Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Long Hunter State Park

on the Volunteer Loop Trail at Long Hunter State Park in Hermitage, TN
I had the day off yesterday, and since it was such a beautiful day, I wanted to check out one of many middle TN hiking trails! I called my good friend, LaToya (LaToya Tramill), and we decided to go on a little longer hike, since we had the day to play...
We chose the Loop Trail at Long Hunter State Park in Hermitage, TN.

I knew this day would come, and that my old tennis shoes would
not work...I needed HIKING shoes!
Merrell MOAB Ventilator Mid

I went to REI, which is huge outdoors store here in Nashville. I figured, if I'm going to buy outdoor shoes, this would be the best place to learn about them. As soon as I walked into the store, a child-like excitement came over me. I had no clue yet what was in store for me during this hiking/backpacking adventure I'm embarking on, and I had no clue what gear/clothing I would eventually need to get, but I wanted to buy everything! I was like a kid in a candy store!

I contained my excitement, to stay on task, and walked straight back to the shoe area. Ok...lots to choose from! Thankfully, an employee came to my rescue. I explained to him that I needed boots, but had no clue where to begin. He wanted to know what my plans were for hiking...was I going on trails, rocks, overnight, etc. Well, gosh, I wasn't exactly sure yet, but knew I was out for some adventures, so I told him I wanted something somewhat in the middle....good for almost anything - at least right now. I also liked the idea of high-tops, to give me some extra ankle support. So he brought out 2 different kinds. One was kind of stiff, which I knew was necessary, but didn't think my feet would like them for too long. I decided on the Merrells. He also informed me that I would need wool socks...so when trying to find the right size, he gave me a pair of wool socks to use. Ok, so obviously they have to fit. BUT you also don't want your toes to touch the front when going downhill. Well, wouldn't ya know it - they had a fake rock you could stand on, pointing downhill, to try out the boots! It was a perfect fit! It was probably the quickest sale this guy has ever made. I know I could have done a ton of research, looked into different stores, online, etc., but I believe in listening to those who know, from their experience, and then forming your own as you go along....So these boots would be a good place to start. The one thing these boots are not, is waterproof. But I'm not planning on braving the weather too much and hiking in the rain...at least for now....

Ok...got my boots, and my GPS to find the state park...I'm ready!! I made sure I had something to eat ahead of time, and had a bottle of water...and my camera, of course!

LaToya and I easily found the park, followed the signs to the trails, and found a parking lot. We decided to make one last pit stop in the bathroom, and check out the map of the park - to find exactly where our trail begins. They had a few trails...some were "loop" trails - where you end up back where you started, while others are a straight shot from point A to point B. There's actually even a camping area, with trails leading off of it. I'm excited to go back and camp here! It's a very pretty state park...

posted at the info center.....yikes!!!
Here is a sign that was posted at the info/map area...I wasn't too sure what to expect on the trail, so I tried not to think about these critters too much!!

The trail we wanted to go on, which I found at AllTrails.com, was the Loop Trail. It's approx. 4 miles long, and supposedly would take us about 2 hours. (Pets are allowed on this trail.) It's considered a "moderate" trail. Seeing as how my last hike was an "easy" trail, I was ready to see what one calls a "moderate" trail..and try out my new boots!

So, in order to get to our trail, we had to get back in our cars, and drive out the front of the state park, to another location down the road...

The trail started off pretty flat and easy. I was feeling pretty good - I thought, wow, this is "moderate"?? But as time went on, we did have to climb a little, on some rocks, making sure to watch our steps. It was a beautiful day, beautiful trail...some in the woods, some near the water (Percy Priest Lake), and during parts of the trail, we were on a cliff high above the water. It was a perfect day for this! I wore jeans and a t-shirt, with a light long sleeve shirt underneath, in case it got chilly in the woods. I also wore a hoodie around my waist - again, just to have in case it got cold. But I definitely didn't need to worry about getting cold. It was a warm day, plus we were working up a little sweat!

So the hike took us about 2 1/2 hours. We stopped at times at the water, or to take pictures. My 20oz. bottle of water was enough for me, at least for that hike. Part of me was scared to drink too much water - I wasn't about to squat in the woods when nature called! As for the "moderate" trail - I was happy to realize that it was not too hard for me to do. I got a little out of breath, but really nothing big at all. I'm curious to see what a "high" level trail is like!

Below are a few highlight pics from the trail, again, using my iPhone camera. At times, I just used the regular phone camera, and other times I used the Hipstamatic app and Retro Camera app. There are also a few pictures that I took with the regular phone camera, and then edited with an app, to bring out certain colors, etc. Again, the whole editing process can be so much fun!! Not only do you have a cool picture to begin with, but you can make it into something even better! I can't wait to get a "real" professional camera!

Fall colors!
Mini frog!
check out how the only part of this pic that is in focus, is LaToya...pretty cool!

