Monday, April 25, 2011

Hike #7 (Dam Day)

When I heard that Norris Dam was spilling, I knew it was a "must-see" for our boys. Of course, it is also one of those experiences that the parents appreciate much more than the kids. Still, we made the short trip to Norris to see the sight of the dam releasing approx. 7,400 cubic feet per second into the Clinch River. Here is the view from the top of the dam looking down:

Here the guys stand on the opposite side of the dam overlooking beautiful Norris Lake:

From the bottom, you can see where we stood to take the first picture at the top of the dam looking down.

After visiting the dam, we ventured into the state park and discovered a very different dam, a shallow creek we could splash in, and a lovely trail to hike. In the end, Reed's water shoes proved too uncomfortable for hiking, and Dad generously gave him a lift back to the car.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Hike #6 (Birthday Bonus)

On Good Friday we headed to the Smokies with my parents for a double portion: hike #6 and a birthday picnic for Reed. We outdrove the rain which threatened our plans, and we enjoyed a beautiful day at Metcalf Bottoms.

Reed turns nine on Monday, April 25, so we celebrated in the woods with a picnic, some presents, and even cupcakes!

After our lunch, we made the 1.2-mile trek to the schoolhouse. Even BaBa took the hike with us while MiMi enjoyed some R&R beside the creek.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Hike #5

Our fifth hike took us back to the UT Artboretum near Oak Ridge. One of the wonderful benefits of taking these twelve hikes is watching Spring unfold. When we first visited the arboretum, the trees were bare. Today they burst with new life...especially the East Tennessee favorite - dogwoods! Hopefully our photographs bless you with a glimpse of Spring you haven't enjoyed this season.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Hike #4

When the rain came on Friday night, Tim and I were tent camping in Tellico Plains. We woke on Saturday eager to see how the waterfall we'd hiked to on Friday had swelled as a result. Below are pictures of what we found (visit Hike #3 post to recall what it looked like on Friday), as well as some lovely wildflowers we spied on our trek.

Hike #3

This past weekend the elders of our church, and their wives, enjoyed a retreat in Tellico Plains. The cabin we stayed at is situated on 90-acres of private property adjacent to the Cherokee National Forest, so we had plenty of room to roam. The above photograph shows an overhead look at the path of our hike. We journeyed along the creek route into the woods. The fourteen of us crossed this lovely pasture to enter the woods. From there, we followed the trail to a waterfall. It was a lovely hike, and we stopped at the falls for some picture taking. The next part of the hike was much more challenging...and STEEP. Here we ascend the trail (or what Tim, our guide, called a trail. I'm not so sure...). After our less-than-certain but very encouraging guide found the property marker, the whole group let out a collective sigh.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Hike #2

Today we took the short trip to nearby Melton Hill Lake for hike #2. This is one of our favorite spots because it is puppy friendly. Titan exhausted himself quickly in the Spring sunshine.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Something To Think About...

Several times a week I visit Donald Miller's blog, One of my favorite writers, Miller's writing explores the themes of story, faith, and desire. Today's post (click here) is thought provoking, so I wanted to share. Please read it, and don't skip the postscripts.

One of the things that struck me as I read through the responses to Miller's post (yes, I am a "comments" reader) was the number of people who admitted they are not part of an organized church any longer. They express strong opinions and firm declarations that the church that meets within four walls is not for them.

These comments compel me to consider why people leave "church" and why they might not want to return. One of my favorite lines from Miller's post is "Be the church and be united." Simply put; yet, not so simple. I am sad that far too many people have walked away from church because of squabbling, slander, and division (which expose an absence of unity and love).

Miller's post also moves me to consider why I am part of a church - my expectations of its leadership, my understanding of my role as one of its body, and my eagerness or hesitancy (whichever the case may be) to serve, lead, and love.

Just something to think about...

Monday, April 4, 2011


When people find out I have a blog, I quickly make excuses for its condition. "It's a bit schizophrenic" is my usual description. By that I'm referring to the second dictionary definition offered: "a state characterized by the coexistence of contradictory or incompatible elements," not "characterized by emotional blunting, intellectual deterioration, disorganized speech, delusions, and hallucinations" (at least I hope not!).

It seems these days that nearly everyone, including my favorite authors, my church, and my veterinarian, have a blog. And many of the blogs out there are finely focused sites with a clear sense of purpose and a set direction. I have to admit...they make me acutely aware of the meandering path of Tucker Tracks.

However, as tempted as I am to make excuses, I don't want to refine this randomness that is our blog. It is its essence. When I began this blog in 2008, the intent was to follow the journey that our family is on. And it's much like the hike we enjoyed this past Sunday.

We set off on one trail, but when it crossed with another we switched paths to discover what lay ahead. We did this many times, and in the process we stumbled across wildflowers, streams, tree galls, silkworms, a bog, and a meadow. If we had stuck to one path, oh, how much we would have missed!

In our meandering, we had a more complete picture of the beauty of the landscape surrounding us. And hopefully in our meandering here on Tucker Tracks, we impart a fuller picture of the beauty of our life and the journey we are on.

For it is a journey. Each photo shows a glimpse of growth, a little love, and the delight of discovery. Each essay tells about the deeper journey of the heart. So, welcome. Thank you for joining us as we wander in our own way here. We hope that you'll find the incompatible somehow compatible and be blessed.

Hike #1

The Tuckers have a big adventure on the horizon. After ten separate trips to Colorado, Tim and I are heading to the Rocky Mountains together and - best of all - that boys are going too! To prepare for our high-altitude trekking, we've set a lofty goal of a dozen hikes before we depart. This past Sunday was hike #1 at the UT Arboretum in Oak Ridge. Enjoy pictures from our lovely Spring day: