Clear the Way- Trail Building 101

Clear the Way- Trail Building 101

Have you ever thought about how a trail is actually created? When I first began hiking, I was far too consumed with my natural surroundings to consider the work put in to design and construct a trail. Then I spent a Sunday morning rerouting the Fiery Gizzard Trail with Team Green Adventures, and my outlook on hiking trails was changed forever.

Hiking trails do not just appear out of thin air. They are created with in-depth forethought and are paved by nature lovers abound. Designing a trail requires proper vision with the most sustainable route in mind. Think long-term. How can we design a trail so it can be used for the next 50+ years, with the minimal amount of maintenance needed to keep it safe and functional?

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Our 20 Best Adventure Photos of 2015

Our 20 Best Adventure Photos of 2015

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I’ll keep the intro short on this one. It’s always satisfying to look back on another year of adventures, Team Green’s 19th year to be exact, and take some time to think about the people we’ve met and the places we’ve been. To celebrate the year that was, here are our 20 best adventure photos from 2015:

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Holiday Gift Ideas for the Adventurer in Your Life, 2015 Edition

Holiday Gift Ideas for the Adventurer in Your Life, 2015 Edition

Gift giving can often be a stressful experience, leaving many holiday shoppers with a sense of dread that they haven’t found that perfect gift or that much-desired stocking stuffer. While we can’t tell you what’ll make everyone on your list happy this year, we are here to help you get something cool for the outdoorsy friends and family in your life! Whether you’re looking to just pick up a little something, or you’re in search of that holiday-defining gift, here are a few ideas to get you started:

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We’ve Got Your Back: Backpacking 101

We’ve Got Your Back: Backpacking 101

If you’re a good outdoorist, you can wing it on the trail with the resources around you. If you’re a great outdoorist, you’ll bring everything you need, packed to precision. Our goal at Team Green Adventures is to foster a community of great outdoorists, which is why we have several downloadable checklists on our resources page, and have partnered with Cumberland Transit for a series of eight Gear Workshops in 2015. Topics cover our region’s most popular recreations including backpacking, hiking, trail running, water treks, cycling, and rock climbing. Our first workshop, Backpacking 101, was a huge success (and we’ll offer it again on September 23rd). We not only learned which gear to bring, but how to pack it efficiently.

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5 Reasons Why Nashville is a Great City for Outdoor Recreation

5 Reasons Why Nashville is a Great City for Outdoor Recreation

According to one recent study, Nashville ranked just 29th among the 50 largest cities in the United States for recreation opportunities. While it’s no surprise that peer cities like Denver and Portland ranked ahead of Nashville, it did come as a bit of a shock that Nashville was ranked behind cities not necessarily known for their outdoor and recreation cultures, including Cleveland, Detroit and Kansas City. It should be noted that the study used certain metrics like public beaches per capita, which might put Nashville at a disadvantage (and cities like San Diego at a clear advantage), but factors like music venues per capita were also taken into consideration, which would definitely help to give Nashville a boost relative to other metro areas around the country.

While Nashville certainly has plenty of room to improve in many ways, especially when it comes to things like creating more access points to utilize the Cumberland River as a recreational asset, Davidson County continues to make great strides towards being a regionally- and nationally-recognized recreation hub. Here’s a list of our top 5 reasons why Nashville is a great city to get outdoors and be active:

1. The Greenway System

Whether you’re a walker, a runner, a cyclist, a rollerblader, or just about anything else, Nashville’s greenway system is a great resource for local outdoor recreation. If you’re not familiar with them, greenways are “linear parks and trails that connect neighborhoods to schools, shopping areas, downtown, offices, recreation areas, open spaces and other points of activity,” and are “often located along natural landscape features like streams, rivers and ridges, or along built features, such as railroad corridors and scenic highways,” according to Greenways for Nashville. With more than 65 miles of greenway trails in Davidson county, it’s no surprise that upwards of 90 percent of Nashvillians live within 2 miles of a greenway access point. The best part? They’re completely free and open year-round!

Nashville has a TON of greenways with great natural and manmade features, including this pedestrian bridge over the Cumberland River, connecting the Stones River Greenway to the Shelby Bottoms Greenway in East Nashville. Photo cred: Greenways for Nashville.

2. Great Local Parks

Nashville is fortunate to have access to an abundance of high-quality parks. Ask anyone around town where their go-to place to get outdoors is, and you’re sure to hear a lot of the same answers. Percy Warner Park, Radnor Lake State Natural Area, and Centennial Park (and Sportsplex) are all common favorites among locals, providing space for walking, running, hiking, festivals and races, and other beloved community events. Places like Bells Bend Park and Cane Ridge Park (in addition to Warner Park) offer access to mountain biking trails, and dozens of other parks across the county feature everything from tennis courts and golf courses to baseball diamonds and basketball courts, providing recreational outlets for just about anyone. In total, Nashville has 108 parks and 19 greenways, adding up to more than 12,000 acres of accessible open space around town. Current projects like the renovation of Riverfront Park on both the east and west banks of the Cumberland continue to add park-based amenities to Nashville, with features like a dog park, river access, and a 6,500 seat amphitheater soon to be open for use.

