Out in Nature Hiking Bryant Grove Trail

Hubby and I recently returned to a trail we’ve hiked in the past, called the Bryant Grove Trail located in Long Hunter State Park near Nashville, Tennessee.  It’s a good trail if you like solitude while hiking (we do) as it’s very lightly traveled.  This there-and-back trail is an 8 mile hike if you choose to do the entire thing.  It’s four miles in and four back out.  The trail is labeled as a moderate hike but it’s very flat and not difficult at all.  The trail surface changes from dirt, to rocky, to very rocky, which perhaps is why it is given the moderate status.  That and the fact that eight miles is a long hike.

I’m not really sure why the park doesn’t allow pets on this trail.  It’s mostly a wooded path and not many people hike this trail.

We’ve hiked this trail twice.  The first time, we never passed another hiker.  The second time we passed one nice man out for some solo hiking.  We stopped and chatted with him awhile.  Turns out he had done part of  the trail the day before with his daughter and had returned on this particular day to hike the entire 8 miles.  I like Bryant Grove because it’s like doing two different hikes.  Part of it is shaded and goes deep into the woods.  It also goes along the shore of Percy Priest Lake.  It’s peaceful and beautiful and quiet as the trail twists and turns through the woods and there’s a few scattered wooden benches to rest along the way.  We just about always see deer on this part of the trail.  The other part of the trail takes you out in the open, through a not so attractive cedar glade.

the beginning of the trail which is rock-strewn

a young and quite thin spike buck

pregnant doe

Close-up of the pregnant doe.  Isn’t she beautiful?

The trail is nicely marked every half mile with wooden post markers.

Though not plentiful on this trail, the benches are nice, especially if you are hiking the entire 8 miles

There are signs warning that this is not a loop trail, but park rangers say you’d be surprised at the number of people who don’t heed the signs and don’t realize when they get to the end of the four miles, that they must now turn around and hike back another four miles to their vehicle.  Surprise, surprise!!

Off to the right is an old decrepit stone wall with a rickety old barbed wire fence in places.  I read in my book, 60 Hikes within 60 Miles Nashville, that in pre-park days, this area was used for livestock grazing.

The trail meanders by Percy Priest lake.  Occasionally, you will spot a Great Blue Heron wading out in the water.  It’s a very peaceful stretch of the trail.

There’s just something about a trail through the woods… Hubby said I must have hundreds of photos of wooded dirt paths.

Just past the halfway mark or the two mile marker is a wooden bridge that crosses over Bryant Creek.  As you can see, the creek bed was dry due to lack of rain (Never thought I would be saying that after all the torrential rains and flooding we had back in February).

From one side of the bridge, the mostly dry creek bed

Looking down the other direction of the dry creek bed from the bridge.  The last time we did this hike, it was in the fall and the creek was flowing with water.

Are you looking at me? Yes, pretty girl, we are.

We saw several of these black and yellow flat millipedes. They were huge and apparently harmless.  Yes, I googled them.

This is what I mean by the trail being rough in places. Watch your step!

A few scattered daisies. My favorite flower. Love them!

I love the color of lichen.

Towards the end of the trail, we entered the cedar glade.  Not much to see here except a large open rocky area and of course lots of cedar trees.  The soil here is not very rich and not much grows here.  The cacti seem to like it as do the cedar trees.  We saw a few turkey vultures circling overhead when we got to the open glade.  Hope they weren’t looking for exhausted hikers!

We saw this cute little shabby bunny who froze completely still when he saw us.

You can see how very dry the ground is here towards the end of the hike.  Dry, parched, cracked earth.  Kinda makes you thirsty, huh?

At the end of the four miles is Bryant Grove Recreation Area which has restrooms, a picnic area with grills, a swimming beach, and a boat launch.  Rest a while, eat a snack, get hydrated with a nice cool drink, and then turn around and head back out for the return four mile hike.

We took water on the hike but had plenty of this in the car waiting for us when we returned. And I was ready for it.

I will have to say, hiking the entire eight miles wears me out.  Halfway back, hubby and I got pretty tired!  My legs ached and the last two miles were exhausting.  I’ll also mention that when we first did this hike a few years ago in the fall, it was quite littered from where the lake had flooded the woods.  There was lake debris everywhere- plastic bottles, tires, and trash.  It was a little disheartening.  On our most recent hike, it was very clean.


