Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bledsoe Creek State Park

Stone fence
Originally uploaded by TheTurducken
Trying to fill in my hiking record with some local hikes I haven't done, today I went out to Bledsoe Creek State Park near Gallatin. The hike is short and (aside from one stiff climb) flat to moderate in elevation. The hike was a pleasant surprise, however, partially because I saw so much wildlife. Perhaps it shouldn't have been a surprise, given that the first half is along a lakeshore, and given that I was hiking alone.

My first sighting was of a large white bird (my guess vacillated between loon and goose) foraging for lunch across a narrow part of the lake. Next I saw a duck family - mom, pops, and the kids - out for a training swim. Then along the water were three pairs of what I suppose were a species of duck. I didn't want to get too close, but they didn't seem alarmed by the fact that there were campers about 25 feet away on the other side of the trail.

Just before the trail turns away from the water for a stiff uphill, a loon took off right in front of me. And then there were the deer - I'm not sure if I saw the same group twice, or two different sets. There were, of course, a thousand cicadas and the usual insect suspects.

The trail, like many in the region, is along the shores of a dammed lake. Most of it is through middle Tennessee's signature cedar glade, although the ground was better aerated than usual thanks to emerged cicadas.

The hike would be great for families - there are enough changes of scenery to keep the kids amused - but the park doesn't really have any other hiking trails. I followed it up with a visit to Drake's Creek Greenway (you have to really love soccer fields) and a drive by the Rock Castle in Hendersonville. The sign always sounded promising, although a local assured me it wasn't that interesting. I found out that it was a stone house, not a natural feature. Whether or not it is interesting worth visiting I may never know, as I let my stomach get the better of me and lead me home.

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