Friday, January 30, 2009

Fort Campbell's Clarksville Base Trail

I have spoken of my walking trail before, and will again as it is the best kept little 'secret' on Fort Campbell. Those of us who live close by have a real gem in this roadmarch/ruck march/walking route at Clarksville Base on Fort Campbell. This is a most treasured spot for me to commune with nature and today I'll take you along.
I was first introduced to this route when having to complete the 12 mile roadmarch as part of the 18th Airborne Corps requirements. Little did I know that despite: the blisters, the pain, and the blur of simply trudging along praying I would make the time and not collapse due to the physical toll this roadmarch took on my body; that this route would become such a favored part of my life. Even the rocks smile when I walk by. Can you see the face in this rock formation? It is clear as mud, look closely and let me know if you can't see it.

In the seven years I have lived here I have endeavored to walk this 4.5 mile route weekly. It has not always worked out this way, but it is an admirable goal is it not? One of my favorite times of year to walk the route is in the winter. I have traversed the paved road when it has been under snow and ice, and when it has been covered with puddles full of beautiful butterflies. I enjoy the artwork at my favorite 'wade in the stream spot', and I enjoy the towering sycamores which help provide food for the numerous deer, turkey and other assorted wildlife that make this sanctuary its home.

Clarksville Base is a historic area of Fort Campbell. Many may know it as the 'Bird Cage'. Its exact original purpose is not known to me, but I have read that nuclear weapons were stored here during the last world war. The walking trail is bordered by cool underground bunkers that are used for storage, not of the nuclear kind.
The building where I worked when I was in the Army used to be the fire station for Clarksville Base. I once tried to upgrade the drafty, leaky windows in our building and was told by the engineers that it was not allowed due to the building being historic. Historic must mean non-energy efficient because the wind sure blew through on cold days.

A favored and truly treasured spot is this stream area. There is a system of several bridges, one of which walkers and roadmarchers will pass over when navigating the trail. I almost always walk down the concrete bank and sit and listen to the water. Many folks do the same. On a sunny day there will be whole families walking the trail and some will even cast a fishing line or two. Look closely in the picture below and you can see tire tracks of some brave soul who decided to spin his car around in the stream. This would have been possible only when the stream was low. Wonder if it was fun to the silly drivers? Beavers, swallows, turtles, deer, wild turkeys, geese, and blue herons are all in abundance in this area. I have seen them all and so enjoy the tranquility of their lives. They coexist peacefully with walkers like me. Whenever the Jimster is with me it is a given he will take off his shoes and socks, roll up his pants and go wading. On a recent trek to the stream around dusk, the Jimster, his friend Christian, and I were enthralled when a 'little bird' helicopter showed up. It was doing night flying above the tree tops. As an air traffic controller we called this type of flying NOE, or nap of the earth flying. This helicopter gave us a show by landing on the bridge above. We were sitting right where I am taking the picture, quite close to the helicopter. Water spray and dust flew everywhere. I still get a tingle being around this type of activity or whenever I hear a helicopter fly overhead or a 'freedom bird' does a low take off just west of my home. It is the air traffic controller part of me coming out. Some of my aviation friends who spent their lives working on helicopters around here HATE the sound of helicopters now. They purposely buy homes far away from flight routes and avoid Fort Campbell altogether. But not me, I love the helicopters and all their noise. Now, the blasting from Fort Campbell I can do without:)

I thank the Army everyday for the wonderful experiences I was able to live during my twenty years of service. To travel to the Middle East, or fly over the Alps in a Huey, to fire a rifle and throw a grenade, to work in a bubble in the sky with air conditioning, to help a pilot land his aircraft in the thickest of fog, to get an education and to meet some really neat folks, to live in Italy and ride a gondola on the canals of Venice, to see King Ludwig's Fairytale Castle Neuschwanstein is something that most people never get to experience in a lifetime. And I was able to do it all and more during my twenty year tour of duty.

This post is really not about the Army, but about a wonderful walking trail on an Army base. This walking trail and walking in general always makes me appreciate the little things in life: like walking on a clear and sunny day and giving myself time to just be me with no pressures, no blogging, no stressors, just life. Walking does this for me. I am going to finish this post with a short video of the stream. You can hear the water running which is such a soothing sound for me. There will be more posts on this super great walking trail. It is filled with wildflowers and noises and vernal ponds full of bullfrogs and fish and geese and life. For now....


