My job doesn’t really lend itself to meeting new people (I’m stuck in a cubicle most of the time), so I decided to join a Meetup group for hikers. The first hike I did with the group was Bells Bend Park, a park in Tennessee outside of Ashland City. There was a wide variety of people who signed up for the hike, including parents with their children, some middle-aged women with their dogs, younger singles (like me), etc. There were also a couple of people who I could tell had never hiked before, ever. There was one guy in his 20s who showed up at the last minute in a white polo and loafers with no water, for a 6 mile hike. He dropped out and headed back to the parking lot before the halfway point.
The hike ended up being a lot muddier than anyone predicted, including the organizer. It had rained several days prior, but between the shade and the cooler-than-normal weather, the mud was still ever-present. By the end, all of us were covered in mud from the waist down and our shoes and socks were soaked through.
I must say, I’m really glad I did this park as a group because the trails are not marked well. There was a lot of walking through large fields and then later trails that intersected each other with no signs as to which way to go. If I had hiked this myself, there’s no doubt in my mind that I would’ve gotten so incredibly lost.
The best part of the hike was the brief part where we followed the river. We took a brief break at that point to wait for the stragglers to catch up and just relaxed while watching the water.