Suck It Bear Grylls

This week I took a “vacation”. Sort of, but I refuse to acknowledge the word “staycation” as applicable in daily verbalization. I mean who am I Tyra Banks? Have ya’ll noticed she makes up words (thinsperation)? Perhaps not, maybe you remember she uses visual props such as a vulva puppet? You’re killing me Smalls! Moving on.

Stinks McMuff wasn’t invited back on the show…

So, while my son went on a real vacation, with his dad, I made the most of four days off work and explored Tennessee. I ventured beyond Wal Mart and meth labs to bring you a review of my backyard vacation week.

Destination #1 Cummins Falls

Cummins Falls is located in Jackson County, TN. This spot was picked on a whim. This park has a down hill hike to the creek bed. I cursed gravity the whole time because it was pretty steep and I’m no mountain goat. In fact the park ranger met us at the head of the trail and told us take this one instead, I almost thought she intentionally lured me to my death like a land siren of sorts…that didn’t sing, and wore high wasted khaki pants. We (as in my friend and I…yeah I have real friends outside of Facebook) waded upstream almost the entire way, being that the creek is large flat rocks. As you hear the roar of the waterfall, you begin climbing bigger and bigger rocks. As you approach, you can see the top of this waterfall and this is the payoff when you reach the ledge of the swimming hole. It’s a paradise.

BAM Nature splooge in yo face!

You can view the waterfall from so many many beautiful angles

You can walk right under the waterfall, or hang out with dudes in hibiscus flower shorts.

So, in conclusion; this place could only be more magical if it were a waterfall consisting of ice cream. Pros: Great place to swim, and a fun hike to get there. Cons: The ranger tries to kill you.

Destination #2 Fall Creek Falls

Sink Hoooooooooole!

This park made me want to scream “America fucks the world!!!” as loud as I could and with all the redneck pride my body could muster. This park is located in Spencer, TN. The above waterfall was the first sight for me, and you can follow a trail all the way down, to the bottom and swim around beneath this monster. Your brain is not ready, but scroll down anyhow…

Yeah, typical view…everywhere…no big deal

Rudyard Kipling would be so impressed.

I can’t even add enough pictures to explain the beauty. What made this trip particularly more awesome was the fact that a church group of 85 teenagers encouraged a detour off trail. Sorry kids, but no one in this group cares about the Beibs…Well we climbed massive rocks only to discover a secluded swimming hole. The water was so clear, not muddied up like school bus window, because kids have disgusting hands…I would rather swim in stagnant filth full of murky grossness than expose myself to surfaces multiple children touch. I’ve been once and have seen only a small portion of the magic that goes on there. I fully intend on more trips and probably more posting, if I don’t run away to live there among the wild animals. I’d look pretty sweet in a leaf suit. Pros: Challenging hiking that promises gelatin muscles afterwards. Cons: There are church groups with 85 flipping kids strong that go there.

Destination #3 Burgess Falls 

Located in White County, TN. This Park has a gorgeous trail that gradually leads you to the base of a 136 foot waterfall. This was actually an adventure last week but worth writing about rather than the park I went to this day. Here’s the link to Montgomery Bell Park if you’re interested. Now back to Burgess Falls…

Tick, tick BOOM

The trail is easy to get down…but entirely uphill on the way back up. At some point I saw angels directing me with traffic signals to heaven.

baby falls along the way…

Yes, you can walk right to the rocky edge of the top of the waterfall, the view is vertigo inducing yet spectacular.

The best part, you wander off trail just a little bit and you find these mysterious buildings and fallen bridges. It looks post apocalyptic. Pros: If you don’t have crazy long hours, this is a good destination, there is not a ton of hiking involved if you stay on trail. A pretty waterfall, duh, and cool abandoned man made fixtures. Cons: There are multiple snake sightings in the water below the falls. “There’s a snake in my boot!” ….”Somebody’s poisoned the waterhole!” Okay, okay I’ll stop. Also a con, when you Google images this douche pops up.

