Tag Archives: Adventure

Easter Sunrise

Saturday, 5 April, I finished my work at the factory early and, always being one to maximize an opportunity, decided to drive to the fabulous barrier islands of coastal Carolina known as the Outer Banks. The reason was simple, no need for fancy qualifications here, I wanted to take in a sunrise on the beach. So, hotel livin’ for the week, I borrowed the pullout bed covers and a pillow and took off for the coast!

I’ve heard that Wilson and the surrounding environs were at one point called the “Tobacco Capitol of the World,” and driving through the countryside, it was immediately apparent as to why. The land is vivid with color and the soil rich and dark. Things just grow here. I’ve included a picture below.

Coastal Carolina Farmland near Wilson, NC

Coastal Carolina farmland near Wilson, NC

Growing up in Indiana, surrounded by fields of corn and soybean for as far as the eye could see, I felt strangely at home while driving through this area. At once being reminded, based on local utilization of tree lines for wind breaks, of many a road trip north or south on I-65. Except for the hills (which reminded me of Wisconsin) and soil differences, I almost thought I was back home. It was interesting to say the least.

My intermediary destination was US-64 east which from Wilson gave me two options: Take the boring I-95 north and then east OR the more interesting, predominantly North Carolina backroad way to US-64. Choosing the latter, I profited immensely, as I’ve described above. No need to quote Frost but, when given a choice, take the more interesting if you have the time. Slow down. Be here now. Take it all in. Be part of something instead of just causally viewing the blur.

Headed to US64

Headed to US-64

After the back road experience, US-64 was almost a little bit too much civilization for me. It wasn’t the speed limit of 70, it wasn’t the nice roads, it was just the immediacy with which one could recognize the commercialism of the area. After driving for an hour and a half or so, I came upon an area of large, well-organized 60ft x 30ft buildings. I later found out that the buildings are for raising and then processing pigs. I also found out that the eastern region of North Carolina produces more pig products than anywhere else in the region. I used to be vegan. Well, I tried it for about six months. So, seeing the grand scale of this commercial processing operation was kind of disgusting. They just live their lives in these buildings and then eventually, they’re slaughtered. I doubt they ever really get to experience walking around in the pasture. It really makes you stop and think.

Not long after this US-64 went down to two lanes, letting me know that the ocean was less than an hour away. It was quite a scene really! As the sun was going down, everything gained a lovely shade of orange and red; the fiery orange glow of the western sky, coupled with great music, and the smell of Spring all around me, forever imprinted a memory into my brain. Not only that, the full moon coming up over the horizon, as large as I’ve ever seen it, let me know that I made a wise decision to drive out to the coast.

Sunset on 4 April

Sunset on 4 April

As the sun finally set, and twilight faded into darkness, I began to smell salinity in the air. A giddy air came over me. Ten years prior, several friends and I piled into my mother’s minivan and drove from Cookeville, TN, all the way to Nags Head, NC, for 1 week of fun on the beach. Ten years!. An entire decade had passed since I’d last seen the coast of North Carolina. That’s crazy! How much had I changed since then? A whole lot actually.

At 20 years old, life is pretty damn simple. Go to school, get good grades, and learn as much as possible so you can eventually get a coveted thing called a job to support yourself. Daily thoughts being occupied only really with school and what I wanted to do on the weekend. This, as most things in life I took for granted. Me being too absorbed in the day-to-day to really step back and give myself some perspective. That’s the beauty of aging, I had perspective now. Several things being obvious. At 20, besides being more physically fit and capable (read: less bio mechanical issues), able to eat anything I wanted without worry, I was still as headstrong as I am now, just more ignorant. Knowledge is power, and it’s most powerful when you know least. Certainly was easier too. I laughed a little bit at realizing that I still, at 29 years old don’t really have a clue what I want out of life…although I have several good ideas.

Perhaps this is why people go visit childhood places. Being able to touch the past helps us realize potential directions for the future. These tangible experiences ground us and allow ourselves to center. As if by going to these places we can correct any wrongs that may exist, or may have happened there. Although we know that’s not the case.

I thought of this and many other things as I searched within for some direction as the trees faded away and, while crossing a very long bridge to Roanoke Island, was left staring at a lovely moonlit setting. The light of the moonlight reflecting off the intertidal waters, glistened with every passing wave. I thought at once to DeBussey’s Claire de lune and how nice, although cliché, it would be to have that playing while driving over the causeway, looking out over this setting. Vast emptiness reminding me of several painted scenes from the Hudson River school.

