Monday, July 4, 2011

Cummins Falls: A 4th of July Weekend Adventure

KG and I wanted to do something excellent for the holiday weekend being that we have never BOTH been in town for a 4th of July weekend in recent years. I, personally, always head to Missouri to spend the weekend/week with my family at our lake house located in Lake of the Ozarks, MO. But, I digress, something big had to be planned and I believe we fulfilled our goal with a trip to Cummins Falls in Jackson County, TN.

From the overlook at the top of the falls.

We learned of Cummins Falls at the Nashville Earth Day Festival back in April. The land was bought by a private individual at public auction in May 2010 after a planned development fell through. The owner has agreed to give The Tennessee Parks and Greenway Foundation the option to purchase the land to preserve the area into a state park. The Foundation has until December 2011 to raise $1.3 million and they already have approximately $900,000 raised. At Earth Day Fest we learned the Foundation hosts guided hikes the first Saturday of each month and despite the predicted 96 degree high we decided Saturday was the perfect time to seek out our adventurous side.

The hike is described as a 3 hour moderate to difficult hike which involves a shallow river crossing and boulder hopping. I'd say this is about what we got. The first part of the hike involves a descent down the bluff into the river bed. There was one part in particular I decided it was easier to go down on my bottom :)

Once we got to the river bed, we walked a little less than a mile to the base of the falls. The water was cool and felt so good. Walking the river bed wasn't so bad until we got to the boulders we had to cross to get to the beautiful, turquoise pool at the base of the falls. This is where I lost my balance and got my battle scare of the day.




Every bruise, scratch and sore muscle was well worth it to make it to the destination.






The water was so refreshing. We swam, I sunbathed on a rock and jumped from the ledge of the falls into the water. Not only was it so fun, but I challenged myself to go outside my comfort zone. Not only taking a hike I am not familiar with, but to climb on up on the water fall and jump from it? Not something I would normally do because of my fear of plummeting to my death. ;)

After enjoying the some peanut butter sandwiches and some more fun in the sun we decided to pack it up and head back to the car. Instead of taking the way we came, we decided to do what the locals do and climb straight out of the gorge via ropes - and boy were we in for it!

Via Southern Wanderings

All I can say is - OH MY GOSH! Do you see the rocks? And the ropes? Oh and the 80 foot bluff? Yep, that's how we climbed out of the gorge - by using a series of 6 or so ropes we lifted ourselves over rocks, tree branches and mud straight up the side of the bluff. SERIOUSLY, I was secretly dying inside. Remember my fear of plummeting to my death? This is my worst nightmare and not to mention something I NEVER would have (or could have) done 70 pounds ago. EVER, EVER.

I honestly think my last 6 months of yoga practice helped in this endeavor. All those downward dogs and warrior poses have helped my strength and balance tremendously. I was so proud of myself (and KG) when we reached the top with no problems and only a few scratches and bruises to show for it.

It was a great day and opened my eyes to a meaningful cause. I never want to see my state lose such a treasure to private ownership or development and I encourage those of you in the area to visit the falls via The Tennessee Parks and Greenway Foundation and Save Cummins Falls Facebook page.

8 comments:

KG said...

Man- this post just makes me want to go back!

Diana P. said...

That's sound perfectly amazing! I may have to make a trip over there next time I'm up in TN! Great job on the rope climbing--that looks incredibly hard!

Cammy said...

Thank you for posting about this park! I'd never heard of it! Now it will be a destination.

Emily said...

It's truly a beautiful spot! I suggesst going with the TN Parks and Greenway Foundation and not on your own. The terrain can be treacherous and the guides from TNPGF were very friendly and informative!

Sarah Geerling said...

Oh my gosh, Emily! I'm jealous, that looks like so much fun. Congrats on climbing that gorge wall, too!

Heather said...

You must take me there.

Big Life, Little Blog said...

Sarah and Heather - we will totally take you there! (Sarah you have to come visit, though)

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