Destination #4 Rock Island

Located in Rock Island, TN (no way! Surely you do jest sir!). This was yet another remarkable day in nature.

The waterfalls appear to come straight out of holes in rock, it’s surreal. The large ferns that grow over the openings make the whole park feel like your a koi fish in a meditation pond. There are literally waterfalls everywhere, like stupid internet memes…everywhere. There are also places to swim, from a sandy designated swim area to secluded swim holes like this:

You can rock hop further than one day will allow

Getting slightly lost ended up being the crowning jewel of the trip. Less people at this site too. There aren’t big waterfalls but small trickles of water from rocks covered in the brightest green flora I have ever seen. The entire area is lush and hidden, like you were let in on a secret.

I really cannot describe in words or show enough pictures that convey how preserved this area felt, as if it were untouched for millions of years.

Again this park is huge, there’s a cave, and huge trails that I didn’t even have close to enough time to explore. Pros: I felt I was dropped off on another continent that day. Cons: The locals, for starters they look like Fankie Muniz, and I asked one man where the waterfalls were (I didn’t know like every freaking where) and he said, ” Ya mean da water fallin off tha rocks? The water?” Yes, yes I meant that. Meanwhile his kid materialized with his face in my car window, I think if I didn’t catch him he would have sucked my soul out of my mouth or something, that damn phantom kid scared me.

 It seems being broke on a kid free week was more spectacular than imagined and all this amazing land is relatively close. So, essentially my week of parks was a full tank of gas and a lifetime of great memories with cool people.

39 responses to “Suck It Bear Grylls

  1. Incredibly beautiful!
    One can only imagine that if Thoreau had grown up in Tennessee, On Walden Pond might have been a more interesting book, punctuated with curses and delicious rednect rib recipes.

    Glad you had a great time, and that part of the country has just been addded to my list of places to see.

  2. I’m at a loss for words on this one.Pretty or beautiful just won’t do justice for it. I’m sure there were sounds and smells that walk right along with it so I guess I have to see it for my self.Glad I live next door to TN.
    Good Job!!!

    • Put these on your to do list for sure. The sound of water under huge boulders is amazing, that was my personal fave it was like thunder under there!

  3. Okay, Stinky McMuff is the funniest thing I’ve heard all day. And as gorgeous as those Tennessee sights are (and they really are breathtaking), am I wrong to want more Wal-Marts and meth labs?

    • No it’s the American dream. I knew some day Stinky McMuff would be an applicable for my blog! yay me! Actually, Rock Island had a lot of plastic bottle discarded on the trails. I would gladly pick that stuff up but you really need your hands. We want the litterers to go to Wal-Mart for sure…jerks!

  4. I’ve always loved waterfalls, and I had no idea that you have such a spectacularly beautiful selection of waterfalls near where you are, in Tennessee. I’m glad that you had such a rewarding experience going to these places, and thanks for sharing with your readers, because I really enjoyed these photos and your descriptions. Someday I might go and see these waterfalls myself in person, since I know I’d love it.

    Really nice post, Sheena, and a surprising change of pace here on your blog. A successful Art exhibition of your work, and now this… I’m impressed, and I’m also wondering what other surprises you might have for us here.

    • Tennessee is a lovely place and I do enjoy my summers here. I would love warm weather longer though that’s my only complaint. Winters here leave you without snow really but you still get all the cold! So no winter sports! I have done a big 180 haven’t I? I suppose my blog is developing right before the reader’s eyes. I look back and I can definitely see my style develop. Mind you, only a year ago I started writing! It’s a talent I never even knew I loved! So, I can see why the surprises, I still don’t know what direction to take this blog, and Im having a hard time sticking to the current theme! So much positive has gone on in my life recently and so many hard lessons have been learned at the same time. This has been a strange year indeed but a growing one for sure. Who knew 28 would be so dramatic? I love this blog, it directly reflects the highs and lows over the year on a personal level. I’m so glad everyone is enjoying this, b/c yeah, you don’t really know that TN has such great natural wonders! I didn’t, not till this summer. I’m glad I do now!

