After grabbing my bike I rode for only a short while on what I knew was an easy trail and soon propped it upright against a tree so that I could walk and wander and take more pictures.
Everything about this place was a blast from the past.
Flashbacks of previous visits alone.
Of biking and running this area with a prospective female team-mate early in my adventure racing career.
We did race once together which ended up being a huge mistake because the team dynamics turned out to be all wrong.
Of biking and running with two other previous female team-mates. We trained mostly as fun experiences since we all enjoyed each others' company.
They were both 13 years younger than me and in a different life stage than I was. They were raising small children and I was in better shape than they were. We raced together for only one year and trained together for a few years after that.
Of walking with LC while setting up still one more white and orange orienteering flag in preparation for a navigation training.
Everything about the base - everywhere I went today brought me back to so many different experiences.
It is an area rich in recreational opportunities, training opportunities and opportunities to be alone in a very beautiful place.
One Christmas Day years ago when I was in the middle of my divorce both of my boys were gone.
Chris was in basic training in San Antonio Texas and Sean - newly engaged - had understandably elected to spend Christmas with his fiance and her family since things were so tense at home.
I came out to the base on that freezing cold but dry Christmas Day and ran for a few hours in the sanctuary and solice of the base.
I did not follow my 7 mile loop on that day.
Instead I simply let my feet take me where they wanted to go, and they wanted to go without constraints.
I ran trails both familiar and not as familiar.
Trails well groomed and trails completely covered with leaves and branches and larger tree limbs.
Fire service roads and horse trails and jeep trails.
And when I was finally done I drove to Winchester to see if any restaurants were open on this holiday because I was starving.
A Chinese restaurant was open and I ate Chinese food on Christmas Day.
And was very surprised just how many people - both Asian and Caucasian - choose to eat Chinese food on Christmas Day.....................
One last picture of the UTSI campus................
I have no idea what this is, but noticed it for the very first time today...............
A second interesting object that I noticed for the first time today.
As I was heading away from the campus and heading towards a Boy Scout campground on base I found this.
A yellow ribbon tied around a tree stump along with a small and faded metal American flag.................
The last time I was here a couple of years ago they were in the process of building new cabins and picnic shelters for the Boy Scouts to replace the dilapidated old buildings that had been in place for many years.
As I pulled off one of the paved roads and began a slow downhill ride towards the water and new buildings I stopped for a moment to take this picture.
As I was stashing my camera back into the side pocket of my shorts I heard a vehicle behind me.
I turned to acknowledge the vehicle and saw that it was the base police.
Where did HE come from?
As he pulled the cruiser on to the grass on my right side I turned to greet him, giving him my friendliest "I'm just a woman taking pictures for a blog, not a terrorist taking pictures of military installations" smile.
As he pulled up to me he smiled broadly and told me that he was sorry if he had ruined my picture.
And then still smiling asked me where I was from.
Briefly I told him of returning to Tullahoma, friends who wanted to see pictures of where I trained, having a blog.
He smiled at me again and told me that I could drive right down to the water if I wanted to.
I continued to smile my friendly smile to this easy-on-the-eyes military cop, thanked him and continued riding.
He turned and headed up the gravel road and then disappeared....................
LC's favorite fishing cove...............
There were many times when I would run or bike on the trails and then run across the road to meet up with my Mountain Boy in this place.
He would inevitably hear me coming and inevitably would turn and smile a welcome to me.
We would eat sandwiches and drink Diet Cokes and I would sit and watch him catch fish. Or not catch fish.
Scenes near and far taken from this cove..............
I walk down the hill towards the dock and see the water glisten in the sun. I set foot on to the dock and move to the edge. I sit there for a minuet taking in the sight. Its calm and inviting like an old friend I haven't seen in years. I think of all the joyous times I've had in this place, when things were simpler, and not as hectic, when life had joy in it. I kneel at the back of the dock breathing in and out slowly the anticipation building rapidly. I gaze out as if the answer to all my problems was lost somewhere in that deep dark water. Suddenly I'm up running to the edge of the dock. When I get there I leap off, and time seems to slow. I feel the wind against my face and for a moment I am weightless and feel as though I'm flying. I close my eyes right before I hit the water head first, and all my problems, worries and troubles seem to leave me at the surface. I stay under water, stroking rapidly, enjoying the feel of being completely submerged. Then I hit the surface swimming as hard and as fast as I can away from what bothers me. I swim like I used to when I was young. I swim as far as I can. Then I stop and float there for a minuet. Then I look back and see how far it is to the dock. I float half way on my back. Then I start swimming again and finally pull myself back on the dock. I lay there gasping for air. I'm out of breath, my legs and arms are sore and I'm thirsty, but for some reason I feel refreshed. I look out at the waters one more time and bid The Lake fair well till I come to visit my old friend again. I turn and head up the hill ready to face my problems and worries again