Roanoke Island passed by relatively quickly since my thoughts at this point, given the relatively late hour of 9 PM, during a low season, we’re focused on where I could find dinner. Being near the coast, I naturally wanted seafood. The fresher the better. Crossing another smaller causeway I found myself in Nags Head where, driving north on NC-12, I located an open restaurant that, according to Urban Spoon, had decent fare.

Dinner was light, a dozen raw oysters, Carolina style clam chowder, a small seafood salad, washed down with some water. Not bad, but not really that good either. Moyenne. I built it up in my head too much so naturally, I was somewhat disappointed. Rookie move. After dinner, while sipping water, I gently prodded locals as to the best area for me to sleep in my car, with the least possible chance of getting robbed, or worse. They recommended some hotel parking lot, can’t remember which, and noting that, I left in search of beach access. Hunger satiated, I had to see the ocean before sleeping.

So I headed south on NC-12. Destination, unknown! Figured I’d find it when I found it, you know? Eventually off to my right I noticed the light of the Bodie Island Lighthouse. At which point I knew I had entered the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. This was where I’d take in the ocean. And, what I scene it was!

Moonlight over Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Moonlight over Cape Hatteras National Seashore

Not too shabby, huh? Definitely a good end to the day.

Leaving the beach, I thought about sleeping in this access point. But it was a bit too dark, and frequented by too many potential problems for me to stay here. So, given the proximity, I went over to check out Bodie.

Man, the place was dead! Huge parking lot, and not a soul around! This is where I would sleep! Getting out to adjust the car for sleeping, I was met again by the brisk night air. I’d reason that it was 2°C. I was glad I decided to wear pants instead of shorts and had a hoodie, in addition to the bedspread. I knew immediately that I was in for a long night. This was reinforced by the height difference between the fold-down seats and the trunk floor of my Hyundai Sonata. Comfort was not going to be found tonight as I tried to get a bit of REM.

I was awake, but asleep, and much of the in-between, for almost the entire night. Readjusting as necessary to find some semblance of sleep-ability. Knowing then that the next time I rented a car from National, I’d fold down the seats first and check sleep-ability, to allow for the potential of more brilliant ideas like this one.

Just before dawn, and shivering, I glanced over at my phone. It confirmed my suspicions. It was 5 AM and dawn was not going to be here for an hour and a half. Being a practical person, I no longer tried my hand at this game called sleep and perused the Internet to pass the time. All the while being comforted by the gentle flash of light from Bodie.

Predawn came, and with it a very nice scene. The multi hued sky silhouetting the lighthouse and a few trees against it. I took in the scene for a few minutes before taking a photo. I used to love taking pictures, and I still do, but I hesitate nowadays because I don’t want the pursuit of a good photo distracting me from imprinting the setting. And I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised an iPhone could get this.

Bodie Island Lighthouse in pre-dawn light

Bodie Island Lighthouse in pre-dawn light

I crossed over NC-12 to the beach access point and did my best to stay warm for the 30 minutes or so before dawn. This, is why I was here! I definitely was not going to miss it. I snapped several pictures and played around with some of the iPhone filters, the results are below

Sunrise is almost here!

Sunrise is almost here!

Had to show a black & white. I'm quite impressed by my the abilities of my iPhone 5.

Had to show a black & white. I’m quite impressed by my the abilities of my iPhone 5.

And when dawn finally came I was ready! Although my iPhone did not do this scene justice.

Easter Sunrise!

Easter Sunrise!

After this a race began. I had one hour to drive nearly the length of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore to catch the 8 AM ferry to Ocracoke. If I missed it, I’d have to kill an hour before catching the next one. This wouldn’t have been too big of an issue but I had another ferry to catch from Ocracoke to Swan Quarter later that day. This, was the all important ferry that would save me 2 hours of driving and ferry commuting back up the seashore and over to the mainland. I couldn’t be late!

Given the remoteness of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore it’s incredibly easy to speed. Going along and all of a sudden your at 80! Yeah, that easy. The time crunch didn’t help. Here’s a picture to show the remoteness.

Desolation and isolation.

Desolation and isolation.

And here’s another showing a crazy flock of birds going over a bridge. There must’ve been over 5,000!

