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How About a Shady Walk?

May 26, 2015  |  Permalink

Summer is here and the outdoors and adventure is calling. It seems like a shame to stay inside when the sun is shining. Our parks are offering many activities for you if you can come outside. You can join a group at a program or go for a leisurely walk, whatever you do, get outside.

A walk in the sun seems wonderful now with the cool temperatures we have had. But soon the temperatures and humidity will go up. That is when I look for a shady spot to be outdoors. Sure, you could go inside to air conditioning but that is an artificial world. Being outside most of the time will get you acclimatized and it does not seem as hot. If you find some air conditioned places too cool in the summer, you may be acclimatized. I like to cool off in the air conditioning occasionally too, but I would rather be outside. So on those hot summer days I plan to slip into the shade and maybe sip my lemonade, or how about a shady walk thru the woods. The temperature goes down 10 to 15 degrees, I have been told, when you go into the shade from the bright sun. Fortunately, most of our trails in state parks have shade from a forest.

There is a trail at Big Ridge State Park that has a name that implies it might have more than average shade, the Dark Hollow Trail. I recently walked the trail and found it indeed has an abundance of shade and I recommend it for a sunny summer day. To get to the Dark Hollow Trail you must first walk the Lake Trail or the Big Valley Trail. The combination of the three trails forms an excellent loop of about 5+ miles. For the maximum of shade I recommend taking the Lake Trail and doing the first mile of the Dark Hollow up to where it starts a steep climb. You can then walk back thru the wonderful cool shade to the lake. Parking for this hike is across from the Old Gristmill. 

About the author

Tennessee State Naturalist Randy Hedgepath is a native of west Tennessee, where his family’s farm was just 15 miles from the Tennessee River. After graduating from UT Martin and working seasonally for several years for the National Park Service and Tennessee State Parks, he has spent the last 33 years with state parks. Randy worked as a ranger/naturalist at South Cumberland State Park on the Cumberland Plateau and at Radnor Lake Natural Area in Nashville until 2007 when he was given the opportunity to be the statewide naturalist for the state park system.