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When we first moved into our beautiful home at the hill, we knew we wanted the extra land that was formerly attached, making our land ownership at 18 acres. Little did we know it would actually happen.

It’s happening.

When things start out like a crazy dream and then develop into reality it can be quite a magical, trippy situation. We are in the middle of that trippy situation: dreams are materializing right before our eyes.

We have the start to our trail system. Mountain biking trails, hiking trails, dirt bike trails. Trails that will allow people to come, shred down our hills and come out smiling.

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This past weekend, with the amazing help and support of my parents, my brother, his wife (also avid mountain bikers) and amazing two nephews, we built the first trail which has been named “Maiden Voyage.” (I have had this silly love of all things pirate for quite some time now and the name fits.)

Granted, it currently clocks in at a grand total distance of 0.15 miles, but it’s a trail. And Sunday, we are took our bikes out and rode it. It’s too steep in some parts, which is going to require some sweet berm building to follow.

Saturday morning, my brother, his boys and his beautiful wife came over at 10, and in 20 degree weather, we all got to work. JJ and I relearned the skill of mapmaking, breaking out a clinometer, compass and our latitude and longitude knowledge to mark the final two points on our land that meander down a hill. My nephews dutifully followed us, armed with safety goggles, rosebush trimmers, and an array of magnifying glasses, flashlights and chapsticks. We mapped the points and then dropped the boys off to play by the fire pit, and barn that houses a chicken coop and a loft with a firepole to slide down…they remained playing there for the remainder of the day.

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JJ and I then worked on trailblazing “Maiden Voyage” which Chad wanted to start from the top of the driveway, follow in parallel, and then slalom into the woods below.

Meanwhile…

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Ben and Chad utilized this sucker to recreate a road that had been present on our property 40 years ago. The previous, previous owner of our home had bulldozed a trail down into a pasture for horses, bikes, trucks, etc. Ben and Chad recreated that trail in a day. The remnants of the trail were there, but it was so overgrown, that a bobcat was just the trick.

Ben and Chad worked so hard and so long and did so much, that we all walked the trail that evening, playing in the open pasture below.

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All of this continued the next day, where we continued “Maiden Voyage,” with the help from my parents, who arrived midmorning. My dad, armed with a chainsaw, hacked out most of the large trees, while mom and I lopped the smaller ones over and talked the magic 10 degree angle of slope needed for a perfect mountain biking trail.

All the while, this dream is coming to a reality before my eyes and I am finding it quite surreal.

The life I am living is more than I could ever have imagined. The partner I have is more than I could ever imagined. The house we own is more than I could ever have imagined.

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I want to open our land and our home for others. I have grand visions of people riding bikes in our woods, working in gardens, eating in our kitchen, playing with alpacas, learning nature survival, and even occasionally hunting to keep the wildlife numbers at bay. I would love to put a school of sorts on our property that teaches students through being outdoors; I do feel nature is one of the best teachers…this is another adventure for another day perhaps…or perhaps it is simply an asking of a question: Is it possible in South Knoxville to do this?

If you build it…will they will come?

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