60 Hikes: Cheeks Bend

Most major cities have travel books published about them, one type of book is the 60 Hikes within 60 Miles series. Many larger cities have them and they highlight 60 hikes within a 60 mile radius of that city….so it’s pretty aptly named. Having recently purchased the Nashville version, I’ve decided to write about this experience of going through this book of hikes so people bored with my nature obsession don’t have to be subjected to my ramblings.

Side note: I use the Every Trail iPhone app to track my trips. This is great, and i reccomend it to any iPhone owner and hiker. It tracks the length, time, elevation, and speed of my hike and allows me to take pictures of the hike and plots them on the map. 

Today I went way out to the Duck River Natural Habitat Area to hike the Cheeks Bend Bluff View Trail. This is probably the most rustic trail that I have yet to hike…no facilities (water, restrooms) at the trailhead, a one mile gravel road entrance, no park to contain the trail….just a path in the woods….marked with blue blazes. It was kind of creepy, honestly, and although I’m big on my hiking independence….I probably should have had a buddy for this one.

It had beautiful overview of the Duck River and at the high points I could see the rolling hills reaching all the way to Alabama (okay, probably not….but it felt like it). It was mostly giant rocks bleached by the sun, which gave the trail an ethereal presence, it was almost as if the sun and the rocks were having a staring contest….and the rocks were winning. The giant rocks tended to require giant steps, which I quickly fell into the rhythm of taking, but at first I struggled with the breadth of my stride. Falling into a rhythm is one reason that I love hiking (and that’s probably my marching band training coming out); but it is so relaxing to be in nature, in tune with your own step and path, and free to let your mind wander. My mind seemed to snap out of this rhythm and I would look up for the blazes and see that I was about to follow a water run-off path, and not the actual path…it’s nice to be aware of this mental flow of information without having to consciously thinking about it. photo9.jpg Photo

At the end of some hikes I know that I cannot wait to get a chance to get back out there and tackle it again and some are just nice to check off my hiking to-do list and be grateful for the experience. Cheeks Bend was an interesting experience, but more than likely I will leave that hike for the professional nature nerds. 

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