 

 

Asheville, NC – North Carolina Arboretum

This was our April visit to the arboretum. We’ve been every month since we became members last August. To see what things look like at the arboretum each month, you can search by “ranger annette asheville nc north carolina arboretum” for my monthly posts.

Warning, today I have gone crazy with photos. Today was the arboretum’s orchid show. We checked out the show, strolled through the gardens to see what was blooming, and then walked down to the National Native Azalea Repository to see if any of the azaleas were blooming yet. There were a few blooms.

To get to the azalea repository, we walked 1/2 mile on Running Cedar road, turned left onto Bent Creek Road, and then the azalea repository was probably 2 or 3/10 of a mile on the right. Round trip from the education center to the azalea repository was probably about a mile and a half. Of course you add on the walking that you do in the repository. Heading back to the education center on Running Cedar Road, there is a little elevation gain coming back up, so if you’re not in shape, there will be some huffing and puffing.

About the photos. The first 23 are from the orchid show in the education center. The next 2 are orchids from the greenhouse up at the exhibit center. The next 29 are all photos from our in the gardens. Then, the last 3 are from down at the azalea repository.

Here is a link to their website. http://www.ncarboretum.org/

Address for arboretum: 100 Frederick Law Olmsted Way, Asheville, NC

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Bristol, TN – Steele Creek Park

After the twins birthday party (my previous post), we headed off  on a slightly strenuous / short hike.

As we were facing the lake outside of the lodge, you could look over to the right and see where a trail crosses the water. So, headed on over that way and walked across the water to a pier. Alot of people walk over here and enjoy the views, then walk back across the lake. Sometimes there will be people fishing over here. We kept on going and started off on Lake Ridge Trail. It’s 1.85 miles over to Rooster Front. We walked just a little less than 1/2 mile and came to the sign for Overlook Trail. It’s 454 feet to the top, to the overlook. Even with no leaves on the trees, you don’t have real great views. But, it was kind of a fun little walk if you want something short and feel like you’ve had a workout. This entire workout was probably a little less than a mile.

Here is a Steele Creek Park website. http://www.bristoltn.org/166/Steele-Creek-Park . You can click on Trail information and get a pamphlet with a little information about the trails, and a trail map.

Here are a few photos from that hike.

Park address: 4 Little Lane, Bristol, TN

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View of the lake at Steele Creek Park from the lodge. A piece of Holston Mountain in the background.

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As we were facing the lake, we took off on the paved walkway to the right

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View of the walkway across the lake and viewing area

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Taking off across the lake

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A view of the lake as we are crossing the lake

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Arriving at the bridge and viewing area

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I didn’t know that this was a Registered State Natural Area

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They have a great map at the trailhead along with a post of the trail that we are on. Starting off on Lake Ridge Trail.

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We’re going way up there

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At this split, we took the left fork

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The trails at the park seem to always be well signed and show if both hikers and bicyclists can use each of the trails

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There’s a creek down below and a little bridge on the lower trail

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One of the switchbacks

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We’re finally to where we will head to the left to the overlook

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Can barely see the park and the golf course through the leafless trees

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Zooming in on the little boat dock

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Was a little opening where you could see a little of Bristol

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Heading back down the trail

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And we’ve finally arrived back at the bridge / viewing area

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View across the lake back towards the Nature Center

Bristol, TN – The Twins (Sawyer and Eli) Turn 2

To start off, here is my post from “The Twins Turn 1”. So interesting looking at the difference that a year has made.

https://rangerannette.wordpress.com/2015/04/25/piney-flats-tn-the-twins-sawyer-and-eli-turn-1/

Their 2nd birthday party was held a couple of weeks before their official birth date, at Steele Creek Park in Bristol, TN. It was a train theme. I kind of laugh at that now because we live on 16 acres. We’re probably almost 1/2 mile on the back end of the 16 acres, from the main road (and railroad tracks). When the boys are at the house, when we’re outside playing, if Sawyer hears the train coming, he comes running to me and says “Nana, hold me”. The horn on the train really scares him. Sometimes I wonder if maybe we drove the boys down to the bottom of the hill while the train came through, wonder if that would help decrease his fear.