Posted in Animals, deer, Nature | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

The Marcia Trimble Case: A Murder that Took Away a City’s Innocence

I stumbled upon the murdered girl’s grave purely by accident one day while my husband and I were out visiting the graves of relatives at the cemetery.  When I saw it, I felt an involuntary gasp come from my mouth and ice cold shivers went coursing through my entire body.  “Stop the car,” I said to my husband when I saw the Trimble headstone.  I had always known that she was buried at this particular cemetery, but I never knew where.

I knew Marcia Trimble’s case very well as do most people who grew up in Nashville in the 1970s. Her murder case was one of the most notorious unsolved murders in Nashville and went unsolved for 33 years.

It was February 25, 1975, when nine year old Marcia Trimble disappeared from her upscale Green Hills neighborhood in Nashville, Tennessee.  It was dusk just after 5 pm, and dinner was ready and Marcia had told her mother she was going to go deliver Girl Scout cookies to the neighbor across the street.  It was cold outside that night and her mother wanted her to put a coat on, but Marcia assured her she would be right back.  She never returned.

I was a fifteen year old sophomore in high school when Marcia Trimble disappeared and I remember it like it was yesterday.  It was the top news story on every television station for weeks.  I remember the same black and white school photo of Marcia Trimble that was flashed across the TV and newspapers for the next several weeks.  To this day, that picture is seared into my brain and inhabits a permanent place in my mind.

For 33 days, police, the FBI, and thousands of people searched for Marcia Trimble.  I remember the Sunday her body was found (it was Easter Sunday, March 30th).  I remember watching on the news as her body was carried away in a body bag which sat atop a gurney.  No one had wanted this ending. I remember my mother cried when the news broke that Marcia Trimble’s body had been found.  She later would tell me that she remembered all the times her three daughters had also left the house to innocently deliver Girl Scout cookies in the  neighborhood.  She had never feared for her daughters’ safety just as she was sure Marcia Trimble’s mother had not feared for Marcia’s safety.

I remember parents not letting their children play outside after dark when Marica Trimble disappeared and they all kept a tighter rein on their children.  I remember learning (years later) that the police  even bugged the flowers put on little Marcia’s grave, thinking the killer (or killers) might visit her grave and talk.  Suddenly, Nashville didn’t seem so safe anymore.

I remember when many people thought Marcia’s mother was acting oddly, just because she was not the hysterical crying mother when interviewed and shown on TV, but always remained very calm.  Turns out, she had a strong faith and had given it all to God.  She never lost hope and yes, she always believed that Marcia would be found, but found alive.  There was always a lot of talk of how the Trimble neighborhood became a media circus, how the police set up a command post in Mr. and Mrs. Trimble’s master bedroom, and how port-o-potties were put up in the neighborhood.  I remember how they talked about the constant drone of helicopters overhead.  I lived 15-16 miles from where Marcia Trimble lived and it was a terrifying time.  I can’t even begin to imagine what the people who lived in the Trimble neighborhood had to endure.  Their lives were never the same after young Marcia Trimble didn’t come home that night.

Marcia Trimble’s body was found on Easter Sunday, 33 days from the time she disappeared.  She was found in a neighbor’s backyard garage– a white wooden, dilapidated, unattached, open garage which was rarely used.  The garage was badly cluttered and her body was found by a visiting family member of the homeowner who had gone out to the garage in search of something.  Her body was partially hidden under a shower curtain and a child’s wading pool and at first he thought it was a doll.  There were Girl Scout cookies scattered around, but her cookie money was gone.  This garage, which was only about 150 yards from the Trimble house, had been searched.  Was her body not there when it was searched?  Some investigators were adamant and said it wasn’t there.  Other investigators said her body was hidden among the clutter all along and was simply missed.  Despite it being 33 days, her body was not badly decomposed. The temperature outside had been very cold.  An autopsy showed Marcia had been strangled and had sustained a broken hyoid bone.  She had also been sexually assaulted.  She was fully clothed when found but semen was found on her shirt, pants, and in her vagina (but not her underwear).  There was no sign of forcible rape and her hymen remained intact.  Police suspected a juvenile male was the perpetrator and they also felt it was someone Marcia knew.  They also suspected her murder had been accidental.  They later arrested a 15 year old neighborhood boy who fit the profile but later dropped the charges due to lack of evidence.

