Last Saturday, June 18th, 2011 I took my mom, dad and younger sister, Carly, hiking on a 1.8-mile loop trail that they had never seen before. In fact, they had never even heard of it until I told them about my first hike there with some friends one weekend in May (my eco-explorer "practice run," at Leslie's suggestion.) So why is it worth mentioning that my family didn't know this trail existed? Because this particular trail is only a 30 minute drive from the house we have lived in for 10 years. The Cheeks Bend Bluff View Trail is secluded, diverse, extremely beautiful and (most importantly) located in Columbia, TN!
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The trail difficultly was easy, suitable for beginners and families with children or more experienced hikers looking for a quick, gorgeous trip with some neat views of the river.
Here's a quick clip of our grand entrance into the trail and introductions:
After some thorough sign-reading by Dad, we were on our way and goofing off as usual. Here's a series of short clips that summarize the silliness. Hopefully, you'll get a peek at the trail as well as a laugh or two.
The trail's terrain shifts along the way from wide-open and rocky with lots of shrubs, brush, and some cacti to dense green woods and a narrow, earthy path outlined by waist-high grasses and some truly massive deciduous trees. The best overlooks are marked by huge, moss-covered boulders, many of which dangle out far over the bluffs. During our hike, we saw a deer, a frog, a lizard, several cool insects, and a multitude of different plant species. Halfway through, I convinced my family to take a break and have a short "confessional" on a big fallen tree. Here we are, sharing our thoughts on the experience so far:
I'm only sharing the following clip at the insistence of my family. Please feel free to enjoy my naivety and humiliation:
I had no clue my dad was secretly filming me. Don't you love the way I blindly followed my mom's obvious prompts? It just goes to show you how mesmerized I was by that fantastic fungus. Hey, at least I got the shot:
The Cheeks Bend Bluff View Trail in Yanahli makes for a wonderful hour-long escape from civilization and should be enjoyable to nature lovers of all shapes, ages and sizes. It deserves to be seen, but certainly not exploited. I encourage everyone to take the time to check it out. But please, help maintain this nearly pristine piece of natural beauty. Leave nothing but footprints behind. Natives of Maury County will be amazed that they've never before visited this trail.
Thanks for reading. Please keep an eye out for my next Eco-Explorer post. (And happy trails!)