It’s been another great year being Nana and Pops. It’s funny. When they come over and I greet them outside, or I go over to their house after work, I love hearing “Nana”. Then, the next thing out of their mouth is.. Pops? Pops? They always want to know where Pops is. He wrestles around with them some. They think it’s really cool that Pops lets them drink water out of a cup without a lid. Sometimes have to throw their shirts in the dryer before the are picked up. Back a long time ago, it was funny how they didn’t act like the other existed. Now it’s fun seeing them communicate /play together. If Eli sees Sawyer doing something that he doesn’t think that Sawyer should be doing, he will holler “no Saw Saw, no”. Yes, Eli calls his brother Saw Saw. Sawyer doesn’t seem to call his brother Eli. He calls him “brudder”. Right now they’re putting about 5 or 6 words together. They love to dance. Eli more than Sawyer. I have this toy type thing where they can press different buttons for different songs and they just prance around the living room. Eli sings his ABC’s. Some of the letters aren’t real clear. It’s cute. Sawyer will sometimes start singing them and get distracted with something else real quick. We take them on walks around the property. Now they know which way to go and they always lead us. I could go on and on.

But, here are some photos from their birthday party today.

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A part of the table

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Another part of the table

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Cute what they did with the tea and water

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Train is loaded with pizza

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Information about Eli

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The “Produce Car”

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And information about Sawyer

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Eli’s special made cake

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And Sawyer’s

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Eli and Sawyer with Mamaw and Papaw

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Eli and Sawyer with Pops and Nana

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Eli and Sawyer with their special made train

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The entire cardboard train

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Eli having a little lunch before the festivities

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Waiting on their birthday cupcakes with candles

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Eli likes the icing

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Apparently Sawyer does too, and doesn’t care for the cupcake part

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Time to open presents

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Eli wants someone to read to him from his new book

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Wow, they’ve got something big there

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The loved their new balance bikes

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Mommy and daddy posing with the boys by the train

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Daddy and Eli heading off on the little train ride. As I mentioned above, Sawyer is scared of trains and he wasn’t having it.

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Uncle Eric being silly at the playground

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Sawyer on his new tricycle. He hasn’t figured out the pedals yet. As of today, he had to be pushed.

Johnson City, TN – Buffalo Mountain Park

We had just been at Winged Deer Park checking out the bluebells (previous post). We came over to Buffalo Mountain Park only to have a little picnic and to take a very short trail that was going to take us to views.

Buffalo Mountain Park is a 725 acre park. It’s kind of a steep drive up a narrow paved road to the picnic area / trailhead. The road is a bit narrow, so be careful. There is a picnic pavilion, and a few picnic tables scattered around the trailhead.

We had our little picnic and then took off on the trailhead at the information kiosk. They have a map at the kiosk, but with all of the different trails on the mountain, I would definitely print a copy before I left home. We just took a very short trail today, but I still had my map with me.

The plan today was to just go out onto Huckleberry Knob and check out the views I had heard about. We left the kiosk and immediately came to a fork in the trail. Wasn’t real sure which way to go so took the right fork. It felt like that made sense based on our destination. We soon then came to another fork where there was a sign pointing you in the proper direction for each of the trails. We did go the right way at the prior fork. The sign said that Huckleberry Knob was to our right. It’s only 3/10 of a mile to Huckleberry Knob. A moderate walk on a slightly narrow trail to the knob though. As you are trekking to the knob, you are walking above the picnic area. You then come to a very rocky portion of the trail, and come out where you can see a different side of Buffalo Mountain. We could see the trail going around the mountain with no leaves on the trees. We then took off on a trail to the right that took us up the hill to Huckleberry Knob. Pretty nice views. Not sure what the views would be like with leaves on the trees. We enjoyed the views and headed back into the city for grocery shopping.

Buffalo Mountain also has ATV trails. My son goes up there sometimes with friends for some ATV fun. The ATV trails are located at a different area on Buffalo Mountain.

Here is a map of the hiking trails. http://www.johnsoncitytn.org/uploads/files/parksrec/trails/Hiking%20Trails%20-%20Buffalo%20Mtn%20Park.pdf

Note: The road that takes you up to the picnic area / trailhead closes during the winter. People still hike Buffalo Mountain during the winter, but you have to park at the gate and trek up to the trailhead.

Here are a few photos from our very short hike today.