Nashville Police Captain Mickey Miller said of the case:

In that moment Nashville lost its innocence.  Our city has never been, and never will be the same again. Every man, woman and child knew that if something that horrific could happen to that little girl, it could happen to anyone.

There was speculation by some that Marcia had been murdered somewhere else and later brought to the garage.  Other officials felt that she had been sexually assaulted elsewhere and then lured into the garage and murdered there (which would explain her being fully clothed when found).  Forensic evidence all pointed to Marcia having been killed in the garage and probably killed the same night she disappeared.  By the dirt on her shoes, it appeared she had walked into the garage on her own two feet and was not dragged.

Some investigators believed that there was semen found on Marcia from at least three different male individuals.  Others believed that there was only one suspect’s semen present.  The semen that had been collected from Marcia’s clothes and body had not been preserved well.  This was 1975 and DNA testing was very new and not as sophisticated as it is today.

In 2008, Jerome Sydney Barrett was arrested for the murder of Marcia Trimble.  DNA evidence from the scene linked him to the crime after he was involved in another rape and murder in the same area around the same time that Marcia Trimble was murdered.

As for me, I think there are too many unanswered questions to this case.  Much of it remains a mystery.  Several years ago, while driving some back roads to a doctor’s appointment in Green Hills, I came across Estes Rd. and immediately recognized the white house in whose backyard Marcia Trimble was found.  I ended up driving down Copeland drive through Marcia’s neighborhood which they say is much the same today.  It was eerily quiet and an uneasy feeling came over me as I drove along her old street.  I imagined what it must have been like that long ago February night in 1975 when all the portable light towers started going up and the army of reporters and police invaded that calm, quiet, neighborhood.  Most of the neighbors left the neighborhood.  Marcia’s father has since passed away and her mother has remarried and moved away.  The old dilapidated shed where Marcia’s body was found was torn down many years ago.

The Nashville Scene did a two-part article on the Marcia Trimble murder case that provides a lot more details about the case.  If you would like to read more about it, here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2.

Gail  ♥

Posted in Death, Memories, Tragedy | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Backyard Visitor

Yesterday, while standing in the kitchen getting ready to cook dinner, hubby walked up to the sink to wash his hands.  A minute later, I noticed him straining to see something out the kitchen window.  Finally, he said, “Is that a snake I see out there or a stick on the ground?”  Straining to see past the deck railing, I replied, “It’s probably a limb that fell on the ground from the strong breezes we had yesterday.”  It wasn’t moving.

I call my husband Eagle-eyes.  He can see so much better than I can and I’m the one with corrective lenses.  Finally he said, “Well, I think it’s a snake.  You wanna go check it out with me?”  So out we go, and sure enough, old Eagle-eyes had spotted a 2 1/2 foot long black rat snake (or chicken snake as we call them here in the south).  He wasn’t the least bit bothered by us and didn’t move.




I had trouble getting a good picture of him as the camera wanted to focus on the grass instead.  As you can see, the ground is very dry here and the moles are doing a number on our yard.  I informed, “Did you know rat snakes will also eat moles?”  Hubby raised his eyebrows and said, “Well, he can have at ’em then!”  We walked back inside to cook dinner and a few minutes later, watched as Mr. Rat snake slithered away from our view from the kitchen window.


Posted in Animals, Nature, Snakes | Tagged , | 7 Comments

Sunday Glory


Friends love through all kinds of weather,
and families stick together in all kinds of trouble. Proverbs 17:17 (MSG)


Posted in Sunday Glory | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Seasons of the Heart- John Denver

I always loved this song by John Denver.  Today was a hard day and an emotional day for me and so it wasn’t hard to just let the tears just roll down my cheeks when I heard this beautiful song playing today.

Were you a John Denver fan?

Seasons of the Heart

Of course we have our differences, you shouldn’t be surprised.
It’s as natural as changes in the seasons and the skies.
Sometimes we grow together, sometimes we drift apart,
a wiser man than I might know the seasons of the heart.

And I’m walking here beside you in the early evening chill.
a thing we’ve always loved to do, I know we always will.
We have so much in common, so many things we share,
that I can’t believe my heart when it implies that you’re not there.
Love is why I came here in the first place, love is now the reason I must go.
Love is all I ever hoped to find here, love is still the only dream I know.

