Ever since arriving in Knoxville, I’ve mostly been taking it easy, catching up on work, exercising at the hotel gym, and otherwise just relaxing.
While in the city, I wanted to go see the Sunsphere Tower, but apparently that is closed right now. Knoxville also has a zoo, but I’ve already been to a bunch of zoos in the past year or so and wasn’t really in the mood; there’s also an art museum, but I just went to a really big art museum in Indianapolis and also wasn’t too interested in that at the moment either.
Instead, I decided to go on some nature adventures. I haven’t had a chance to go hiking lately ever since leaving the West, considering how flat the Midwest is, but the terrain here is much more dynamic as I approach the Appalachian Mountains. I looked up some trails of moderate difficulty and selected House Mountain as my first trip.
There are two initial impressions that I had upon arriving. The first is that it was a lot rockier than I thought it would be—there were a lot of large boulders laying around, and the path was littered with smaller rocks. The second is that I really appreciated how foresty it was and how many trees were tightly wrapping the trail—this blocked out a lot of the sun and made the hike much more comfortable.
House Mountain had a strange layout. Usually when you’re hiking a mountain, the summit is all the way at the edge of the path, and is the highest point in elevation. For House Mountain, the main summit appeared to be towards the middle of the trail, where I was able to get a nice, sweeping view of the north.
There was also a secondary summit, also somewhat in the middle of the trail. This one was actually a bit difficult to find, because this one involved walking away from the main path a bit and going on a side path that wasn’t obvious on the satellite imagery from Google Maps.
Apart from that, the far edges of the trail weren’t really that interesting—there were so many trees that it was impossible to get a nice view from the northeastern-most or western lookout points.
According to information I found online, it appears like I hiked a total of about four miles, with an overall elevation gain of 1,017 feet.
A few days later, I went on a significantly easier trail, the Concord Quarry Trail on Calloway Ridge. This one had a less clear-cut path and was instead a bunch of winding loops that interconnected.
I started off by going on the southern loop that had a nice view of of the Fort Loudoun Lake, which I wasn’t able to see from elsewhere on the trail due to the dense forest.
On the loop back in, I also came across this small lake near the entrance of the west trails.
Apart from that, the rest of the trail was fairly straightforward. The length of all the trails (if you go on all the paths and do all the loops) was right around 3 miles, with a total elevation gain of 262 feet.
During my hike, I saw a sign that said “Rocky Point” was approaching. I thought this would be a high point where I’d be able to take in a nice view, but was disappointed when I realized it just pointed to a dead end.
I later found out that the sign was technically right, but wasn’t very useful—it was pointing towards the general direction of Rocky Point Park, but there was no feasible way to get from the sign to Rocky Point without going through dense forest and crossing a street. If I had known this beforehand, I would’ve made a stop at the park to see the northeastern sound of Fort Loudoun Lake.
And with that, I wrap up my week in Knoxville. This was probably the least eventful city I’ve visited, but it wasn’t bad, and I also appreciated how visually nice Tennessee is.
My next destination will be Charlotte, North Carolina. When I first drove through the Virgin River Gorge and other mountain ranges in the West for the first time, I was impressed by the scenery. I will be cutting through the Appalachian Mountains on my way to North Carolina, so I’m very much looking forward to being hugged by tall mountains again during my drive, but this time by mountains that will be much greener.