The warm weather is a welcome respite from the dreary skies we’ve had over the past several weeks. As the COVID overcast puts a damper on most group gatherings, moments by ourselves and with those who love us most seem to have more meaning.

I was looking for a bike ride for the past several days and this past Sunday, the weather was perfect. There was a light breeze and the sunlight was lapping over the green grass like a solar tide rolling over the hills of Kingsport.

Riding from our home in Rotherwood, the ride along the Holston was great. Stopping to take a few photos near Netherland Inn, I spotted some friends out with their family. Along Riverfront Park, a young man was sitting on the banks of the river talking to an iPhone on a tripod. I believe he was doing a Facebook live for Sunday services since most people of this region hadn’t been inside a church for several weeks now.

It’s a funny coincidence, but it seems like every time I go on the Greenbelt lately, I run into my old high school friend, Mark Dixon. Dr. Dixon is now an anesthesiologist at Ballad and each time I see him, it’s clear he’s putting a lot of miles on that bike. He’s lost a lot of weight over the past several months and looking like the youthful sheen of his former self – unlike my own saggy eyes and thin hair.

One of the treats of this ride was the exploration of the new Greenbelt extension near The Exchange Place. There are plenty of new improvements on the trail. Some include more wayfinding signs and resurfaced asphalt. The last time Kelli and I were walking the path, I spotted a waterfall near the new boardwalk.

The boardwalk is still under construction and the trail was impassable with the frequent showers lately, but I did take several minutes to hike up the mountain trail and the laurels to capture some new photos of this gorgeous cascade which no doubt will be enjoyed by everyone as soon as the trail opens up later this year.