I'm in the garden....walking with Bella on the Clarksville Base Trail.

Hi all. I've been contacted by a few folks who are interested in Clarksville Base and from what I understand it was a most special place to be stationed during the Cold War. I am currently working on a post concerning some stories and some information about a few reunions that involve Clarksville Base. The page links are no longer valid for these reunions. Sorry.


  1. Tina, how wonderful you have such fond memories of this lovely place, and that you get to visit it often. Your seem to be very close to nature and some of her creatures here even though it is surrounded by much activity. Thanks for the lovely walk and all the information.

  2. What a wonderful area to go walking. There are so many different things to see. I wish there was an area like this close to where I live. It is so nice to be able to get out and into a natural setting.

    Always Growing

  3. A pretty walk, I don't blame Jimmy, I'd take my shoes off too! Hopefully Christy can see the snipet of Bella. The face in the rock makes me miss the old man of new hampshire. He slid off shortly after their quarter was released with him on it.

  4. Tina,

    I did see the face! Loved it. ...Thank you for the tour of your favorite walking place. It is wonderful to have a place to go that brings good memories and where you can experience nature up close and personal!

  5. Ohhh--and I am a big walker!! Can you walk here from your house? I wish we had a place close by. I love, love to walk/hike!
    Have a good weekend Tina!

  6. Tina,

    Weaving your military history with the story reminded me of how we think things over on a walk. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and your walk with us.


  7. A very neat trail! I saw the face, or at least I think I did. The moss on the rocks and the underground bunkers are pretty interesting to look at!

  8. Hi Tina, that was absolutely fascinating. I am glad you went on a little detour about all the wonderful places you have seen. I do think your positive attitude is admirable too. I think I saw the smiling face, was he winking?


  9. One never knows what they will find around the next corner. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Beckie, It is such a quiet wonderful area. I need to go there this morning:)

    Jan, This is quite a nice area and I call it a sanctuary, the base manages it pretty well.

    Dawn, Yes, I hope she sees Bella-that silly dog about pulled me in! I was filming and holding on to her at the same time-not cool.

    Gail, I love this walk. My release. I have committed to it and will drag Mr. Fix-it along when he has more time.

    Linda, I wish it were close to my house. About a 10-15 min drive, no traffic or hassles. We are close to Ft. Campbell. You should see how happy both Bella and I are to see the car at the end of the walk. I still ache-even without the ruck!

    Cameron, Yes, that is it exactly! We remember these things. I will never forget that first roadmarch here and it is so tied with the military. I love to walk. Looks like you and the grey had a lovely one yesterday too.

    Dave, Glad you saw the face. It really stuck out to me.

    Frances, Yes, he was winking. I was stopped in my tracks. I've been to a lot of places, didn't put them all in there as I said this is not about the military, just communing with nature. This base is a pretty big deal around here due to its history. It is a 'secret' perse, but so very lovely to me and others.

    Janet, You are welcomed. I enjoy this place so much and wanted you all to share it. Ft. Campbell is one of the best bases I've ever been too-let's just forget the roadmarch requirement though:)

  11. What a great walking trail Tina. And that rock! It doesn't seem to have just one face! It's good to imagine...
    Your life in the army sounds so fascinating. Looking forward to your future posts on this trail and maybe stories from your army life as well.
    Have a pleasant weekend.

  12. I enjoyed my walk with you, Tina. I'm glad to see you are getting out and about instead of staying tied to the computer. I know what you mean about the helicopters. Our house is situated close to a helicopter pilot training field. I've gotten so used to the noise that I actually miss it when they're not flying on weekends and holidays. They don't fly close enough to kick up any dust but just enough to make me feel a little self-conscious when I'm outside working in the garden. I've developed a new attitude in posture. It's become a real back-saver and would make my former chiropractor in Illinois proud of me. I call it Stop (bending over) and Drop (the backside that's sticking up). I'm pretty sure the pilots are glad too.

  13. What a wonderful to place to be close to nature and I'm sure it's relaxing as you clear your thoughts.

  14. Great walk with you this morning Tina. You are so lucky to have it and the face in the stone is remarkable. Good to see Bella and with her engery I bet she enjoys it. I also hope Christy gets to see it but may not as she has not had time to get on her laptop and even called me to check her bank account yesterday.

    Thanks to your time in the army I got to also enjoy some perks and I must say, even if Neushwanstein is the best known castle and the one that is always on photos and the one that Walt Disney used as a guide for the disney castle, I liked Linderhoff (probably spelled that wrong) Castle better.

