Labor Day weekend started with a day hike and ended with the much anticipated Nickajack Lake kayak outing. I was blissfully exhausted when I returned to work on Monday morning.
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Saturday Day Hike
I went on a day hike with the Chattanooga Chapter of Trail Dames. This is a nice bunch of women that like to get outdoors at least once a month. Saturday was their family-friendly hike at Big Soddy Creek Gulf. The hike itself was pleasant and short, to accommodate children.
The park has interesting history and scenic views. It runs parallel to Big Soddy Creek. Bonus: because there was access to the creek, I was able to test my new water filter. The trail in is a flat gravel road. There are picnic tables, places to swim, sandy beaches, and boulders for the kids to play on. It is a dog-friendly park. Its only downfall is no restrooms.
I recommend this park for a short hike. The main trail is 1.2 miles one way, so you will not be out on the trail for long. It is great for an after work getaway in the evening.
Labor Day Kayaking
Because I am still in the market for a kayak, I wanted to try out a paddleboard to see if I should consider a Kaku Kahuna. So my initial destination was Chester Frost Park in Hixson, TN to rent a paddleboard from Rock Creek Rentals and Outpost for an hour. I was in for surprise; they were closed for the holiday. Yes, I said closed. This left me with dilemma of where to hang out for the day.
I used my phone to search for another outfitter that would have something available at the last minute. The first place that looked appealing was Canoe Kayak Chattanooga. Billy, who owns the place, was very polite and accommodating. He rents kayaks for $35 for the entire day, which is what Rock Creek charges for one hour. So, I did not get to try out a paddleboard, but I did get to stay out on the water all afternoon in a kayak. I highly recommend this outfitter; he has the best prices in southeast Tennessee.
Canoe Kayak Chattanooga is located off Mullins Cove Road in Whitwell. It is situated on an island with an interesting land bridge on the way in. There is a restroom with a clean toilet, a picnic table, a grill, and a cabin on the property. They also rent out canoes, John boats, and pontoon boats.
It was a super fun paddle around the Tennessee River Gorge, also known as Nickajack Lake. The paddle included visits by osprey, bass, spotted gar, cormorants, and blue heron. I found a number of otter dens, but was not fortunate enough to see the otters themselves. This trip was so much fun that I ended up doing a 7 mile paddle.
The After Party
When it was time to leave, a quick check of traffic showed an accident on I-24. I decided to drive back via highway 27, which is Suck Creek Road on the other side of the Powells Crossroads. No self-respecting hiker could pass up Signal Point Trail on Suck Creek. I did a short hike because it was getting close to dark. I will definitely come back here for a full hike at some point. It is breathtaking.
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In conclusion, if you are looking for a good hike, visit Big Soddy Creek Gulf or Signal Point Trail. Do yourself and your wallet a favor and visit Canoe Kayak Chattanooga if you need to rent a kayak.