Headed south on 12! Thousands of birds!

Headed south on NC-12! Thousands of birds!

I made the ferry with 10 minutes to spare and the 1 hour voyage went by pretty quickly. I took a much needed nap and woke up refreshed and delighted to explore Ocracoke. The island is 12 miles long and quite narrow in spots, with a small village at the south end. The village is usually swarming with tourists during the Summer high season but this being Easter Sunday, the town was quite dead. That, coupled with my 9:40 AM arrival served to my detriment. I had shivered all night and hadn’t any food since my small dinner the previous night and was starving. I didn’t find any place open but I did find a coffee shop. And hey, a decent espresso can take the edge off of a lot of things. Eventually I found a restaurant and had breakfast, and afterword took a walkabout the town.

I’m a fan of lighthouses so naturally I had to see the Ocracoke lighthouse (it’s the smallest of all those on the Outer Banks). See the picture below.

Ocracoke Lighthouse

Ocracoke Lighthouse

I really picked a bad time to visit the island since 80% of the stores/artisan places were closed. But on the bright side, it was really nice to take an hour walk in the Spring sunshine. After the walk I made my way to the ferry terminal only to find out that the ticket I purchased that morning over the Internet was actually for the next day’s ferry. So I had to put on the charm to get the officer to get me onto the last ferry to Swan Quarter. Actually, I got the last spot. Lucky day indeed!

I passed the 2 hour 40 minute ferry voyage by reading and figuring out where I wanted to eat dinner in Greenville, NC. I found a Bonefish Grill with decent reviews. I knew then that I had found the dinner spot. The drive from the ferry terminal to Greenville was uneventful. As before, speeding is incredibly easy on these remote backroads. And luckily I was with a fast group of cars!

Ferry nearing Swan Quarter, NC. Stay behind the nets!

Ferry nearing Swan Quarter, NC. Stay behind the nets!

Tree-lined road shortly after departing the ferry terminal. Almost reminds me of the sycamore-lined roads near Lyon, France.

Tree-lined road shortly after departing the ferry terminal. Almost reminds me of the sycamore-lined roads near Lyon, France.

Coastal Carolina is fertile!

Coastal Carolina is fertile!

Dinner was spot on and I endeared myself to the bartenders. I encouraged one to seriously consider home infusions of alcohol and the other, pretty cute actually, seemed to very much enjoy talking with me. I’ll definitely go back to Greenville for dinner!


Life is really what we make of it. You can choose to get out and live life, putting yourself into less-than-ideal situations for absolutely worth it moments OR you can do the opposite, staying in your comfortable bubble, forever maintaining the status quo.

Throw away your television, fears, and worries, and get out and live! Your life depends on it!

– Brett

Advertisements

Taking Stock (& Happy Birthday)

I’m starting to realize that my ability to affect change in the world is entirely dependent on capitalizing my skill sets, most of those being my energy, passion, genuine zest for life, with the ability to solve complex problems quickly. The flipside of this being my perseverance (the piss and vinegar if you will) to push through obstacles and take down my desired fruits from the tree of opportunity, when the aforementioned skills aren’t profiting me. This became apparent on my recent trip to Atlanta to take the DELF A2 at the Alliance Française…

It’s not often that I go to Atlanta, the “New York” of The South, the city upon which all others are judged in this region. I used to go frequently between 2004-2008 for raves at Opera and Wet Bar, so I’m familiar with enough with Midtown by night. But, this time, arriving in the afternoon of 23 March 2015, it was like seeing the city for the first time and the grandiosity of the area was inspiring. Which is just what I needed to smooth my nerves out before the exam. That evening, after studying several hours, I needed to take a walk to find some food and clear my head so I walked to the testing location at the corner of 14th and Peachtree, about 7 blocks or so from my hotel.

Navigating Atlanta streets are nowhere near as simple as GPS devices make it out to be. I can’t tell you the number of times that I made a wrong turn and got caught on one-way streets which forced me onto the interstate and then, 5 miles down the road later I was able to correct, and come back for another go. I didn’t want to repeat this bit of history the following morning of my exam.

Well, during the walk I passed by a place called Café Intermezzo, which upon first glance, looks like the combination of a Parisian and Viennese Café. I made a mental note to check this place out on the walk back. Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures of this place, but let me tell you, it’s awesome! I ended up having a Greek-style salad with a negroni, and had a glass of Chartreuse Vert for dessert. The latter, after having lived in Grenoble, France, is my favorite way to end a dinner, especially with good conversation.