So I don’t know how to tell you, it’s difficult to say.
I never in my wildest dreams imagined it this way.
But sometimes I just don’t know you, there’s a stranger in our home.
When I’m lying right beside you is when I’m most alone.

And I think my heart is broken, there’s an emptiness inside.
So many things I’ve longed for have so often been denied.
Still I wouldn’t try to change you, there’s no one that’s to blame.
It’s just some things that mean so much and we just don’t feel the same.
Love is why I came here in the first place, love is now the reason I must go.
Love is all I ever hoped to find here, love is still the only dream I know.
True love is still the only dream I know.


Posted in Love, Music | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Ozone Falls


Hubby and I recently visited the beautiful Ozone Falls in Rockwood, Tennessee (near Crossville, Tennessee).  Ozone falls is a 43-acre natural area.  The falls plunge 110 feet below into a greenish-blue rock pool.  Hubby and I went with the intention of doing some hiking but once we got there, we discovered there really wasn’t much hiking to do.  But oh, those falls!!


Ozone falls state natural area (2)

Ozone Falls is one of those hidden gems in Tennessee that I never knew was there despite living in Tennessee for 59 years, nearly my entire life!  The falls are just off of Interstate 40 and a quick walk from the parking area (which is not actually a parking lot but just a small pull-off area from the highway).  You can view the falls from above (careful as it’s all natural meaning NO fences, so if you have children, beware) and then if you so desire and are brave, you can climb down the steep rugged boulder-covered path to view the falls from below.  The day we visited, there were only about six other people there but hubby and I were the only ones to climb down below to the gorge area and I will say that it was very much worth it!  Some of the others (most on motorcycles) were revisiting the falls and had climbed to the bottom on previous visits.  We were glad we brought walking sticks and wore appropriate footwear!

we were grateful for having worn these when we saw the steep rock climb we had to make down to the bottom of the falls!

Did you know that Disney chose Ozone falls to film some of their scenes from the movie Jungle Book?  It was filmed in 1994.  The famous cliff scene was filmed at the top of Ozone falls.  Here’s a clip.

Some views from the top of the falls:

at the top where the cliff scene from the movie Jungle Book was filmed

Why oh why do people feel the need to leave graffiti??????

Now it’s time for the climb down to see the falls from below.  There’s no real “trail” to get to the gorge, just rocks and boulders.  It’s pretty steep in places and rugged but doable.  These are the rocks we climbed down  to get to the gorge.  And yes, we watched out for snakes!

The view from below was so beautiful!  The temperature drops quite a few degrees as you descend downward.  It was in the mid 70s outside and there was just a slight spray from the mist but it was cool and refreshing.  Tennessee summers get very hot and humid and so usually in the summer, you’ll see people swimming in the swimming hole.  It didn’t look too deep but it wasn’t quite warm enough the day we were there to do any swimming.  Hubby and I sat on a boulder down from the falls and just enjoyed the peacefulness and the roar of the falls.  I felt like I was in another world.  I could have sat on that boulder admiring the magnificent view or reading a book for hours!  The air felt so clean and clear down below.  The amount of water you will see going over the falls depends on rainfall.  It had rained a couple of days before we were there so there was a good amount of water compared to other pictures I’ve viewed.

The boulder you see in the lower right hand corner is where we sat and admired the view of the falls.

Our view from the boulder



view looking behind the boulder

In all honesty, we were somewhat dreading the climb back up, but surprisingly, it was much easier climbing back up the boulder strewn path than it was going down.  And we stopped along the way to admire the scenery.


I think this was called “Gambler’s Den”

It was an enjoyable day and we had a good day at Ozone falls.  I will definitely go back.  I love waterfalls…. they are good for the soul!


Posted in Beauty, Nature | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Virtual Coffee #6


If we were having coffee today, I’d let you know that I’ve missed you since I stepped away for a month-long blogging break.  It’s good to step away for these little breaks every now and then.  And though I didn’t blog myself, I still made visits to most of my favorite blogs.  And already I see that there are changes in WordPress since I’ve last posted.  For one, the toggle for spellcheck is gone and that’s certainly not good (for me anyway).  Why is it we become so resistant to change the older we get? I should probably invest in a newer edition of WordPress for Dummies.  I have to confess that after almost nine years of blogging, I still have no clue as to what I’m actually doing. 

