Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.

Henry David Thoreau

David's Saturday Afternoon Paddle

Saturday April 30, 2011
Site 79 C
Cumberland Mountain State Park, Tennessee

I may have been the first paddler ever in a private boat on this lake. 
I was the only one today which surprised me
given the beautiful blue sky and perfect temperatures. 
But they were not renting their boats out yet,
and had only gotten word 3 days earlier
that they could permit private boats
(canoes, kayaks and trolling fishing boats)
for the first time,
so the word was not out to the public yet. 

Historically they only allowed their own rental boats on the lake,
so I thought I should make the most of the opportunity. 
Sorry that Sherry was not up to it.
I was not going to let that stop me. 
This was too sweet a deal being so close and easy to get in and out.
It was about 3 PM and I figured we could be back by 5,
but Sherry wasn’t so sure about that
or if she was up to yet another exertion. 
I was on the water at 3:10 and out at 4:42
so it was only a 1.5 hour paddle,
but well worth it.

First I headed over to see the fine bridge
and dam built by the CCC in 1936 I believe.

Next I headed back up the lake
to see how far back I could get
on the section of the lake perimetered
by the Pioneer trail we had run in the morning. 

I had hoped to get to the suspension bridge at least,
however progress was halted abruptly
where a large tree had fallen shore to shore. 
Portaging was too much effort due to mud on one side
and a steep bank on the other, so I turned round at this point.

Heading back I ran in to this family of geese. 
I wondered if duckie would have liked to swim
with these little furry babies. 
They were mighty cute.

A little further down I came upon
what looks like a very lost shore bird. 
Perhaps he was blown off course
in one of the MANY recent tornadoes.

I was almost back to the dock
when I realized I had not been appreciating the trees from the water,
so I retraced my course to make sure I took in their grandeur
from the vantage I had in the water. 

The colors, the heights,
the different textures and profiles
gave each tree its own character. 
As you may know, the Eastern Hemlock is in peril
from the wooly adelgid so if you want to see
some magnificent hemlock and pine forest
you should add this place to your bucket list
and get in here soon. 

Many of the trees here look like old growth
with chest-high girths of 2 to 3 feet in diameter
with a few larger than that. 
A hemlock is in the middle of this shot
with the taller darker pine behind it
flanked by maples and dogwoods.

Another cool discovery on my paddle was this unique bench
perched above the trail on top of a fine rock outcropping
which takes your attention when you are on the trail
because it has a cool alcove underneath and faces a babbling stream. 
A great place to get caught in the rain I thought. 
But who knew there was a cool bench up there
for a fine view of the river when it wasn’t raining?

Heading back in toward the boat house, bridge and boat dock
feeling very fine.


  1. Hi David,

    Thanks for the nice paddle...
    Enjoyed the tour and photos.

    We have to put this state park on our TODOS list!!

  2. I think you would enjoy their trails and possibly the buffet meals too. Paddle is easy, short and sweet. Did not find biking here - too hilly for us. Summer might be a whole different experience with heat, bugs and hordes of folks. We LOVE April and May bcause the weather is fantastic and the crowds are not out yet. What will we do iin June, July and August? I'm thinking way north ... ;)


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