Lynn and I continued on our waterfall journey yesterday. We have a copy of the book, Waterfalls of Tennessee by Gregory Plums. It lists all the waterfalls in Tennessee along with his ratings and directions to the falls. We are on a quest to visit as many as possible. The falls above are called Jackson Falls. Due to low rainfall in Tennessee, the waterfalls we visited were just trickles but still beautiful. Jackson Falls are located around mile marker 408 along the Natchez Trace Parkway. The walk is steep but paved.
West Mead Falls are right in the middle of Nashville in a beautiful subdivision right off Jocelyn Hollow Road. There is no walk and you can park on the dead end road.
Bell Falls above are actually a tunnel built through a 300 ft. wide ridge separating a bend in the Harpeth River. They are in the Narrows of the Harpeth State Park. You can see one side of the tunnel after a short walk, but the other side (above) is a longer more strenuous walk along the river. Branching off from that trail is a 1/3 mile climb to the top of a rocky mound. It’s really fun on the knees but well worth the view from the top.
This is our third outing in search of waterfalls. So far we have not been disappointed. Brad and Brigid, our traveling mascots seem to enjoy the trips too. They get just as hungry and we do so we always pack a lunch to enjoy on the way. They do enjoy their champagne and it’s a part of our tradition that we started way back in 2004 on our first Thelma & Louise adventure.
As for the waterfalls, it’s amazing what you can find to explore so close to your own home.
Last night was the perfect weather for a campfire! When we went to Bledsoe State Park a couple of weeks ago there was a burn ban in effect due to the lack of rain in September so we were ready for a big fire! I picked up a packet of color flames at Cedars of Lebanon State Park, and I was eager to see if it worked. I was not disappointed as you can see from the photos above. The colors lasted more than 30 minutes, and we sat mesmerized by the show. These photos were taken on my iPhone XS. I enjoyed seeing what spectral images Mother Nature chose to reveal. What do you see?
If you have trouble quieting your mind try gazing into a fire. The dancing flames will take you far far away and suddenly all those nagging thoughts will magically disappear! You won’t even know you are meditating!
Calypso made her third voyage on October 14. Dan and I want to camp in every state park in Tennessee, unfortunately some parks don’t have campgrounds. The second voyage was to Bledsoe Creek, near Gallatin, Tennessee. I’ll add that one in later.
Number three took us to Nathan Bedford Forrest State Park near Camden, Tennessee. It is named for the Confederate General during the Civil War. It’s a beautiful park that sits on the Tennessee River and Kentucky Lake. There are over 2000 acres of forest to wander. It’s a small campground and the only lakefront sites are for primitive camping only. That’s not for me, Calypso offers me all the comforts of home in a more rustic setting!
If you love hiking there are miles of trails. There’s even a 20 mile loop for the experienced hiker. The camp host told me that lots of people hike that trail in preparation for future hikes like the Appalachian Trail. There is a short trail right at our site that joins that trail about quarter of a mile in. That’s more to my liking. I can go for a one mile hike or a ten mile hike and come right back to my campsite when ready. Photo below is the view from our patio!
Photo below is the beginning of my first branch weaving. It took awhile to find the perfect stick, had to walk at least a mile! Maybe I will make some progress later this afternoon.
Thelma and Louise have not had an adventure in several months so we decided to take a day trip to Rutledge Falls. It’s a beautiful waterfall between Tullahoma and Manchester Tennessee. It’s on private land but the owners allow you to visit from dawn till dusk. They also allow fishing!
There’s the remnants of an old moonshine still on the hill above the falls.
Lynn likes to get her toes wet! And Brad and Brigid, our faithful mascots enjoyed the peaceful sound of the water.
Down the road a couple of miles is Machine Falls. It’s about a 3 mile hike to the falls. Don’t let the photo fool you, it was a lot of climbing down and up, but the falls were worth the effort. It’s amazing how many hidden gems you can find if you look. A fellow hiker told us about a book called Waterfalls of Tennessee. Lynn just got the book so we might be on a mission to see how many we can visit.
As is our travel tradition we had a nice picnic at Barton Springs on Normandy Lake. The “kids” climbed trees and enjoyed the sunshine! It’s good to get out in nature and all of this was less than two hours from Nashville!
We were greeted at our campsite in the afternoon by this very friendly squirrel. He was not shy at all. I gave him some grapes which he devoured. I offered him a strawberry and he turned his nose up and just sat looking at me. I offered him a grape tomato and still nothing. I found he had a taste for Asiago flatbread chips! These he loved. I watched as he turned the chip around munching on the edge. He seemed to be smiling with delight. He’s by far the fattest and most friendly we have. Heather said he reminded her of the smiling Buddha so that’s his name. He’s come to visit every afternoon usually around three. He’s never come in the morning. I don’t know if he’s sleeping late or just making his rounds.
Oh I forgot to mention that he’s very neat! After each grape or chip he cleaned his mouth. Maybe he was just cleansing his pallet between flavors!
Blue fairies dance on lighted wings
Searching the forest for magical things.
If you look you surely see
Blue fairies dancing beneath the tree!
Lobby of MGM, our home for the week. I forgot how crazy and over the top this town is. It’s almost sensory overload, but it’s an absolutely magical place to be! Jeff and Ashley had the framing expo so Dan, Tristan and I met them for lunch at Wahlburgers. It’s the burger place owned by the actor Mark Wahlburg and his brothers. The burgers were big and juicy and we were fueled for the afternoon.
We rode the monorail to the end of the line and to the Mob Museum. It was fascinating. So much history. Some of the exhibits were very graphic, but unfortunately that is part of history.
The monorail runs through most of the strip and it’s the easiest way to get around.
This is the actual wall from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. When the building was torn down, each brick was labeled and stored. The museum purchased it from the family. I didn’t realize that the opposing mobsters dressed as policemen and acted like they were going to make an arrest. They had no resistance and they lined them up against the wall and shot them with machine guns! The red paint on the wall marks the bullet holes.
Below are some of the bullets and a tommy gun on display.
The museum is located in the old post office/courthouse where the trials led by Estes Kefauver, the senator from Tennessee were held. He was responsible for leading the fight against the mob.
Last on the stop is a speakeasy, and of course some liquid refreshment!
We ended the day in old downtown Vegas. That is where the original casinos were. A few of them are still there. It is an absolute feast for the senses. The lights are mesmerizing. There is a zip line that runs above the street. There’s a crazy light show in the ceiling! People dressed in bizarre costumes and there is any kind of street performer you can imagine, and some that you wouldn’t dare to imagine. We had a great meal at the Chicago Brewery, then hit the slots before heading back to MGM.
The Chicago Brewing Company is inside Four Queens Casino. It’s known for its wood fired pizza and beer. Yummy. I almost forgot to take a pic of the pizza!