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Centennial Park is always bustling for Nashville’s annual Earth Day Festival, one of our favorite community events to partner with every year!

3. Tons of Local Waterways

For a landlocked city, Nashville has access to a plethora of water-based recreational opportunities. If you’ve spent even one summer living here, you know that it gets HOT, so taking some time to get out on a lake or river is key to keeping cool. Whether your activity of choice is grabbing a canoe and floating one of Middle Tennessee’s scenic rivers, like the Harpeth or Caney Fork, or hopping in a boat and spending a day on Percy Priest or Center Hill Lake, there’s no shortage of ways to enjoy the water in Nashville. Other opportunities include plenty of fishing and swimming, a growing stand up paddle board culture, and Nashville’s annual Dragon Boat Festival on the Cumberland River (seriously, check it out if you never have – it’s a blast! Here are some pictures from when we raced in it last year.).

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This small waterfall at the Narrows of the Harpeth is a great place to cool off on a hot summer day!

4. Our Growing Cycling Community

Did you know that Nashville is one of only 18 cities in the United States with a population of 500,000 or more to be recognized by the League of American Bicyclists as a Bicycle Friendly Community? Over the last decade, Nashville has made a ton of progress in becoming a safer city for cyclists of both the commuting and recreational variety. Nashville has more than 140 miles of designated bikeways across the county, including the 26-mile long Music City Bikeway, which links Percy Warner Park on the west side of town to Percy Priest Dam on the east side. Nashville has also invested heavily in its BCycle bikeshare program, providing affordable access to bikes for both residents and tourists in the downtown area and surrounding neighborhoods. The BCycle system currently features 25 stations and 225 bikes, with plans for five more stations to be installed in 2015. In the two short years since the program’s inception, more than 50,000 BCycles have been checked out!

Check it out! We sponsor multiple BCycle stations across the county, including this one on Rolling Mill Hill just south of downtown.

5. Our Close Proximity to Nearby Recreation Opportunities

If the outdoor amenities in Nashville proper aren’t enough to keep you busy year-round, then it’s fortunate that Nashville also happens to be surrounded by incredible outdoor and recreational opportunities that are just a short day trip away! Within a 2-hour drive are plenty of world-class rock climbing destinations, including King’s Bluff in Clarksville and T-Wall and Foster Falls near Chattanooga. There’s also an endless number of nearby backpacking and hiking trails that make great weekend getaways, including the Cumberland Trail System, Savage Gulf State Natural Area, and Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Nashville is also the end point of the historic Natchez Trace Parkway, and is just a few short hours from sections of the Appalachian Trail, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and the thrilling whitewater of the Ocoee River. Seriously, there are so many recreational resources in close proximity to Middle Tennessee that there’s no way they can all be covered here, so you’ll just have to do some exploring yourself!

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King’s Bluff, one of our favorite local climbing destinations (fall 2014).

Itching to get active in Nashville? Join us for one of our upcoming trips! We’re heading to Frozen Head State Park on Saturday, January 31st for a backpacking trip, and we’ll be at Climb Nashville for Indoor Rock Climbing every Tuesday now through the end of March!

– Matt (Team Green’s Event Coordinator)

15 Great Stocking Stuffers for the Adventurer in Your Life

15 Great Stocking Stuffers for the Adventurer in Your Life

We all know the holidays can be a stressful time of year, especially when you have no idea what to get your loved ones. In need of some last-minute gift ideas for that adventurous person in your life? Look no further! Here are a few of our favorite stocking-sized (and priced) pieces of outdoor gear that we never leave home without:

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Our 20 Best Adventure Photos of 2014

Our 20 Best Adventure Photos of 2014

The end of the year always gets us feeling a little nostalgic about the last 12 months of adventures, and this year is no exception! From the slopes of Breckenridge to the rolling hills of the Smokies, and the beaches of Georgia to the banks of our own Harpeth River, 2014 has been a year of incredible trips. Even if you couldn’t make it on any of our excursions this year, we hope you’ll enjoy living vicariously through our best pictures from the last year of travels near and far! Here are a few of our favorites:

January 9th – Breckenridge is one of our most-beloved ski destinations, and this view of the valley with the ski slope in the foreground is but one reminder of how beautiful a place this really is.

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January 25th – Though it was a little chilly for an overnight backpacking trip, our group didn’t mind, catching this up-close view of one of the partially-frozen falls along the Laurel Snow trail in east Tennessee.

