On a drizzly day not too long ago, I decided to pack up the pup and escape the confines of Knoxville proper. I knew we would both end up a bit soggy. Despite the emotive expressions on Doug's little face, I promise he wasn't miserable. I thought that a day spent trekking in one of my favorite places was a far better fate for both of us than napping all day. I don't usually get to take Doug out for an adventure with just the two of us. Wes was mountain biking all day so I offered to bring Doug along with me.
For those of you who haven't heard me prattle on excessively about my beloved St. Bernard mix, here's the background. Wes and I started dating a few weeks after he adopted Doug. I didn't meet Doug until I drove out to where Wes lives for the first time about a month after we met. We clicked right away. It's totally a thing to have a special, intuitive relationships with dogs. As my relationship with Wes developed, Doug and I also became close. Now, I call him "my puppy" and share the joy and burden of dog ownership gladly. If you follow me on Instagram (@ashlynkittrell), you know that we even took him on our recent vacation to Jekyll Island, Georgia.
As much as I love this dog, it was a pleasure to share one of my favorite places with him. Seven Islands is a delightful little haven about 20 miles outside of Knoxville proper. The Midway Road exit directs you straight to it with wonderful signage on the backroads. The official address is 2809 Kelly Lane. Fortunately, your phone's GPS should do a wonderful job of getting you out there as no cell service is really lost. That's the thing about Seven Islands. You certainly aren't off the grid. But you're in a place of such natural beauty that it feels enough like an escape from urban living.
On our two or three hour walk, I tried to capture some of my favorite parts about the park. It turns into a photographer's misty dream during the winter; however, the very same fields are full of bright yellow wildflowers during the warmer months. The rich browns and oranges of late fall were just as beautiful set against a white sky as the flowers are against one of bright blue.
As a kid, I was obsessed with something that I referred to as simply a spot. A spot was a magical place where everything seemed at peace. For me, it was usually somewhat isolated and always in nature. I know now that I was also seeking out picturesque scenes from an early age. I still believe in the power of places. Seven Islands is one of my spots, but I have grown up enough to want to share it with as many loved ones (including dogs!) as possible.