WordPress for Dummies

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that I honestly sat and cried last week when I read this blog post  by Michelle DeRusha the other day.  I’ve said it before, but her blog is one of my absolute favorite blogs and her writing is so brutally heartfelt and honest.  I just love her writing.  I identified with this post so much and have the utmost respect for her for sharing it because I too, thought I had chosen the perfect career, my dream career, that I had wanted since I was seven years old and worked many long and hard years to attain.  But after just a few short years into it, I realized it was NOT the career for me.  And experiencing a career death and the loss of a lifelong dream is EVERY bit as difficult as going through the death of a loved one.  The grief is hard.  I can vouch for that.  I’ve never found the courage to blog about it.  So yes, I loved this post.  And then today, she followed up with this post which once again brought tears spilling down my cheeks.  I hope Michelle never quits writing because she is so very good at it.

If we were having coffee today, I’d probably rave on and on about a book I just finished reading.  I’m more of a non-fiction reader but occasionally will read fiction, especially if it comes highly recommended.  And this historical fiction book did.


From the back cover:

This richly imagined novel, set in Hawai’i more than a century ago, is an extraordinary epic of a little-known time and place—and a deeply moving testament to the resiliency of the human spirit.

Rachel Kalama, a spirited seven-year-old Hawaiian girl, dreams of visiting far-off lands like her father, a merchant seaman. Then one day a rose-colored mark appears on her skin, and those dreams are stolen from her. Taken from her home and family, Rachel is sent to Kalaupapa, the quarantined leprosy settlement on the island of Moloka’i. Here her life is supposed to end—but instead she discovers it is only just beginning.

The author just released a sequel to this book in February so I’ve seen some renewed interest in this book which was written in 2003.  I. Loved. This. Book.  I’ll have to admit, I knew nothing about leprosy (other than reading about Jesus healing lepers in the Bible and some about it from an old episode of  Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman back in the 90s) but learned a lot about it after reading this book.  I had no idea leprosy was even still around (it is and it’s now called Hansen’s disease).  The loneliness, isolation and the shame people with this disease experienced was just horrific!  This book is full of action and it was one that was hard putting down at night.  I think I felt every emotion known to man while reading it.  I can’t wait to read the sequel!

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you my heart nearly broke yesterday morning  when my youngest son called me and told me he and his wife had just had to have their beloved little dog put to sleep.  They were sitting outside in the parking lot of the vet clinic when he called.  When I heard that twenty-six-year-old boy of mine break down and cry and heard muffled sounds of his wife’s sobs in the background, this momma just wanted to jump right through the phone, take them in my arms, and hold them both close.  Missy, who was a little 10 lb. dachshund/shih tzu mix, had only just turned two years old.  She was a sweet, loving little dog who was always so eager to please.  But she developed severe skin and health problems from a very early age.  They spent a lot of time during her short little life taking her for vet visits and to veterinary dermatologists.  She was tested for everything under the sun and skin biopsies finally showed she had a rare genetic inflammatory skin disease.  There was no cure.  They were told they would have to use oral and topical medications and treatments for her lifetime which they were very willing to do and did.  Her medical care was intensive.  Recently, she got a severe MRSA infection and her little immune system just couldn’t handle it.  After spending Sunday at a pet emergency clinic, they had to have that very difficult conversation that as pet owners we all dread having.  When Missy’s regular vet saw her yesterday morning, she agreed that it was time.  I’d appreciate prayers for my son and daughter-in-law as they go down this very hard road of grief.  It’s tough.  Missy was loved so very much.


Excuse the quality of this photo but this is Missy last fall after one of her surgeries for a greatly enlarged Lymph node in her neck.  She developed a large seroma after the surgery.

I am 100% convinced that she is happy and healthy now and she’s running and playing in the glory of heaven today and she’s with her creator.  And though she’ll be missed here, she’s no longer suffering.

If we were having coffee today, I’d tell you that my husband and I have decided that even though we’ve lived all our lives in the great state of Tennessee, that we haven’t seen near enough of it.  Tennessee really is an incredibly beautiful state with a lot of diversity.  There’s rolling green hills, the stunning Smoky Mountains, beautiful rivers and lakes, and waterfalls galore.  Yes, there’s lovely things to see right here where we live and so we’re seeing it!  We’re doing some hikes and visiting state parks and waterfalls.  I’ll blog about some of our adventures.

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Well, thanks for having coffee with me today.  Let’s do it again real soon!


Posted in Virtual Coffee | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments