Edgar Evins State Park with Cool, Unique Campsites
Forty-five days! Our longest trip yet. And we are excited to try Edgar Evins State Park where they have elevated platforms. But first, packing and prepping keep us busy for weeks. How much food do you take, what kind of clothes, did we stop the mail? Do we have enough treats for Gibbs?

And then we discover you can only stop your mail for 30 days. Hmm. So we stop it for 30 days and ask my sweet sister to pick it up and then we will restop it for another 15 days. Ah, government!

But we are finally off. And it is pouring. This time the Underdog handles beautifully around the curves going to Knoxville, unlike the last time when drawers and pantry items were crashing to the floor on every turn. 

Zoo Knoxville’s impressive reptile & amphibian exhibit

zoo knoxville tennessee

A king cobra comes out to greet us! Very impressive.

Since we are going right by Zoo Knoxville, we decide to stop by and see their brand new ARC building housing their amphibians and reptiles. And wow, just wow. It is beautiful. Zoo Knoxville has one of the most robust herpetology conservation programs in the country. Michael Ogle. their herpetology curator gives us a tour.
We see just hatched bog turtles which are some of our favorite turtles. Well, we don’t actually see anything except these tiny little heads popping up from the mud every now and then. All their new babies will be rewilded back to North Carolina where the eggs were originally harvested. Conservation at work. And to learn more about these cool little reptiles, read our blog “Bog Turtles”.

And then there is the king cobra, the longest venomous snake in the world. She slithers out of a hole in the wall to greet us. And she is a beauty.

What is cool about king cobras, both the parents will guard the nest until the eggs hatch. But the minute the baby snakes hatch, they are on their own. 

It is always amazing to see the red wolves!

zoo knoxville animals

Dale’s casting was installed back in 2019. It is holding up well!

As the rain lets up, we head over to the red wolf area with Kelly Cox, one of our all-time favorite people. The last time we saw Kelly was the Friday before the pandemic lockdown when she invited us to attend a lecture on painted dogs and get a behind-the-scenes visit with Greg Rasmussen.

Greg is one of the world’s leading experts on painted dogs.  After Greg’s talk, we got home Sat and the world locked down on Mon. Poor Greg didn’t get home to Zimbabwe for almost six months. His flight to South Africa was literally turned around upon landing and sent back to London as the country stopped accepting any new arriving flights, even for African citizens.

The wolves are really active since the rain cooled things off. We watch 5 brothers play & check us out. With only about 250 American red wolves in human care, each wolf is vitally important to help save the species from extinction. We are honored to spend time with them. 

Red wolves don’t eat people!

zoo knoxville tennessee

A sign outside the red wolf habitat. But red wolves don’t eat people!

And while we think the sign outside the habitat is cute, it is very misleading. Red wolves don’t eat people! In fact, there has never been a human fatality from a red wolf. Ever! But the sign gives you the impression you might get eaten. So, we will mention our concerns to Kelly when we send her a thank you note after our visit.

Edgar Evins State Park

Edgar evins state park

Our first night camping spot

Leaving the zoo, we head to our first night’s campsite at Edgar Evins State Park. All the sites are elevated platforms that you drive onto and park.
And while all the sites at Edgar Evins State Park don’t have lake views, Dale scores another great spot (#44) with a killer panorama of the lake.
The temps are cooling off to the 50’s so it should be great weather for hiking.
Dale grills a burger for him and a Beyond Burger (my new favorite plant-based burger) for me. Life is good!

Ferns & spiders, oh my

edgar evins state park

We have never seen so many ferns on our hike.

I wake up our first morning at 4:30 which means I’ve had 8 hours of sleep. I get up, make tea, fire up the IPad and find out it is 3:30 as the clock in the RV didn’t set back to Central time. Oh well, I can get caught up on some emails!

Dale is up by 5:30 and we go on a fabulous hike through glades of ferns, paw paw trees and goldenrod. We are getting lots of ideas for our forest back home, especially the new 0.6 acres we just bought right next door to us.

And we find this cool orb-weaver spider with a triangle on its back. The triangle on their back resembles a flower that attracts pollinators allowing the spider to catch their dinner. Mother Nature at work.

There are a number of great hikes at Edgar Evins State Park and we end up going on 4 of them over a 2 day period. We opt to spend 2 nights at the park to rest up from all the prep work before our trip even started.

edgar evins state park

We see a cool an arrowhead orb weaver spider

A Magical Storybook Trail

Edgar Evins State Park

A storyboard seen on a hike at Edgar Evins State Park

Our last hike before leaving the State Park is designed for children, called the Storybook Hike. We take Gibbs and he is not impressed but we are!

Ten storyboards were placed along a half mile hike through the woods. Each one describes an animal and its activity while counting from 1 to 10. It was fun and I am sure kids would love it. Plus, we have never seen anything like it before. Very imaginative for a state park.

Tomorrow we head toward Kansas City & Omaha. Whoo hoo! 

 

edgar evins state park

Gibbs is not as impressed with hiking as we are!