another week, another hike: bell’s bend park

we truly are trying to keep up the routine of taking one hike per week. this week, we decided to go on sunday rather than monday because the forecast for the week includes heat advisories with tempertures and humidity levels extremely high and dangerous for outdoor activities.
we took a week off from the garden (demo garden work sessions are on sundays) and packed some water bottles into a cooler and headed over to bells bend. this is one of the newest parks in the metro park system. it was donated to the city by the beaman family and it is former farm land that is being allowed to return to its natural state. unfortunately, for us anyway, that meant there would be little if any shade on the walk. another caution to fellow hikers, this is not a walk for little kids, anyone with health issues or those with a complete lack of direction-there are absolutely no markers of any kind on the trails! you must download the map from the metro parks website and bring it with you-the copies available at the trail head are very poor quality and all one shade of grey making it difficult to see the different paths clearly. as for the trail condition, it is very good-mostly level with few if any inclines/declines but it is not paved and could be difficult for pushing strollers so leave the kids home and use this time to meditate. the other point, it is on the northwest outskirts of the city which made it a longer drive for us-22 miles each way.
we parked at the trail head which is located in a separate entrance from the beaman nature center. there is not a lot of parking available and that suggests to us that not many people come here. our car was the only one in the lot when we arrived and when we left. one interesting note, there are a group of students from UT and Uof arizona on an archealogical dig here and they have a campsite near the trailhead. as we wandered up the trail, this was the first view, looking towards the river.
what the trail looks like, it is grassy in some parts and gravel in others.
bikes are not allowed and skates cannot navigate here so it is best left to walkers and runners.
milkweed pods on the trail
yellow wild flowers
ironweed in full bloom, we saw lots of it along the trails
part of the trail runs alongside the cumberland river
lots of butterflies to watch. buckeye butterly having a drink
the view, similar from the start to the end
almost back to the start, the campground is located by the barn in this picture
native passion flowers
and their fruits

the last part of the trail as we head back out to the car. it was way too hot for this trail today! we may come back but definitely not in the summer unless it is cloudy and cool.
frost weed, butterflies love it and we saw many sipping nectar on them. no luck getting a good photo-they are just too quick!
elderberries at the nature center
on our way out, we drove to the nature center to see if it was open and to find a schedule of events. they have very limited hours, tuesday, thursday and saturday and not too many events. they do have a nice rest room though!

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