“You don’t know what you miss until it is gone,” does not tell the whole story. For your consideration I put forth, “You don’t always know what you miss until you rediscover it.
Last Sunday sitting on an overlook on the Laurel Trial I realized how perfect the moment felt. I was in one of my favorite places, South Cumberland State Park. It was a beautiful fall day and I was with my sister, a friend and my pup Jolene. All felt right in the world. In that moment, like being hit with a spit ball, I realized how much I had missed feeding my soul by hiking. I had found what I was deeply missing.
One of the positives of the COVID-19 pandemic is the time I have been able to spend outdoors with family, friends and my dog. This fall I have hiked more than I have in the last three years. The sun and time outdoors has fed my soul and safe, distanced time with others has deepened friendships.
Laurel Trail: South Cumberland State Park
My favorite place to hike is on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee. The closest access point for me is South Cumberland State Park. This park is unique in that it is connection, there are nine areas of the park with 30,845 acres.
The Laurel Trail begins at the Stone Door Ranger Station and is 5.5 mile walk through the woods with several overlooks into the gorge.
While South Cumberland has many areas with strenuous climbs out of the gorge, this was a moderate hike and perfect for taking in the fall foliage on a warm Sunday afternoon.
The trail does not include Laurel Falls, but they are just under 400 feet from the Ranger Station. Walking to and from the falls is the most strenuous part of the hike.
It is highly advisable to arrive as early as possible as the parking lot will fill. The big overlooks closest to the parking lot are very popular.
*Lyrics from Big Yellow Taxi, Joni Mitchell