One week near Chattanooga

A week outside Chattanooga. My brother had been told Chattanooga had a reputation as a tough town, but I have seen no reason. There are indications of poverty.

I ate out a couple times, my favorite and only recommendation: Purple Daisy Picnic Café where I had the pork sandwich, and a cup of pork and some beans. $10 with drink.

Walks/Hikes: First a no-name trail, near where I’m staying. There were two ways up, the easy way following blazes or the side trail which was a track with many rocks and roots, fallen trees, etc. I went up that way for about 45 minutes before coming back down.

Next day, Glen Falls, a 2-mile arc starting from the roadside, down 250 feet to the falls, back up to the roadside in 1 mile, then turn around a repeat for your 2 miles and 500 feet about an hour. It rained Tuesday,  so I took a day off.

Rested, I took on the 1100 foot in 1.8 miles ascent of Lookout Mountain, starting at the Kiddie Trail up to Sunset Rock, then turn around and back down. The Kiddie Trail was in part more brook than trail and I got nicked by some thorns before deciding to just stomp through the water. I stopped many times to commune with nature, that is, wait for my breath to catch up. It was my first real hike since Montana. The view from Sunset Rock is impressive, the city laid out below, country and hills beyond.

Emboldened, I followed the 10-mile Bluff Trail, 1,200 feet, which is very easy apart from the .6 mile 600 foot climb at the turnaround point. I made really good time 4.3 miles in 1:45 or about 2.5 miles an hour, including stops for pictures and to look around. That .6 section up and down took almost 40 minutes – a doleful 1.6 miles an hour going up – slope does matter. On the way back, I stopped to explore crevices and promontories and to chat with rock climbers. I was alone almost the entire day, until the last mile and half back when work and school let out. Ended up taking almost 5 hours. Got some tips on good hikes in the area. I use the All Trails app, but find it best to supplement with the opinions of local hikers.

Starting the Bluff Trail, I had to smile, at meeting the stereotypical expert hiker asking me if I had enough water and such. I know the type well, having been that guy myself many times. Perhaps it was my new hiking outfit, a bright blue thin wool hiking shirt and crisp still-has-the-crease hiking pants. If he had looked at my shoes, worn well through Maine, Ohio, Alabama, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Michigan, more and they’re not worn out yet – I like my Lowa hiking shoes. ….. Or, if he had looked at my beat-up hiking poles. He meant well. He was concerned for my well-being so I was polite. Thanks, but yes, I did have enough water and so forth.

I enjoyed the Bluff Trail very much. It reminded me of so many places along the Appalachian Trail below the ridge line, arcing down from a high spot of hard rock down and into the mountain where softer eroded and back up to hard rock again. I finally got my trail mojo on the Bluff Trail. During the climb to Sunset rock, I hadn’t gotten into the rhythm of hiking, uncertain of my footing. On Bluff Trail, whether longer, or less steep, I began to pay less attention to my feet, picking out placement paces ahead, building speed as I hiked, breathing more easily, seeing more, enjoying the hike more.

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