As I was getting ready to leave, I noticed a girl (later found out she is a musician) talking to the server. She saw my glance, and we struck up a conversation. After speaking for several minutes, she joined me at my table to continue the conversation. We talked about many things and she told me several of her life experiences. One of them was how she tried to kill herself during a dark time in her life and how it obviously had failed since we were talking. I then told her that she had only one direction left to go, up. She looked at me cynically so I had to explain to her:

As your world was burning around you, the flames getting more and more intense, you saw only one way out, death, and after your attempt failed and you lay there stunned, crushed, and in disbelief of your unfortunate stroke of luck, the wind changed and you saw an opening in the flames and thus a path to salvation from your dark pit of despair.

Metaphors and allusions aside, she immediately understood what I meant and internalized my story. We talked about society, it’s perceptions, the judgmental nature of people, and how everyone tries to label and place everything into organized little boxes, more for their benefit and comfort and less for those being classified and catalogued. And the simple truth of this is, that for those of us being classified and catalogued, we are only affected if we allow ourselves to be. As the night went on, I had to get back to the hotel for a proper sleep before my exam. I told her this and then offered her 4 bits of advice in parting, writing each into her notebook (she’s a musician after all). I’ve included a picture below (my penmanship could have been much better):

Note to her

It’s funny. I’m no fatalist, but I just get this feeling that I was meant to meet this person. Not so much as in the “Oh my god it’s a girl I want to marry!” kind of way, but as in a person who was privately searching for answers, some known, some unknown, and found them in my willingness to listen and objectively respond. I should’ve figured that this would happen over dinner as I had previously met another person while at the hotel, having a pre-dinner beer.

The bartender, whose name I won’t say, hailed from Norway but, there was no way to tell from her accent. She spoke perfect American English. It was incredible. Anyway, she came to Atlanta for university and now, MBA in hand, works for a technology company close to the hotel. Given her personality, energy, and insights, it was quite evident that she is an entrepreneur. She left her home in Norway for the United States, because her dreams and aspirations and desires are much larger than what Norway could offer. She said the people there are too comfortable meaning: with the beautiful scenery, proximity to nature, beaches, and with the sea so approachable, it’s easy for natives to be content with their location. Don’t misunderstand, she loves Oslo as much as the next native, she just wants more out of life.

I’m exactly the same, just coming from a different country. And up to that moment, I hadn’t figured out a good way of explaining myself to my Nashville and Tennessee friends about why I had to get out of the state. I want more out of life than Nashville can offer, which really seems to upset a lot of people. I’ve always found that so confusing. Why should my wants and aspirations affect your life in any way shape or form? Simply wanting what a place can’t offer isn’t crazy! What’s crazy is getting upset in the first place about the fact that somebody finds a place of habitation much better or worse than someone else. Those are your thoughts, person, not mine. Chill out!

Positivity, love of yourself (not vanity), and drive are 3 of our greatest weapons against the naysayers of life. They are the enemy of negativity. I’m so happy that my year is ending like this! I will definitely let this view, and the realizations from my experience in Atlanta, propel me into my 29th year of life, on the morrow.

Onward and upward!

Brett

Percy Priest Lake Adventure (Hunting Old Roads)

Percy Priest Lake is the largest and closest lake to my house in Hermitage, TN and as such, makes for an excellent place to explore via canoe when the weather is perfect and the wind is just right. The lake provides us landlocked folks an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city and the quiet solace of the tides lend themselves to leisure. Most people, myself included, likely take the lake for granted, simply enjoying the cool, inviting waters on a nice summer day without much thought, but just like Nashville Shores (I used to lifeguard there in 2003) it is a more recent phenomenon.

The lake was formed after the completion of J. Percy Priest Dam in 1967 by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The name of the dam project and the reservoir was originally the “Stewarts Ferry Reservoir” but was later changed by an 1958 act of Congress to its current name. Nothing against Congressman Percy Priest (I never knew the guy) but I wish the lake had retained its original name since it payed homage to the regional history better than the current name. Stewarts Ferry, as I’ll show later in pictures was in most recent times (pre-1967) a cable ferry across the Stones River. Before the invention of a cable system, it was likely a boat ferry, although the latter is purely speculation on my part as it is rather difficult to find information on the subject.