  15. This is a wonderful place to walk! Not only did I see the face but he is wearing a coon skin cap too! Ah, the imagination is working over time today. Lol I could do without the art work but the rest is wonderful. Ah, the sound of the water is so soothing to the soul. I am glad that Bella likes this journey as well. Do you ever take any of the other fur babies with you? Does Bella walk the entire walk or just a walk when snapping pictures for blogging?

    As a teenager, I would ride horses at Ft. Campbell and we would ride along a stream. I bet this is the same flow of water! It was beautiful and captured my eye even as a silly teenager if 13….

    I love the Neuschwanstein castle but as Jean, I like Linderhof the best! Although the cruise to see Herrenchiemsee was great also. But Linderhof, more my speed. I do miss the wonderful country of Germany! If still there, we would be gearing up for Fasching right about now…

  16. Oh forgot to mention, my friends hubby flys the "Little Birds" He retired from Army in 1999 then after 9-11, he wanted to go back in but refrained. Finally his desires took over and he got back in the Army to fly his birds about a year ago!

  17. (-; I don't understand English, I see :), but I can feel the spring come and I think Bella is your dog, really? The dog of your picture looks like very nice!! A beautiful dog! Greetings :)) Kessi
    P. S. I'll learn every day more English, I'm sure... :))

  18. Kanak, Thanks! And welcome back! I am always full of stories so stay tuned. I do think you can find more than one face on the rock for sure. I hit it just right on this day with the shadows.

    W2W, Ha! You are funny! Stop and drop-must remember that one and here's another posture-wave at the pilots! I always do this for some reason. Do you? You can get some arm exercises while the pilots fly overhead. Yes, I do so need to get out-it is a priority.

    Darla, It is ever so wonderful-for thoughts and all. This morning I got a truck load of well rotted leaves. They make a good mulch.

    Mom, Silly Bella almost pulled me over! Too much energy but even she gets tired out. Don't tell Christy-shhh-she's getting old. A whole 5 now! That for some reason seems to be peak for the big dogs. I am glad you got to come to Germany and how I wish I had visited Linderhof that day. Can't remember what I was doing which I thought was more important. Ah regrets.

    Skeeter, We have the best memory of Herrenchimsee. That is the no electric mountain lake right? Brian and I went on the boat while the twins and Mr. Fix-it went elsewhere. Ah yes, those wunderbar memories. Only Bella goes with me. The other dogs could never make the walk anymore. I used to take BJ and CeCe, but time has slowed them down, and arthritis. CeCe would almost just lay down about 3/4s of the way thru the walk. I could not leave her there nor could I carry her so she and BJ stay home. Let me tell you, they hate it! I feel so bad but they can't do it anymore. I am glad to have company with Bella now. Many of my out of town visitors walk with me and my daughters have also gone. I just need to drag Mr. Fix-it there as he is the only one who has not walked with me! Go figure! Yes, most likely the same stream. Back behind the horse stables is a big area and these trails are part of it.

    Kessi, You do so well with your English! But look on the right side of the blog, bring up English to Deutsch and the whole page will now be in Deutsch. It will make it friendlier for you. Let me know how it works. I think it would work good on Ruhezone too because it translate the whole page.

  19. What a nice variety of wildlife to enjoy on your walk. When there's beautiful things to look at I don't even think about how long I've been walking, I'm sure that's how it is there.
    I saw the face!

  20. What a beautiful place to walk, Tina! I think I would be a little more motivated to walk if I had some place this lovely to walk around. Though I sure wouldn't be going for any 12-mile hikes:)

    It's great to hear such positive comments about your experiences in the Army. I can't imagine going on these long hikes let alone firing a rifle or throwing a grenade. You are quite a woman, Tina!

  21. What a lovely and interesting place to take a walk with the dog! That picture of the rock does look like a face. And the video with the sound of the river running really gave the full effect!

  22. What a wonderful place to be able to walk. I would love to be able to walk somewhere like that. I miss being able to walk places & to hike some. I also love to hear the water flowing leisurely along it's journey. The face in the rock is so plain. I too thought he was winking.
    Do hope you all are staying warm. Seems it is very nasty up that way.

  23. No trouble seeing the face--very clear mud!

    Those bunkers would make outstanding wine cellars--a great peacetime use of Army resources.

    Thanks for sharing your walk. It's a great destination.

