Hello all Wildcat Hikers!
Thank you for signing up for “The Hike.” We look forward to seeing everyone on the trails.
We have had an excellent response for all the reunion activities including this hike. I’m delighted to see so many long time friends (many going back to preschool) on the response list. This may be the largest hiking event in Oak Ridge history.
Since this is a large group hike, below is some information that may be helpful in preparations. And please feel free to e-mail me at email@example.com with any question or concerns.
We will meet at 8:30 am at the North Boundary Trail Head guardhouse near Wisconsin Avenue on the Oak Ridge Turnpike.
What to bring:
-Sturdy boots or walking shoes (no need to buy hiking boots for this hike if you don’t have a pair, an old pair of exercise, walking, or running shoes will be fine; there could be some mud if there was a recent rain)
-Water to last for 3 hours
-Light salty snacks or food as we may sweat a little
-Rain gear or an umbrella (This is a good umbrella hike. If it starts to drizzle, we will never be more than 45 minutes from cars)
-Hiking poles or a hiking stick are optional
-Small backpack or vest is a good idea for gear if you have one, but many hikers here just carry a water bottle and a few items in pockets.
Route of Hike:
We will depart from the North Boundary Trail Head guardhouse near Wisconsin Avenue on the Oak Ridge Turnpike. After 1/10 mile on that trail, we will take the single-track Big Oak Trail 1.3 miles to the double-track East Quarry Road. Then we will walk down to the quarry lake that was inside the K-25 security perimeter area until a few years ago when these trails were opened to the public.
We hope to have a large group picture at the quarry lake with my Oak Ridge hiking group that will be a few minutes behind us. The terrain is gentle so anyone who has walked a couple of miles recently can do this hike. Then for safety reasons we will encourage everyone to return to the cars together for a count.
The total distance will be 4 to 4.5 miles, at a moderate pace, and we should finish before noon.
That will end our official hike; however, for anyone who would like to hike further after this hike on your own, I’ll have maps of the area and I’ll also be hiking more if anyone wants to join me. If it’s a warm day, there is a wading area at the quarry lake. many hikers like to bring water sandals to change into to get in the water for a cool down or just walk back down there after the hike to get some sun.
Parking is limited at the guardhouse trail head so we will be asking most of our group to park a few minutes away but nearby. Options are listed below. Ideally, you will all meet DownTown near the museum and carpool together, parking at one of the locations listed below.
As much as possible, please leave the spots at the Guardhouse for those who will not be hiking and for drop offs (for a few minutes) for hikers being shuttled in carpools to the trailhead.
Museum Downtown Oak Ridge: Meet near the museum at 7:30 am to carpool. Remember the museum is now on the northeast corner of Downtown. We can leave approximately 8 million cars in that lot.
- Juel Hensley Home: There is parking for 15 cars at the home of Juel’s Mom at 2710 Oak Ridge Turnpike. Please contact Juel by text at 865-809-9622 to ensure room is available. Hikers can carpool and shuttle from there or safely walk 10 minutes to the guardhouse on the turnpike sidewalk.
- 106 Westover Drive: We can park 15-20 cars on the street side near 106 Westover Drive. My black Jeep will be there at 8 am. We suggest about 10 cars park behind and 10 cars in front of me. Park on the right side curb as you head up from the turnpike. Please be sure to not block driveways and allow mailbox access for mail carriers. Neighbors in this area are aware will we be there for the times of the hike. It will be about a 5 minute walk down to the guardhouse.
- First Christian Church at 100 Gum Hollow Road: We have been granted courtesy access and church permission to park up to 25 cars at the First Christian Church at 100 Gum Hollow Road until noon. Please park here if the 106 Westover option is full or if you wouldn’t mind walking the 10 minutes on the Turnpike sidewalk to the guardhouse
- Grassy area on lower Wisconsin Avenue: As a last resort option for large ground clearance vehicles, you can park off the road by driving over the curb at the grassy area on lower Wisconsin Avenue. We have been asked to not park cars on Wisconsin Avenue due to the heavy traffic.
Also please leave the East Quarry Road parking area under the power lines open for another group that will be meeting Ray Smith at the guardhouse after us. And as a reminder there is no parking on the Turnpike in this area.
In the event of thunder, lightning, or heavy rain, we will cancel the hike portion, but everyone would still be welcome for a tour of the guardhouse at 8:30 am. I still hike in light or moderate rain, but we understand that may not be for everyone.
Weather updates that could limit the hike will be posted through email.
Hiking Etiquette & Safety:
Since this is a large group on shared trails, we should yield to mountain bikers and runners. We’ll alert the group and just take a short step off the trail to let them pass.
There will be a Hike Leader and Sweep (experienced hiker in the back). We will ask everyone to stay between those two hikers until we reach the quarry to ensure no one gets on the wrong trail.
We do plan to stagger our starts so you can hike with smaller groups of classmates and mix and mingle with friends through the hike in smaller groups. I think there will also be plenty of time for some hiking in solitude within the group if you would prefer a little safe quiet time in the woods.
Currently we have 5 experienced hikers embedded in our group that can assist anyone at any time with a need that may arise.
Restrooms are only located at the guardhouse when it is open. You may want to bring any personal products needed and notify the Sweep if you need a break. The Sweep will wait a polite distance away.
Oak Ridge historian and writer Ray Smith will open the guardhouse for us for an inside tour of the vintage furnishings and Ed Wescott photo collection.
The guardhouse can handle about 30 visitors at a time, so at about 8:45 am, Ray will address us on the lawn and answer any questions you may have about the City, the Manhattan Project National Historic Park, DOE facility bus tours, K-25 overlook, or the three excellent museums in town.
He will be greeting a second hiking group at 9:00 am, so if you were running late, you could join that group and they will meet up with us at the quarry.
We will also stop at a couple of pre-WWII era cemeteries and chat about the history of the area when this was the Western frontier of the beginning of the USA.
We look forward to seeing everyone on this most creative addition to a weekend reunion agenda. Hopefully it will be first of many more.
See you there,
Steve & Lisa Oliphant