And here is a slideshow of the rest of my pics from our hike...(from my Picasa Web Albums)
We had a great time, and I think I've gotten LaToya interested in hiking as well!!!
It's really a peaceful feeling to get away from the world for a little...

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Just a quick update....
As a Capricorn, I need to plan, at least a little...So, after some surfing on the web, I've come up with a basic plan to further my adventures. 
Here are a few sites I've found that I will now start using to find info, trails, etc...for not only hiking, but camping, backpacking, canoeing, rock climbing, and more!

And wiith my new hiking shoes, I'm ready to GO!

AllTrails.com - a great overall site for info, finding trails, etc. There is also an iPhone app - which I will definitely be using!

TheClymb.com  - more info on trails, gear, and even travel guides - in the US, Europe, and beyond, using LonelyPlanet (may use this for my Europe trip!!!)

LocalHikes.com - trails in your local area!

DiscoverTNTrails - for those in the TN area

These are only a few sites I've found....but there are tons of sites out there with info that can help...

I'll keep you updated on my next hike. I've already picked out a few trails...and will begin hiking longer trails, along with camping, etc. I have to get SOME in before this cold TN weather comes in!!

Keep on trekking....

Monday, October 10, 2011


With the day off from work, I decided to go out for my first hike. It was a beautiful day here in Nashville, and took the opportunity to go to Fontanel...in Whites Creek...just around the corner form my house. There was no one else on the trail, so I took my time...and lots of pics! Here is what I learned:

It was a 2-mile trail. This should have taken me about a half hour. But instead, took about an hour and a half..due to my needing to snap some pictures of the beautiful nature! I found that I'm not as out of shape as I thought - which was a great relief - with some hills and all. I definitely need to get hiking shoes. My old sneakers did not enjoy the walk as much as I did. Besides that, the 2 things I completely forgot to bring was water and bug spray. Note to self: these are very necessary! Ok, so I'm an amateur...now I know for the next hike! Other than that, it was a great day, with beautiful scenery! Fontanel also has a Disc Golf Course that I would love to come back and try - even though I'm awful at throwing a frisbee. But anyone who is in the Nashville area, should definitely come out here...for a walk, tour, disc golf, food, or music. Check it out at The Fontanel Mansion. Time to "step-it-up" for the next hike....

Below is a slideshow of a TON of pictures I took. I realized, as I went along, that the more you start really looking at the details, the more details jump out at you. In the beginning, it was just about getting a "cool" shot. Then I became obsessed with the lighting. Then it became the contrasts in colors. Then it was the different textures and shapes of nature. So, now I realize I have alot to work on...and become better at capturing many of these in one shot. The time-consuming part was editing them. I end up taking a lot more than I actually use, because you never know exactly how the picture will turn out.

I used, mainly, my Hipstamatic app on my iPhone. I do have many other apps which I like, and will show their uses in another post.  But for those of you who have the iPhone, I highly recommend it. I've added captions of the exact film and lens used for each picture, in case you're curious. The only problem with this app, is you can't zoom...or at least, I haven't figured out how to zoom lol! The other problem is that I have 8 different films, 9 different lenses, and 7 different flashes. I didn't use any flashes because 1) I was outside, so I figured it wouldn't work and 2) I already had sooo many options, it was hurting my brain by the end, trying to decide which combo to use. It seems I have found a few favorites...the John S, Lucifer and Libatique lenses, and the Kodot, BlacKeys SuperGrain and Pistil film. But, even after saying all of that...there were still so many combinations that come out really well. And many times, whether the shot will come out as you think, depends on the lighting. So, the pics I've added to the slideshow I thought stood out, or had some cool feel/look to them. I guess that's how a photographer decides on which shots are best! lol  I've also decided that I REALLY want a REAL camera. The iPhone camera and apps are fun, but I know there is soooo much more I could do with real lenses, zooming, etc...(I'll need to take a class to find out all the other options...lol). Enjoy, and keep shooting....cause you never know when you'll get that great shot!! (These pictures, along with others I've started taking, can also be found at: My Picasa Web Album)
(Also, if you'd like to vote for one of my prints, you can do so here - and thank you in advanced!: The Big Hipstamatic Show Contest)

Around Nashville...

Here are some pics I took around Nashville....

Sunday, October 2, 2011

First attempt..

Here is my first attempt at photography, using the Hipstamatic iPhone app 
(just one of soooo many fun camera apps!) 

Saricorn Photography

I've started playing around with photography....
Though have only begun with a small camera and my iPhone camera, (there are so many fun apps!),
I will be upgrading to a professional camera.
Here is where I'll be posting my attempts at photography...

More to come soon!

Team Green

I will be tracking my experience here, as I learn about
hiking boots, tents, trail safety and more....
One thing I've decided to do to assist me in learning about all
this outdoorsy-stuff, is to join Team Green here in Nashville!
They offer all kinds of activities, from hiking to rock climbing, 
to canoeing and more!

Stay tuned for my adventures...

For those in the Nashville area, check out this site...
It is also a great source for finding ways to live healthier and
become more environmentally conscious...