      • KY is the same way. No snow, still gets pretty cold. I think maybe Georgia would be good. Or SoCal!

      • Im so down for Cali! I really want some beach in my life but not enough cheddar for that kind of vacation. Oh well, I never really left home and feel like I went somewhere! I’m so refreshed at work right now!

  5. I had no idea there were so many beautiful falls in TN. Am a bit hurt you didn’t take one of your “Staycation” days to visit me. ;) Pttth!

    • I forget your close! Was is KY? I have been looking at parks there too, it seems anything towards the Appalachian mountains is going to be amazing. Crazy all the falls here in TN, Jamaica is know for falls…but maybe this state should be too huh?

      • I have only been here about 2 or 3 years, so I haven’t seen a lot of KY (and it’s a good bit bigger than my home state of MD), but there are definitely some pretty places here, especially if you happen to have an appreciation for nature. I love the sedimentary rock walls at Green River Lake State Park.

      • Oh? Hmmmm, I’ve heard of Mammoth Cave, but that’s all. I have heard there’s all kinds of awesome parks, I was planning KY when I visit all the TN parks in my area. I personally am not too far from KY at all.

  6. Awesome pictures!! We went to Tennessee a couple of years ago for a camping trip and it was just so beautiful.

    • What a treat huh? I want to take an extended backpacking trip and hike for several days. I’ll have to plan and read up though. That’s how ppl get lost and hurt when they don’t know what they’re doing. Next summer I want to try that. I also want to get into rock climbing or repelling.

  7. I need a REAL vacation to TN! Very insightful. Good work, sister!

  8. Holy **ck, those are such beautiful places! I want to go to Tennessee, now. And I don’t even do meth.

  9. ashleypatterson21

    Didn’t someone try to ‘accidentally’ push you off?

    • NO no I’m too much of a weenie to stand really close to the edge :)

      • ashleypatterson21

        You are like me then, even I have acrophobia ;)

      • Yessss ma’am, I do not jump from high places and have to lay on my belly to look over ledges like that or I get dizzy! lol!

      • ashleypatterson21

        I can’t even lay down and look at it. So yay you! I always used to get these dreams about me falling off a building! :| and that’s the reason why I avoid taking an apartment in high rise buildings :P

      • That’s some serious acrophobia (I’m scared of spiders and snakes so so so much worse). I just get vertigo and feel my legs buckle..which sucks heights never fazed me as a kid :(

  10. Waterfalls and nature are nice, but a tour of Tennessee’s Wal-Marts and meth labs would be equally entertaining, I would imagine. And you’d like be breaking new ground in the blogosphere, though one’s never really certain.

    • I could perhaps take the readers on a journey to walmart with me (no meth labs…sorry) but publix is usually where I see the weird stuff.

  11. I’m about an hour a half from Nashville Airport, if that tells you anything.

  12. A picture of Peter North in front of any of these is gold Jerry, gold !

  13. I always enjoy your photo captions! I can’t wait for a vacation, staycation, or really any kind of cation.

    • staycation is the way to go. Cheap, no stress, and you get to sleep in your own bed. Like I said my little trip cost a full tank of gas, and some food.

  14. Like we were let in on a secret…. I love that.
    I want to go to Tennessee.

    And you’re killin’ me Schmalls! LOVE that movie!

    • tee hee, what a gr8 movie from childhood huh? I was hoping someone would catch that reference! Thank you and yes come to TN for the nature you won’t be sorry :)

  15. Yeah, we get water falling downwards here too. And not just off rocks, out of the sky, can you believe that?

    Jim

    (pics look great, shame I can’t get there anytime soon)

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