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.
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.
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
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…
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…
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.
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:
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.