  24. I love walking trails like yours Tina. I have one near me, maybe not quite as diverse in wildlife but close, and it always restores me. Sounds like you had many adventures over the course of your career. How many people can say that?

  25. sounds and looks like an interesting place for walking. trail walking always feels good, it's great to be able to bring your dog along/

  26. Tina, I did when we first moved here and then decided I might be distracting the student-pilots and upsetting the instructors. I remember how scary it was when our kids started driving and would take their hands off the wheel and eyes off the road to wave at a friend. I do look up and smile at them, anyway, and wish them well.

  27. Catherine, I so love walking too! It does go by fast. Glad you saw the face:)

    Rose, Thank you so much. I have always admired every woman who can work and thought the Army was no big deal. My mother put it in perspective and really shocked me with her comments about how hard it was when I have always thought her jobs were the hardest in the world. We do what we have to do, thank goodness roadmarching days are over! Still like to fire a gun now and then though. Thanks for you kind compliments. I subbed for a while after I retired and thought that most difficult-so hats off to you and all the teachers who do so much for everyone in this country!

    Racquel, My video wasn't so good but by golly that little stream makes some noise. It is the set up of the concrete with the rocks I think. Glad you could see the face.

    Lola, Glad you saw the face too. I was hoping everyone else would see him. It is a fun walk. Not bad here. Warming up-yesterday all the ice fell, at least most of it here in my neck of the woods. Calling for snow Monday though. I hope we have no more snow days as our system has just 3 built in, and we've used them.

    James, Glad you could see the face. This area is a wonderful place to walk. Yup, I think good wine cellars with lots of areas underground to stash it all.

    Kathleen, Isn't it great having walking trails nearby? Lots of adventures over my career for sure. Now I have roots and stay put, just a boring life now according to my kids. That's fine with me!

    Marmee, Bella keeps me going and she is so fun. A good walking dog. It can get lonely out here on the trail. I bet you have lots of areas on your farm-how lucky is that!

    W2W, You are pretty smart not to distract those guys. Especially in your area with all the training flights. Just keep with the Stop and Drop-love it!

  28. Tina, the Herrenchiemsee schloss is the one in Bertchesgarten that you can only get to by big boats. Don’t believe they were electric. I am guessing the lake you are thinking of with all electric boats is the beautiful deep emerald green Konigsee. Those are all electric and take you to a Monastery where they specialize in smoke cooking fisch…

  29. Yes! That is the one! I never went on Herrenchimesee then, only Konigsee. It was so lovely. I have a video of it. I totally forgot. Glad you remembered.

  30. What an interesting place for your trek. Walking is so good for us. I make a vow to walk everyday. I do it for awhile. Then life seems to get in the way. Got to get back to the garden!

  31. Having served at the Birdcage 1956-58, I can tell you it was a less-than-desirable assignment for Marines. It's perimeter road was a source of our mind-numbing boredom. However, the job we did was important and keeping it a secret was high priority. Enjoy it. It helped preserve America!
    Birdcage Marine JBT

  32. John, Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I can only imagine what the walk along this base was like 50 plus years ago but I so love it now. I am surprised by the number of folks finding this post about the 'Birdcage' like yourself. I think it must have many memories for a great number of people.

    My hat's off to you for your service!

  33. Tina, Many thanks for our conversations about The Bird Cage. I was there 59-61 as the Navy Mail Clerk, loved the place so much that I actually extended one year to the initial tour. USNAU was a Club Med compared with next assignment, NAVFAC 106 San Salvador Island, Bahamas.See you in April at USMC reunion and Navy Nuclear Weapons Assoc reunion in Oct. I had special permission from the XO and spent weekends tramping about in the 'Q' Area. Some tales to tell all about the place. Will join you on a hike, sure looking foward to the return. Doug

  34. Hi Doug, I see your son helped you out and I'm glad you were able to comment. There will be more coming I am sure. I look forward to meeting you and yes-I'm up for a hike but an old Marine will take it easy on walking this old Soldier too fast right?:)

  35. How do you access this trail? Where is it?

  36. Kristen, The trail is on Fort Campbell; which is located in Kentucky. You can find the exact location by asking for a map from the gate guards when you enter the post.

  37. i'm currently stationed at FTCKY. can you please furnish the directions to this amazing trail? that would be a great help. thank you

    1. Anonymous, Just ask at the gate for directions to Clarksville Base. It is quite easy to find near Gate 10.

    2. thank you very much Tina.