Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Radnor Lake State Natural Area

Today was a beautiful clear sky day with temperatures in the low 70s--a perfect day for a short hike.  We are very fortunate in Nashville to have a fairly extensive greenway system as well as several parks which have hiking trails.  Our destination for today was Radnor Lake.

Radnor Lake was built about 1914 by the Louisville and Nashville Railroad Company to supply water for their steam engines.  After the demise of the steam engine, the lake was no longer needed by the railroad.  During the 1970s, area residents started a campaign to “save the lake”.  State and local governments got involved and this was the beginning of Tennessee’s first State Natural Area.

This 85 acre park is really just a walkers park.  Being a Natural Area, there is no fishing in the lake and the surrounding wetlands and forest are too fragile to allow playgrounds or picnic areas.  There are several trails which meander through the woods, over the ridges, and around the lake.  Each winter, there are collections places around town for discarded Christmas trees.  These trees are shredded and the huge pile of mulched bark and pine needles are shared by several parks, Radnor being one.  These hiking trails in spring are a soft cushion of evergreen bark with the aroma of a northwestern forest.  The hiker may also see the occasional bit of tinsel that was left on the holiday tree.  Because there is no jogging or bicycling allowed on the trails, Radnor Lake has become a tiny sanctuary for walkers and hikers who seek the peace and quiet of a woods walk.  It is also a popular place for bird watchers.  Shortly after the lake was made, the birds discovered its existence and started stopping by on their migratory journeys.

The street which was once a busy thoroughfare for those wanting to cut across from Franklin Road to Granny White Pike has been permanently closed to traffic.  This stretch of road is now used by joggers, mom’s pushing baby strollers, and those walkers who prefer asphalt to dirt trails.

On our 5 mile hike today we climbed both ridges in the park which gave our hearts a little workout.  We saw 11 deer and heard the resident owl.  We were actually surprised at the number of people in the park today.  We didn’t expect to have the place to ourselves, but we also didn’t expect the parking lot to be full.  Then again, it was a great day to be out for a walk.

Tomorrow, we are having lunch with one of our good hiking buddies and will take the opportunity to stop by REI while we are on that side of town.

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