However, I still felt like I just had not taken the time I needed to decompress from the crazy workload I had seen during December and early January. So, when I checked the extended forecast last week I saw that right in the middle of a lengthy cold streak we were to have a beautiful, sunny, and warm day. So, I asked my manager if I could have a little decompression time. Thankfully, he agreed that I could use the time, and I began to try and decide what to do. At that time I contacted Buzz to see if he was interested in either going fishing, squirrel hunting, or hiking. TVA apparently hates us as of late, as all tailwaters were blown out. Ironically Buzz has been wanting to try some trails out at a nearby state park that I have always overlooked, so we both agreed that Frozen Head State Park in the Cumberland Mountains of East TN is where we should go.
Upon arrival at the park we discovered the ranger station was closed during lunch hours, so we took a look at the somewhat simplified map outside and selected a trail. The trail we chose was the South Old Mac Trail that lead up to the top of the mountain and an overlook tower. Total distance rountrip was 7.2 miles with an elevation gain of 2,100 ft (which we didn't know until afterward). A little bit more than I would typically choose for my first hiking trip after several months of downtime, but Buzz provided motivation to push on in a timely manner.
|The Hike In|
|Trail is lined with sandstone shelves like this|
This is a park that I intend to visit again in the near future, and am seriously considering bringing my son here for either a car camping trip or his first overnight backpacking trip. There are multiple backcountry sites, anywhere from 1/2 mile to several miles from the parking lot.
Below are some pictures from this nice little day hike that my legs are still recovering from.
|Stopping for our first water break|
|Another of the ever-present ledges|
|This one had massive icicles, up to 4' long|
|Tub Springs Backcountry Campground at the top of the mountain|
|The view from the top|