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Hiking at Cumberland Mt SP, TN

9 Apr 10: T'was a beautiful day on the Cumberland Plateau to enjoy a hike. It's great to be back far enough north to find some woods, hills, rocks and streams to wander among. Cumberland Mountain SP offers about 15 miles of hiking trails. Today, while staying at the park campground, we followed the three mile Pioneer Trail around the lake.

 cumbmt19 The Pioneer Trail begins behind the Park Office, which is located near the bridge and dam that create Byrd Lake. The dam was built by the CCC and is the largest masonry structure ever built by the CCC. 
 The trail follows along the shore of the lake. A trail crew needs to get out on the trail to clean up numerous blow-downs which one has to clamber over or under. cumbmt21 
 cumbmt22  We found a couple of mallards sunning on a log.
 As the lake narrows nearer its up-stream end, we find rock outcroppings and distant white flowering trees.  cumbmt25
cumbmt27   Another rock outcropping with a small stream coming over the rocks down to the lake.
 At one point the trail is almost in a tunnel under the mountain laurel. cumbmt28 
 cumbmt30  Another fascinating outcrop with a huge pine tree on its top edge.
 Halfway along the trail is this suspension foot-bridge across the stream. If one wants a longer hike with an additional 3 miles, don't cross the bridge; instead continue upstream. Eventually the trail will loop back and join up with the shorter loop at the other end of the bridge.  cumbmt35
 cumbmt40 Yours truly. 
 Yet more rocks along the river.  cumbmt41
cumbmt43   Blossoming trees along the river.
 10 Apr 10: Another gorgeous day at Cumberland Mountain SP in Tennessee - bright blue sky and comfortable temperature. So off we went for our second hike through the woods. This time we followed the Byrd Creek Trail, which is about a 2 1/2 mile loop down one side of the creek and back up the other side. cumbmt49 
 cumbmt51  Most of the way the creek is a lazy stream with rather clear water.
 Stretching across the path was this old split root with some little flowers growing in it.  cumbmt50
cumbmt52   This little bridge crossing a brook feeding into Byrd Creek was built by Lee Suydam as his Eagle Scout project.
 In our two days of hiking this was the biggest obstacle we encountered.  cumbmt53
cumbmt54   In a few spots one finds the water gently splashly down over the rocks.
 The trail ends back at the stone dam and Mill Lodge.  cumbmt56