As the last vestiges of warm weather disappeared this past weekend, we decided to take advantage of the opportunity and get outside. With the tensions of this week mounting, it seemed like a good time to look at recreational activities, not legal actions.
Here in Tennessee, it’s time to start pulling those warmer, woolier clothes out of storage and get ready for the gray skies and cooler temperatures of fall and the crazy weather swings that are our normal winter. After all, a beautiful late fall day shouldn’t be squandered wondering about what might happen. It was a day to enjoy what was- not worry about what might be.
That’s written with my apologies to all our friends in the middle of the country who saw their warm weather buried under a coat of ice last week. But the mess a half inch of ice leaves behind pretty much dictates where your time will be spent. Some of you are still dealing with hurricane season and the monsoons that come along with the wind.
But there’s no doubt, our leaves are, well, leaving. It’s not a catastrophe, but it’s not a sign of fun times ahead.
With an RV, even a small one (above), it’s possible to travel and maintain a lot of social distancing. Walking in the woods along the Natchez Trace (below) qualifies as recreation and therapy.
There’s no recommendation too strong for the therapeutic value of taking day trips away from the internet, television and the superheated rhetoric of the final push to a presidential election.
We needed the quiet.
Since we’re fairly new to our area, we decided a historical drive would be fun. We loved driving, hiking and staying along the Appalachian Trail when we lived in east Tennessee. With that in mind, we decided to take a day trip down the Natchez Trace, the 440-mile long historic trail (trace) that runs from near Nashville all the way down to Natchez, Mississippi.
Knowing we weren’t out for anything more than a daylong break, we decided to simply head south and see how far we got.
If you haven’t traveled with no itinerary in some time, you should try it. With no place to be and no time to get there, we had the opportunity to stop and check out everything from historic overlooks to paths leading to waterfalls, actual pieces of the old Trace trails, and all at a very relaxing pace.
If you’re out to see how far you can go in a set amount of time, this trip might not be for you. We drove just over 100 miles down the trail, and only once did the speed limit get above 40mph. If you’re driving an RV, it’s just about the perfect speed to drive and do a little bit of rubbernecking. If you’ve ever battled an RV in gusty winds, you also realize those slower speeds translate to a far more restful experience.
Seems we’re not the only people realizing the outside is good for your inside. In fact, a new National Recreation and Park Association poll says three in four U.S. adults say outdoors will continue to be important to them this fall and winter.
After all, outdoor places allow you to more safely gather. Parks, picnic areas, campgrounds, and even pavilions in our state parks have been booked and busy as the winter weather’s held off longer than normal.
As the NRPA poll points out, more than half of adults today say access to outdoor amenities - like local parks- during fall and winter are extremely or very important. That’s true for people of all ages, but parents, Gen Xero and millennials are most likely to view fall and winter access to outdoor amenities as important.
I’m outside those groups anymore (unless grand attaches to parents), but I know our family members have used the outdoors as a substitute for everything from schools to health clubs.
As I’ve written before, get outside. It’s good for your inside.