The day began cold and very cloudy, but I made it to Johnsonville State Park at 8 a.m., and was soon hiking The Civil War Fort Trail. And, except for the guy grinding tree stumps (there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of downed trees in the state parks this year thanks to the extreme winter), it was actually quiet. I even managed to startle a few White Tail deer, and the trail was pleasant with lots of views of the Tennessee River below. Even better, it ended with a pleasant ramble alongside the river.

Cannon protecting any approach from the Tennessee River.

Cannon protecting any approach from the Tennessee River.

I made it to Montgomery Bell State Park about lunchtime, and was pleased to spot a trail right away. The sun was now occasionally peeking out from behind the clouds, which made for a much better hike. As it was a one-way trail, I looked for the Ore Pit Loop because I don’t prefer having to backtrack a trail. I found it tucked away at the end of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church shrine area. I know, one doesn’t usually associate the Presbyterian church with shrines, but this area is in honor of the founders, who established the church there on February 4, 1810. The chapel was built in 1960. By the time, I finished the loop, it was warm enough (about 60º) to be hiking without my windbreaker/raincoat.

Rémy enjoying the partial sun (and Spring Beauties) outside the Presbyterian Church.

Rémy enjoying the partial sun (and Spring Beauties) outside the Presbyterian Church.

It’s still cloudy with a chance of rain and thunderstorms, and it’s still going to get down to 39º tonight, but that should all disappear by tomorrow and be sunny for the first time on this trip–with a nearly balmy high of 64º. But we’ll see. We all know how often forecasts are correct.

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