Before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers flooded the low lying farmland to create the lake, several of the present-day disconnected sections of roads, most notably: Old Hickory Blvd, Stewarts Ferry Pike, Smith Springs Rd, Lavergne-Couchville Pike, and Bakers Grove Rd, all ran through the network of farming communities. This is quite easy to see using the “Satellite” view on Google Maps.

Flash forward to the perfect day that was yesterday and bearing in mind the aforementioned information, I set out from the Nashville Shores Marina in the “Big Blue Beast,” aka my dad’s 17′ Blue Hole whitewater canoe, with the intent of finding the “lost” sections of Old Hickory Blvd (OHB) and Stewarts Ferry Pike (SFP). And for those who are wondering where the canoe’s name came from, if you’ve ever tried to tandemly maneuver a 17′ canoe in whitewater (that just so happens to be blue), its analogous to a semi-truck merging across 4 lanes of traffic: a beast of a thing to do! After 2 km of paddling around the Nashville Shores peninsula I arrived at the sunken section of OHB, which is quite easy to miss from a distance unless you know what to look for!

Photo Apr 02, 10 26 53

View of Old Hickory Blvd looking south from Percy Priest Lake. This worn piece of road is all that remains after 47 years of lake tidal action!

Photo Apr 02, 10 27 47

View looking north from above position with the submerged section of Old Hickory Blvd heading into the center of the picture. In the clearing in the center of picture is the present-day road.

Continuing south for 0.5 km around the shoreline I came upon another section of OHB, this one quite large and above the waterline! After landing the canoe on the shoreline, I got out to walk the old road and explore the area! From the beer bottles and other bits of trash it appears that those people with faster modes of nautical transportation have frequently been here. But no matter, it was still good fun exploring and shooting photos of the area! I even came across what appears to be a bald cypress tree! I was quite surprised to find one in the lake as they’re normally found in swamplands and other wetland areas.

Looking north of an exposed section of Old Hickory Blvd with the Big Blue Beast beached on the shoreline.

Looking north of an exposed section of Old Hickory Blvd with the Big Blue Beast beached on the shoreline.

IMG_1358

The most surprising find of the day: a bald cypress tree in the lake!

Bald Cyrpess Cones! I never thought I'd see these naturally in Middle Tennessee!

Bald Cyrpess Cones! I never thought I’d see these naturally in Middle Tennessee!

NOTE: From here OHB continues to the Cook Public Use Area, a local park and boat launch ramp. The area is quite lovely, especially now with the flowing trees, and has plenty of picnic areas and pavilions for outdoor entertaining.

After packing my things, the Big Blue Beast and I continued for another 8 km to what I’ve named “Stewarts Ferry Island” since this section of SFP is normally encircled with water during higher water levels. Upon arrival it is immediately apparent that this used to be the cable ferry crossing station. I’m glad that vandals or others interested in sign memorabilia haven’t torn down the signs and removed some of the last remaining historical elements of this pre-lake history! Although my pictures don’t show it, the area does have several places to camp. The cable crossing sign and some building foundations are all that remain of this once important river crossing point.

View looking east of Stewarts Ferry Island with old cable crossing sign and the Big Blue Beast on shore.

View looking east of Stewarts Ferry Island with old cable crossing sign and the Big Blue Beast on shore.

View looking west from the island of Stewarts Ferry Pike. This was once a cable crossing point of the Stones River. On the far shoreline you can see another blue sign and the old section of SFP.

View looking west from the island of Stewarts Ferry Pike. This was once a cable crossing point of the Stones River. On the far shoreline you can see another blue sign and the old section of SFP.

View looking east from Stewarts Ferry Island toward eastern shoreline. Only the island-section of the road remains. Note on far shoreline the old section SFP continuing through the woods.

View looking east from Stewarts Ferry Island toward eastern shoreline. Only the island-section of the road remains. Note on far shoreline the old section SFP continuing through the woods.

View looking south of the eastern side of Stewarts Ferry Island.

View looking south of the eastern side of Stewarts Ferry Island.

View looking west from Stewarts Ferry Island. Note the old building foundations. I looked around for clues of their purpose but was unable to find anything.

View looking west from Stewarts Ferry Island. Note the old building foundations. I looked around for clues of their purpose but was unable to find anything.

