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931 Running Red 2014-05-23


graveled section of the trail leading to bushes

This morning I went to Percy Warner Park (Nashville) for a short run. I wanted to take a few photographs so what better excuse could I have than going for a run.

I ran the Mossy Ridge (red blazed) Trail. It was a good day to be on the trail and there were quite a few other hikers and runners making their rounds. I stopped and talked to some hikers as I ran. Runners seem to be in too big of a hurry to talk, but when I am running I am always looking for an excuse to stop!

Lots of hikers use the Park for training. Today was no exception as hikers climbed in the heat carrying heavy looking backpacks. I asked a couple of groups about their adventures. They proudly told me of their plans as I listened with jealous ears.

The Park has spread gravel to hopefully ease erosion damage to the trail. The graveled sections of trail had basically become muddy drainages. Laying the gravel hid the ruts and mud, but the loose rocks formed a mini-screefield strip. (In the mountains scree is the small rocks, usually less than fist size. Fields of the stones make for footing nightmares to inexperienced travelers.) Hikers and runners in the Park must have the same fears with the gravel as neophyte mountaineers have with screefields because 'avoidance paths' have formed adjacent to each graveled section. I have never seen anyone walk on the gravel. They all walk on the avoidance paths.

The sections of the trail that were graveled are no longer rutted and muddy. One of the problems with muddy trails is the formation of the avoidance paths. Instead of getting their footwear wet and muddy, hikers and runners, seek dryer ground. Instead of eliminating the avoidance paths, the thick gravel has also pushed users from the trail. Perhaps the Park could plant the oh-so-common poison ivy on both sides of the graveled trail to keep users on the straight and narrow. No, but users have to use common sense and stay on the trail.

I saw another unexpected problem with the graveled section of trail today. As I was coming down the trail off Tornado Road (a section of the trail), I crossed the road and started up the gravel road toward Indian Springs picnic area. A small car was in front of me. It stopped and started backing toward me. It then stopped and turned onto the gravel section of the trail and slowly drove up the trail. His windows were down in the vehicle so he heard me when I yelled, "that's not a road!"

He stopped and said, "it looks like a road." He was very nice and even apologetic.

I had to agree with him, the graveled trail looked like a road. It was almost as wide as a road and there were no signs or barriers indicating its use. If he had continued up the 'road'/trail another 100 feet or so he would have found out for himself that it was really a trail. I suggested to him to continue down the road to Indian Springs, a very nice picnic area.

Finally, near the end of the loop, I saw a walker having trouble with her dog. I stopped and talked to her. The young dog just wanted to chase everything. The pooch was in time out when I arrived. She had a choke chain to help control the medium sized dog. I told her about just a few of the many problems we had in training Jake Jr. and that our winning solution was the Gentle Leader (a special harness). It might not work for every dog, but it did for ours. The pup was still in time out as I left and returned to the trailhead.

What a good day on the trails.

Happy Warner trails


Link to Mossy Ridge Trail


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