Mountain Goats and Trails.

Today, the much-anticipated Mountain Goat Trail pedal (where, ironically, I saw no mountain goats). I’ve been wanting to do this since I first read about the MGT, and even though the trail is nowhere near complete, it was a great. Of course, Mother Nature thumbed her nose at me again, with freezing temperatures and sleet up on the plateau – but still, an awesome pedal. There’s only a 5ish mile segment opened between Monteagle and Sewanee right now; when it’s complete, it’ll be almost 40 miles one-way, from Cowan (west of Sewanee) to Palmer (east of Tracy City/Gruetli-Laager). Of course I’ll be riding that.

FTG (following the gym; I might as well start abbreviating that), I loaded up the bike for the first Jeep-cycling adventure, despite it obviously being much, much colder than the prognosticators forecasted. No biggie – I’ve ridden in cold before. However, because of the heavy rain on Saturday, I decided to stop at Foster Falls first, because it’s right on the way.


It did not disappoint.

After that, on to Monteagle, also on the Cumberland Plateau – so, yeah, the elevation was not going to bring any warmer weather. About 30 degrees when I headed out to explore the town. It’s a small town, with not much to see, especially on a cold, sleety day. I’m sure in warmer weather, it’s more interesting. After about 6 miles in the town, I hit the MGT, and headed for the University of the South in Sewanee, a little over 5 miles away.

the Mountain Goat Trail - click for larger

the Mountain Goat Trail – click for larger

The trail is great. Paved, reasonably flat, winding through woods and crossing roads several times. After the quick ride down the trail, a spin up to the University in search of coffee (success!) and compelling scenery, in the form of an old cemetery. I love old cemeteries, and this one was as interesting as the State Line Cemetery I visited on the TGA paddle. Headstones dating back to the 19th century, with loads of history. I’ll need to go back on a warmer day and explore more.

Following the ride back to the trailhead in Monteagle – you guessed it – shopping. Conveniently, Mountain Outfitters is located right at the trailhead. Surprisingly, I bought nothing – not even shoes – but it’s good to know there is a great outfitter near what will be many future adventures.

Hines Pond - click for larger

Hines Pond – click for larger

After reloading everything, a little scouting for future adventures. There are several parks and trailheads along the mountain highway back to Tracy City. I suspect I’ll be visiting this area quite often over the winter, and when I get my new tires and wheels installed on the Jeep (ETA, Wednesday!), I’ll be able to explore the more remote areas. This is what it’s all about – I’m going to be able to go on adventures I thought were out of reach.

On a side note, the bike rack on the Jeep did great. I was a little nervous about strapping my expensive MTB to the back of the Jeep, especially for a pretty long drive through the mountains. It did really well, though – money well spent. Yeah, I’m sure I could pull the front wheel off and stuff the thing in the back, but that just seems like a hassle. I haven’t mentioned this, but in addition to the back seats folding down (probably the only action they’ll ever see)(!), the front passenger seat also folds flat, so I can carry a decent amount of stuff, if I need to. The bike carrier itself is capable of holding two bikes, but I’ve only installed the hardware to carry one, because, hi, have we met?

As always, a map (and the Master Adventure Map has been updated):

click for larger, or Endomondo data or Movescount data

click for larger, or Endomondo data or Movescount data

Because of the cold weather, Endomondo was spotty on recording the trek (30-degree temps, plus the phone strapped to the front of the bike equals a wind chill of probably between 0 and 10 degrees), and I forgot to start the Suunto watch for Movescount until about a mile and a half in – but I still got a good map, and that’s what matters.

700-days-sm
In other fitness-related news, despite the cold weather and rain on Saturday, I hit my 700th consecutive day making all my numbers on the AppleWatch (and my 100th week hitting all the goals). No one is more surprised than I am – not so much that I’ve hit my numbers for 700 straight days, but that I haven’t lost the watch, forgot to charge it, forgot to put it on, whatever. So, about 30 more days, and that’ll be 2 straight years. The next badge isn’t until 1000 days (not consecutive; just total – but I’m going to shoot for consecutive); I should hit that sometime next July. Plus, I hit 42 million steps on my Fitbit today, so there’s that.

So, despite Saturday being a complete washout, Sunday more than made up for it. Mother Nature may smack me around and try to kill me to death from time-to-time, but not enough to keep me pinned to the sofa. Life’s too short for that. Y’know?

Link:
Mountain Goat Trail Photo Album on Facebook