A restful fountain in Springbrook Park on Maryville-Alcoa Greenway
After having left work today stressed and a little bit beaten up by a drama queen trying to stir up trouble, I sorely needed some serious unwind time. I found my respite during what has become a weekly Wednesday evening bike ride with my husband. Our venue of choice tonight was the Maryville-Alcoa Greenway. When we first arrived and parked the truck at the duck pond near the park, we were awestruck by the number of mallards on the pond. There must have been 50 or 60 females and young green heads on the water. The odd thing was I didn't see one mature green head. But It was relaxing to watch them skim effortlessly across the water or to fly around a bit, then cup their wings and drift onto the surface of the water with such flair.
After watching for a few minutes we mounted our bikes and entered the greenway. This trail is a wide, probably 8-foot in most places, paved asphalt trail with only a few minor grade changes. The path gently twists and turns, following for quite a ways along a creek, meandering through woods and wetlands, crossing some nicely maintained bridges, and finally taking a break at another small body of water in downtown Maryville populated by another group of ducks and geese. The trail goes on beyond this spot, but we turned around here. I've only been on the other end of this greenway one time before and that was with a couple who are very familiar with the greenway. I remember it being more difficult to find and follow after that point, so tonight we turned back. I hope to ride it again on Saturday with another friend who will want to do more miles, so we may try the other end then. Tonight however, we began at Springbrook Park and rode about 10 miles along the greenway to downtown Maryville, around some side trails, and back to the truck.
I don't know what it is about biking, but it is one of my favorite activities when I've had a stress-filled day. Nothing relaxes me quite as thoroughly as cruising along on my Cannondale Quick, especially when surrounded by beautiful scenery like that found on the greenways here in Knoxville and Alcoa. I do wish that the powers that be would approve and build enough greenways so that you could ride 15-20 miles at a time without having to travel the narrow and heavily trafficked roads of this area. Riding on the road still makes me nervous, although I am beginning to do a little more if it. I much prefer the greenways, complete with their green grass fields; wildlife such as birds, rabbits, and squirrels; and stream crossings. To me, that is the perfect recipe for stress relief--stress relief of the greenway kind!