Tag Archives: State Park

Learning to Deal with the Oopsies on the Trail

A very special place my husband had always wanted to take a lady before we met! Being here made all the oopsies worth it!
A very special place my husband had always wanted to take a lady before we met! Being here made all the oopsies worth it!

Guestpost by Loral Pepoon (Honey)

Today was kind of a crazy day on the trail. It seemed like we couldn’t get it together—and things kept going wrong—the whole day was like that.

It was a spontaneous visit to one of my husband’s favorite state parks, Montgomery Bell, which is about 45 minutes from our house here in Franklin, Tennessee. We have been so busy that we haven’t been out there for a couple of weeks now, and we were missing it. We are going to be with family the next two weekends, so we knew today was the day to go—so we went for it.

First, I forgot my hiking boots. This mistake happened because of something I recommend doing—taking flip flops in the car to change your shoes, so that you can keep your feet more comfortable in the car. The downside to that strategy is that you can forget them! The saving grace of the day is that I kept my old hiking boots in the car for emergencies, so I had a pair. But my socks were less than ideal and my feet are screaming at me.

Second, we didn’t have enough water. Now as I write this, I still have an awful headache. Bring way more than you think you need—always. My husband planned the right amount for the distance he thought we were going, which was 3 miles, but that wasn’t the actual distance.

Third, the actual distance was two miles longer than we thought at 5 miles. We had to really had to ration our water.

Luckily, my Hiker has learned to be flexible and change the game plan when mistakes happen.

Here are the ways we fixed the situation and some blessings we experienced anyway.

We altered our course and went back on a main road instead of a trail. This action helped my feet and the water situation. It saved us distance and it was still beautiful despite the asphalt roads. And we learned some history about the trail that we wouldn’t have known otherwise.

I still got to see a special shelter that my husband had always dreamed of bringing His Honey to before he had met me. He loved showing me it, and I loved seeing it. We talked about how we could come again when we had more time…we had to get back to complete this 30-day blog challenge!

It had cooled down substantially by later in the day when we were walking back. Being out in the early evening in the summer in Tennessee just before the sunset is really pleasant in the shade.

We saw many lovely deer, who graced us with their presence. This particular park doesn’t seem to have as much underbrush as many other trails in the area. Consequently, you can see for much greater distances, and the deer were in sight longer!

We still had our nutritional supplements even though we were short on water. I felt like I was going to pass out before we had Amped from Isagenix. We love this stuff. We like it so much that we are distributors of it. Seth has used many “goos” in his days of running, and he thinks it’s one of the best products out there. I know that it gives us the get up and go to keep going, with pure, natural ingredients and no side effects.

We found a few ticks, but removed them without incident. It helps to check each other thoroughly.

We had a flat tire, and we were starving craving burgers after the hike. Right when we had to stop, the gas station with a working air machine also had a Back Yard Burgers in it! We had just prayed that God would keep us safe and that He would provide a solution!

Now we are home, and overly tired but thankful that we still were together and protected, and had a new, special experience—despite the oopsies.

With every mistake, you have the opportunity to make something beautiful!

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Christmas in July – Getting to Talk to Grandma on Time

Our Christmas Cabin
Our Christmas Cabin

Last Christmas was our second one together—we’ve been married almost two years now. We got to Celebrate Christ’s birth by combining lots of traditions and making some new ones. We celebrated with family before and after the big day. But on the 25th and 26th we rented a cabin in the Cumberland Mountain State Park in Tennessee. What a deal—there were running a winter half off special and we rented this cabin for a great half price winter deal and got two nights for $95.00.

We packed in the things you would expect: gifts, meal supplies, Christmas goodies, firewood, Bible, books, candles and of course, hiking gear.

Jesus is the Light of the World—reading the story of His birth from Luke together.

Christmas day afternoon we headed out for the trail head of the Pioneer Trail Short Loop. Here is a great map of the area.

We thought we would enjoy a rainy stroll across a suspension bridge and complete the entire 2-3-ish mile loop in a couple of wet happy Christmas hours. This would get us back just in time for the family call to my Honey’s Grandma…well…or should I say Wow…that is not exactly what happened.

We left our warm toasty cabin in our rain gear covering us from head to toe. I was so delighted because my Honey is not fond of walking in the rain and was genuinely up for it this day. I love to hike in the rain so much that even at work I can feel the phantom weight of my backpack on my shoulders when a heavy down pour passes our office windows…and I smile…can’t wait for the next stormy adventure.

A flood level Byrd Creek

We walked almost due West on the blacktop between the cabins until we reached a little access trail on the left just before the cul-de-sac.  When we reached the Short Loop we turned right and practically skipped the .2 miles to the suspension bridge. So happy to be alive and to be together on Christmas. Byrd Creek was so swollen under the bridge that it barely squeezed itself underneath.

I was practically giggling at our good fortune of getting to see such power, be in a storm and still be safe. (I wasn’t actually giggling…of course…because guys don’t do that, right?) I’m not a storm chaser but pretty close.

Making an unusual Christmas memory

We turned left headed toward the famous bridge of arches that you see in almost every picture of this park. It was 1.6 miles away and we didn’t know if there where other bridges to cross except that one.

Shortly after turning left on the other side of the suspension bridge we got an inkling of what might be ahead—a runoff creek, the kind you only see in a storm, was so wide that we had to do a little stone hopping to cross.

My Honey proving to be very agile crosses like a champ

We actually crossed 8 of these in that next mile—there are usually on two during normal wet periods but no limits on Christmas day!  My Strider Writer crossed every water obstacle like a champ! In several places the trail led down to the edge of the water and we had to make our own way through the trees to find the trail again.

Hey Kemosabe! Where is the trail?

This was eating up a lot of clock and the scheduled time to call Grandma was rapidly approaching.  Hmmm…we decided to test the first bridge we came to at right about one mile and see what could be done to cross. Pleasant surprise to find this bridge…we might make it on time. It was completely in tact and solid but the far side was under three feet of water for the last 5 or 6 yards.  I went first with two hiking poles testing the ground ahead before each step—there was no current. When I crossed safely on what felt like poured concrete underneath, I turned around and went back to get Loral.  We plodded slowly through the ice cold water up to our knees to get to that call with Grandma.

This is my best “over the river and through the woods” story ever! We made it to the cabin door in time of the call. All the wet clothes went in a pile on the porch and into a thick warm blanket my Honey went. Within 10 minutes, (I wanted to do all I could to show my appreciation to her for coming on this foie that was out of her comfort zone) I had a fire started and a hot cup of her favorite tea in her hand while she talked to Grandma. It was a video call so we got to see and say hi to all those that had been able to make it to Kansas.

Mission accomplished…we got to Grandma on time!


Do you have something going on that is turning out to be much different than what you had planned? How can you make the most of it? Is there a warm blanket, toasty fire or hot cup of tea that you could metaphorically add to make it better?