Hikers walk off Thanksgiving pounds, learn about park at Sycamore Shoals

After a holiday dedicated to eating and revelry, many people might want to go outside and find a way to burn off the consequences of the previous day’s festivities. Sycamore Shoals State Park had a solution.

A group of 24 participants came to the Sycamore Shoals State Park Friday morning to take a hike through the park’s trails.

Chad Bogart, a curatorial assistant at the museum, said the hike is part of a yearly program.

“All 56 state parks do this,” Bogart said.

He said every park adds their own flair to the event, meant to encourage the community to learn more about their historic parks.

“David Crockett is doing a black powder shoot alongside theirs,” he said.

Ranger Jason David led hikers around the local trails, telling them about the history of the park and the significance of the area.

“Many people hear ‘hike’ and think it is going to be rugged,” Bogart said. “David calls it a ‘casual stroll’ more than anything.”

Sycamore Shoals named this year’s walk “Walking in Frontier Friendships.” The walk is one of five specials hikes the parks organize throughout the year. Among them are the “First Hike,” set to be the first hike visitors go on for the new year.

“Some parks even do theirs at the stroke of midnight,” Bogart said.

Friday’s hike will be the last of 2018, after their September hike.

Bogart said January’s new year hike always takes place at the Carter Mansion.

“It is more a tour of the mansion that an actual hike,” he said. “We tour the mansion and talk about the old New Year’s traditions of the 1800s.”

He said David even dresses up in 18th-century clothing for the occasion.

There were 24 slots for people to register for this event, and Bogart said they all filled up quickly.

“I think people are looking for something else to do after Thanksgiving, other than shopping,” Bogart said. “They want to get outside.”

He said this weekend’s hike was one of many ways the community can get involved with the park. In December there is the Christmas Wreath exhibition and Christmas at the Carter Mansion this following weekend.

“There is a lot to see and do at the park,” Bogart said. “Bring your visiting family and come visit us.”

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