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April 24th – In our first season, our GoKickball team came in 2nd in the league! Definitely one of the most fun things we’ve done this year, this weekly social (read: beer) kickball league always gave us something to look forward to spring through fall. We can’t wait to get back out there next year!

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May 17th – One of our favorite annual trips, LeConte Lodge is a place that is truly unlike any other. The hike up was incredible, and the view from our cabin porch wasn’t bad either. Notice the clouds below us in the distance!

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June 21st – Ready to fly! Hang Gliding at Lookout Mountain is another of our favorite annual trips, giving us the opportunity to soar above the clouds (or through the clear, sunny sky) outside Chattanooga.

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July 2nd – Our Engage Green workshop series, in partnership with Urban Green Lab, gave us the chance to make some delicious meals like this one while focusing on sustainability. Pictured here is a vibrantly-colored gazpacho recipe prepared by local chef Shane Kelly using only seasonal ingredients from a nearby CSA.

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July 20th – It’s always a pleasure to take a day trip down the Natchez Trace to visit Bernie Ellis at Trace View Farm. His organically-grown blueberries are arguably the most delicious things ever, and at $10/pound, you can’t beat it!

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July 25th – One of four summer stand-up paddleboard sessions with Nashville Paddle Company, our sunset paddle might have been our favorite. Paddling around the coves at Percy Priest was an incredible way to wind down the work week, with some of us even deciding to add a little yoga in for good measure!

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August 9th – The low-lying fog made our summer whitewater kayaking trip along the Hiwassee River that much cooler, casting an eerie haze over much of the trip. What a great weekend on the river!

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August 26th – Butterflies love canoe floats (and cold beverages) just as much as we do! Our summer river cleanups give us a great excuse to get out on the water while doing our part to help keep our favorite adventure spots pristine. We pulled 17 tires and more than a dozen bags of trash out of the river on this float alone, one of three this summer!

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September 6th – Nashville’s Dragon Boat Festival is one of the most unique annual celebrations in Music City, featuring more than 40 teams competing in a series of races to be crowned the champion of the Cumberland. Not only do teams get to have a blast wearing costumes and being generally ridiculous, everyone gets to feel good about raising money to help protect and improve the Cumberland River, as this is the Cumberland River Compact‘s largest fundraiser of the year!

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September 27th – King’s Bluff offers tons of great climbing routes for everyone from true beginners to experts, and is made even more appealing by the fact that it’s less than an hour from Nashville! Our late-September trip, guided by the pros at Climb Nashville, allowed us to catch the beginnings of some fall colors this year!

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September 28th – What a group! Our volunteer events are some of the most rewarding experiences we have all year, and our fall build day with Habitat for Humanity of Williamson County was no different. We partnered with the Nashville Jr. Predators team to do a Day 2 build here, installing windows and doors and adding exterior insulation to this home in Franklin.

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October 3rd – The sunsets on Cumberland Island, GA are truly remarkable, casting a warm glow over the white sandy beaches and making the landscape come alive. We can’t wait to go back to the island and do this trip again, one of our longest-standing traditional trips.

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October 18th – Though the hike was dry for us, the rain we had gotten the week before this fall day trip allowed the waterfalls to be flowing at full force. The Fiery Gizzard is a challenging trail, but the natural beauty the trail has to offer along the way makes the extra effort more than worth it!

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October 25th – Hurry up! The pups are clearly ready to hike on our fall backpacking trip to Hobbs Cabin in Savage Gulf. Not only do they make great trail companions, but these furry friends are also perfect tent buddies, helping to keep you a little warmer during those cool fall nights.

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October 26th – Teamwork makes the dream work! Our semi-annual ropes course with Adventureworks is always a blast, encouraging everyone to work together to make it through a complicated series of high and low ropes challenges. The beautiful fall weather made this one that much better!

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November 9th – Speaking of fall, check out the colors on our mountain biking weekend getaway to Mulberry Gap this November! We timed this one perfectly, making the temps warm enough for an enjoyable trip while allowing us to bask in the beauty of some of the most picturesque wooded trails in the southeast.

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November 16th – We spent a day this November helping Ferrell Hollow Farm Senior Horse Sanctuary get ready for their annual fall gala, which raises money to allow them to continue to take in and care for horses that are neglected, abused or disabled. Our group took a few hours to clean the barn and prep for their fundraiser, and made a few equine friends along the way!

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December 8th – Who says your adventures can’t be luxurious? This beautiful infinity pool at one of our hotels in Costa Rica says otherwise. One of many gorgeous photos from this trip, we encourage you to check out more here!

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Thank you to everyone who took the time to participate in and share any of our adventures with us this year, helping to make 2014 Team Green’s best year yet! We’re looking forward to another great year of experiences in 2015, and we hope you’ll join us!

– Matt (Team Green’s Event Coordinator)

P.S. To get more pictures like these, you can always follow us on Instagram.