Genuine warm heartfelt conversation is a reward—Talking on the trail is a sure way to feed her soul and to make hiking a happy event. If your Honey is like mine, she wants lots of quality time to just talk. Choose a wide trail, walk at her speed, stop to soak in nature events and let the conversation flow. Go with the flow for what is on her mind or be intentional. Intentionally pick a topic that will build your relationship or your future. On this hike we talked about our second Christmas and what we want to make of it.
Peeler Park—In Nashville Tennessee there is a system of trails that is mostly for the domestic among us who love the city but want a taste of nature. We call this system the Nashville Greenway. Some of it is so widely used that there are just too many people for me to feel like I’m in nature at all. Some portions of the Greenway are more secluded. You can pass through large tracts of land and really get that great outdoor feeling. Peeler Park is just such a place.
Did he just do domestic again?—Yes, I’m afraid so but with really good reason. We were recovering from tons of Thanksgiving goodies and needed some fresh air and some light exercise on a tight time budget. My Strider-Writer Honey has a writing goal this month and in order to meet that goal she needed all of her senses awake. I knew that a brisk walk in the 60 degree air in a pretty place would help. I also wanted a trail that was close to the house and was wide enough for us to walk side by side. I strongly prefer a dirt path miles from the nearest town but it is harder to have a meaning conversation while you are walking. Peeler Park in the Nashville Greenway gave us plenty of room to walk side by side—hand in hand— and talk about Christmas.
We used Briley Parkway North and then stayed on Madison Pike north for 1.8 miles. Then we turned right onto Neelys Bend Rd for 5.2 miles. GPS may tell you to turn left on Overton Road at that 5.2 miles but don’t give in…don’t do it. GPS has twice tried to get me to turn left too soon. The first time a year or so ago, I fell for it and ended up at an airstrip for remote controlled aircraft—very cool but not where I wanted to be. This time I ignored the genteel broad in the box and kept going to the end of Neelys Bend. Memory served me well because there was the main trail head and boat ramp. The park is secluded because it is tucked away a long curve in the Cumberland River. We call it Neely’s Bend.
The hike—We choose a combo of asphalt and gravel that looks a little like a lollipop on the map and gave us 3.5 miles. The first .8 mile was blacktop and is the only way in to get to the rest of the trail options. At this intersection you can choose gravel to the left (what the map calls primitive) or blacktop to the right. We choose gravel to the left for 1.3 miles. We did this so we would hike a counter clockwise ameba shape that would bring us back to where we started. To make this work we turned right after about .125 miles and again at about .6 miles. When we found the black top again we stayed on it all the way back. There was one more place where we had to choose between blacktop options and we went right to keep it shorter. There are about 7.5 miles total if you want to do them all.
Deer—We saw dozens! It was like we were on a deer farm. A four pointer was the oldest we saw of the males and there may have been a three year old doe or two. Many of them stopped to pose for us enforcing the rule that you always hike with a camera in hand at the ready.
I saw several reasons for this dense population of deer. The park and surrounding land is a river peninsula with no bridge access so there are few people to scare them off. It is lobe shape parcel of land that is about two miles by three miles with very few houses. To get off this tract the deer would have to cross approximately 250-400 feet of Cumberland River water or get out by land. The land option would be tough for them too because it is only about a mile wide and is covered with houses and streets. These things make it a great place to deer watch.
Christmas Conversation—My Honey and I are coming up on our second Christmas together and I want it to be special for her. So we talked about what Christmas things were important to us and what things weren’t. We talked about how this year would be different from last year and how we could start our own traditions. I shared favorite things from my past and she did the same about hers. A pattern began to emerge for this year that will make doing activities more important than gifts. We will make memories together and these will be our main gifts. (there may be a piece of cold weather gear or two to unwrap…but don’t tell her.)
Pondering Your Path—Is there something you need to talk to your girl about? What about a nice wide trail on the Nashville Greenway where you can walk side by side? Could you dream about the future together while getting some exercise?