Address to Buffalo Mountain Park: 570 High Ridge Road, Johnson City, TN

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Buffalo Mountains trails trailhead

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They’ve got a good trail map at the trailhead but I definitely recommend bringing a paper copy

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Sign pointing you in the proper direction for your desired trail

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Narrow trail along the ridge. You’re not too awfully high above the picnic area.

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Picnic area below the trail

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Just another shot of the trail

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Gets very rocky, but once you get through this rocky area, the views begin

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The trail off to the right that takes you up to Huckleberry Knob

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There comes Steve trekking up the hill

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Almost to the “viewing platform”

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Zooming in on the mountains in the distance to our left. I think those mountains in the background are the mountains near Greeneville.

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Another view to our left of the area below Buffalo Mountain

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I think I barely see the hospital in this shot

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View of a portion of Johnson City

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A large portion of Johnson City

2016-04-03-Winged Deer Park and Buffalo Mountain Huckleberry Knob Trail-SONY-DSC-HX200V-237

This is looking towards downtown Johnson City

2016-04-03-Winged Deer Park and Buffalo Mountain Huckleberry Knob Trail-SONY-DSC-HX200V-242

Heading back to the car. Was able to kind of capture Holston Mountain through the trees.

2016-04-03-Winged Deer Park and Buffalo Mountain Huckleberry Knob Trail-SONY-DSC-HX200V-243

You can see another one of the trails occasionally, off in the distance since there are no leaves on the trees

2016-04-03-Winged Deer Park and Buffalo Mountain Huckleberry Knob Trail-SONY-DSC-HX200V-244

Time to maneuver back through the rocky area and head to the car

 

 

Johnson City, TN – Winged Deer Park

This is the 3rd year in a row that we’ve gone to Winged Deer when the bluebells were blooming. I’ve gone alot crazier with the photos I am posting, this year. If you’d like to view other posts from Winged Deer Park, search by “ranger annette johnson city tn winged deer park”.

To get to the bluebells, we parked in the parking area off of Carroll Creek Road. You can see the parking area on the map I have posted below.

We took off on the paved trail on the far end of the parking area. Not long after hitting the trail, we watched for a sign on the right that says “Outdoor Classroom”. We take this way because it gives us a little more walking time, and it also brings us in the back way to the bluebells. This trail isn’t very long. Once you pass the actual outdoor classroom, that is very obvious, we come to the end of this little trail and turn left. Just keep walking and watch for Bluebell Loop Trail. Take a left and you will see bluebells all over the place. After enjoying the bluebells in this area, you come back out at the main paved trail through the park. You could go right and then pretty quickly take a right to take the other part of the loop, but there aren’t as many bluebells over in that area. So, we turned left to head to the car. As we were walking back to car, we quickly were surprised. Just happened to look over to the right and saw alot more bluebells. Have never noticed those in previous years. So, we found a spot where we could tell that people had walked over to those bluebells and took a few photos over there. We then headed back to the car and headed over to Buffalo Mountain to do a very quick trail over there. That will be my next post.

Here is the map of the Winged Deer trails and parking.

Click to access Hiking%20Trails%20-%20Winged%20Deer%20-%20Disc%20Golf%20Course.pdf

Address to use for parking: 209 Carroll Creek Road, Johnson City, TN. This is the address for the Meredith Pavilion on Carroll Creek Road. What you need to do to find the Winged Deer parking area, is to watch for a sign on the left hand side of the road for the turn-in to the trails.

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The trailhead off of Carroll Creek Road

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Watch for these 2 signs on the right. One is a map and shows you where you are at in the park. The other is the sign for “Outdoor Classroom”.

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Now we’re heading downhill on the trail between the trail that has the outdoor classroom, and Bluebell Loop

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I think this is the only photo of a bloom other than bluebells that you will see on my post today

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These next 14 photos will be bluebells on the upper section of Bluebell Loop

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Now we’re back out on Wise Oak Lane, the main trail that runs through the trails part of the park. We could go right and finish the Bluebell Loop trail. But, since that other part of Bluebell Loop isn’t so thrilling, we’re going left and heading towards the car.

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But, we soon realize there are more bluebells on the right hand side of the trail. These last 4 photos are from that area of bluebells.

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