gamut (2006-41)

We don’t have anything against Mother Nature. We’re not saying East Tennessee’s reputation for crayon box-hued fall foliage is undeserved, or that there’s anything more delightful than diving headfirst into a big, crunchy pile of leaves. We have lots of admiration for you sturdy North Face-types, who gallop off to the mountains at every opportunity to engage in sweaty, strenuous outdoor activities.

But you’ve got to admit, nature has its drawbacks. Mosquitoes, bear attacks, deer turds, sunburn, cell-phone static… you name it, we city slicker-types would rather not have to deal with it. And that’s why, for this year’s Metro Pulse Fall Guide, we’ve decided to ditch our usual endorsements for autumnal splendor, our clichéd enthusiasm for day hikes, our forced appetite for trail mix, and tell you the cold, hard truth: There’s no bar at the top of that mountain. So we’re staying home.

That doesn’t mean we’re forfeiting our seasonal urges to hike, bike, rock-climb, camp, float and fish. We’re merely altering the context.

Presenting: MP ’s first-annual guide to enjoying the great outdoors without ever leaving the city.

Our guide is versatile enough to suit both novice and the experienced adventurers, whether your idea of a good time involves fishing in Market Square or trekking up the stairs to Club LeConte. Hey, we don’t judge. So top off your water bottle or flask, load up your backpack with granola bars or beer money, and join us for an outdoor escapade you may not remember, but we can guarantee you’ll never forget.

When Shawn McCann isn’t working at Harper’s Bike Shop, he’s trying to break his neck. Shown here at Krutch Park.

Backpackers Houghton, Mathews and Kiser climb to the summit of Club LeConte.

Tomato Head employee/former Eagle Scout Nathan Zimmerman makes friends with a black bear in Krutch Park. Flask courtesy of Bliss, bear suit courtesy of Big Don the Costumier.

Brad Breggs, a UT graduate student in recreation and leisure studies, scales “The Rock” on Frat Row.

Tomato Head employee Joy Davis takes a break from work to hang out with her horse and practice her aim on Gay Street. Hat and gun courtesy of Mast General Store.

Russell Smith enjoys fly-fishing at his favorite fishing hole, the TVA fountains, after work.