Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Years Day Hike

We anticipate doing a lot of hiking during 2012 so, in that regard, we got off to a very good start today with a 6.5 mile hike at Montgomery Bell State Park with the Clarksville chapter of Tennessee Trails Association.  We last hiked with the Clarksville group at Meriwether Lewis on Nov 19.  Several of the hikers who were on that hike were with us today and it was nice to see them again.  The hike we did today was the same hike we had done with our hiking buddy, Herb, on Nov 7th.

Suva, our leader for this hike.
We met the Clarksville group at the Visitor Center at 10 am.  All together there were 21 hikers in our group.  It took several minutes for everyone to get their gear ready, visit the restroom, sign in for the hike, and stow the pot luck lunch in any pack that had extra room.  Of course, there was the customary group photo to be taken.  After about 20 minutes we were finally ready to hit the trial.
Our lunch spot for the day.
Since this was the same hike we had done on Nov 7th, I won’t repeat the description of the trail, but if you missed it then or want to reread that hike, click here.  I’ll cut right to the chase of today’s hike.  It was New Year’s Day, after all, and for several years TTA has had a “pot luck lunch on the trail” hike.  Needless to say, the packs were full.  Some hikers were even carrying backpacks, not the customary day packs for a hike of this length.

We made our way around to the lake which was to be our lunch spot.  There was a little nip in the air and there was a brisk breeze blowing so it was a bit chilly out.  We found a place at the end of the lake which was somewhat sheltered from the wind and in the sun.  Our leader, Suva, spread the “table cloth” and we laid out the feast.  And a feast it was including the shrimp cocktail.

Being New Years Day we naturally had to have black-eyed peas.  This may be a southern tradition; I don’t really know, but all my life we’ve had black-eyed peas on New Years Day.  They’re supposed to bring good luck during the year.  There have been a few years in my life when I didn’t considered myself very lucky even though I ate those peas so I tried doing without them for a few years.  I’m back to eating them now, but only because I like them.  I can’t actually say they bring good luck.  Anyway, we had several pots of peas on the trail today.

The stoves came out to heat those peas.  There were 6 stoves all together and Gene was in his element.  You know how he just loves backpacking stoves.  He made the comment later that he noticed how all the people with alcohol stoves were in a hurry to get to the lunch spot so they could get their stoves lit.  For those of you not backpackers, alcohol is notoriously slow as a heating fuel.
J R Tate, aka Model T
We had a great hike, a fantastic lunch, and a wonderful day.  We really enjoy hiking with the Clarksville group.  They are so much fun to be with.  Among the group, there are several long-distance hikers.  The long-distance hiker is a different character from the day hiker and we enjoy talking to them about trails and gear.  Suva, our leader for today’s hike, has for several years taken a group to do a section of the Appalachian Trail.  That group is within four hundred miles of completing that trail.  Also on our hike today and a member of the Clarksville Chapter was J R Tate, better known in Appalachian Trail circles by his trail name, Model T.  J R has completed 4 thru-hikes and has written a couple books about his experiences on the trail.  It’s always fun to catch up with him and his stories.  And let me just say we proudly carry an alcohol stove made by his hands.

So, I think we got this year off to a very good start--good friends, good food, and a good hike.  That’s all for today.  Thanks for tagging along.


  1. That looks like an amazing hike and the weather was on your side! Happy New Year! May the best of 2011 be the worst of 2012. I love even numbered years!

  2. Great way to start the new year! Have another wonderful year, and we'll look forward to seeing lots of sunshine in your photos!

  3. great way to start the new year!!..we cleaned out a few closets!! the shot of the two of you!..nice smiles!!!

  4. Happy New Year. Sounds like a great way to kick off the new year.

  5. Black eyed peas on New Years Day? Now that's a new one on me! Have fun you two. I'll bring the Absolut.

  6. I absolutely love that picture of you and Gene. It looks just like you. I know that "I'm happy, I'm on a trail" look and you've both got it in that pic!