Unfortunately, due to time constraints (I had to make a birthday dinner) I wasn’t able to continue to the last remaining lake-section of SFP, which is another 20-30 minutes of paddling east. I will save that for another day. After taking the above photo, I returned to the canoe and the Big Blue Beast and I set off for the Nashville Shores Marina. All in all, I paddled 18.2 km and had plenty of adventure to show for it! Its amazing what can happen when a persons says “I wonder…..” and then follows it up with action!

A Long Walk on the 1st of February

February 1, 2014 was one of the first warm days of the year, which was especially nice after the recent descent of the Polar Vortex. So, with a high of 63 degrees, and a desire for adventure I decided to walk the 11 miles from Hermitage to East Nashville along the Music City Greenway in the lovely “summery” weather. Please note that all photos are from my iPhone 5.

The walk began at the “Welcome to Donelson” sign on Lebanon Rd just after the old steel truss bridge that was the original gateway on the Donelson-Hermitage line. After crossing the bridge, the greenway heads uphill and continues along the bluffs next to the Stones River. Its quite scenic at all times of the year and during the spring and summer months, with everything in bloom, you forgot that you’re in the suburbs. One of the best parts of these fall/winter saunters are that without the foliage obscuring the woodland views, its quite easy to see the hidden gems along the path: such as old bridge abutments, an airfield, stonewalls, and more! During the warmer months, I like to take my bicycle ‘Icarus’ and ride the greenway to Nashville as it is definitely my preferred method for going downtown.Photo Feb 01, 12 24 13

 

View of the steel truss bridge from the greenway

View of the steel truss bridge from the greenway

One of my favorite parts of this walk, especially when riding Icarus, is the hills at the beginning. Once you climb them, they give you a great boost of speed during the descent, allowing me to reach speeds of nearly 30 mph! However, on this day, since I was walking, it was still nice as the light afforded me many spectacular scenes, especially as I approached the still active farmland, surrounded on half its perimeter by the greenway. Its funny in a way, with the propensity of Scottish heritage in this region, that the rich hues of yellows, browns, and orange, afforded by the dried/dead species of grass would replicate many a scene of the Scottish countryside. After the farmland, you come to a bend in the river, with a tree providing a smidgen of shade, as well as a bluff that provides quite a view of the mouth of the Stones River emptying into the mighty Cumberland River. This is my favorite part of the greenway, and a great spot for a picnic.

Walking the farmland perimeter

Walking along the Stones River bluffs.

Walking along the Stones River bluffs.

Photo Feb 01, 12 52 27

Photo Feb 01, 13 02 48

Once you pass the farmland and the low lying soccer fields, climb the big hill up to McGavock Pike, walk behind McGavock High School, you reach Two Rivers Park. On this day, as on many a sunny day, the skate park next to the Wave Pool was filled with aspiring skaters, BMXers, and skateboarders; although, my picture doesn’t show it!Photo Feb 01, 13 47 20

After Two Rivers is the descent towards the bridge crossing the Cumberland River, where, during the warmer months, its quite common to see the General Jackson Showboat heading towards Nashville, its topside decks filled with tourists in revelry. This is generally the halfway point in the hike as once you cross the bridge, you have 5 more miles until you reach the Shelby Street bridge, the official eastern gateway into the city. Once you cross the bridge and walk the spiral-descending path, you reach the Shelby Bottoms greenway path which parallels the Cumberland River into Nashville.

Western side of the Cumberland pedestrian bridge.

Western side of the Cumberland pedestrian bridge.

The Cumberland pedestrian bridge. As an engineer, I enjoy inspecting the cabling and trying to deduce the loading profiles of each member.

The Cumberland pedestrian bridge. As an engineer, I enjoy inspecting the cabling and trying to deduce the loading profiles of each member.

The Shelby Bottoms greenway tends to be a corridor of foliage, more so in the summer than winter, so I didn’t take a photo of the pathway as it really isn’t particularly interesting. From the bridge its around 3.5 miles before you reach the Shelby Bottoms Nature Center and a spectacular railroad bridge! On the other side of the river is the famed Omohundro water treatment plant. Its notable for two reasons: 1) it was Nashville’s first treatment facility and (2) it was the ONLY treatment facility that wasn’t compromised during the 2010 flood! An interesting story really: local prison inmates were used to pile sandbags as the waters rose and word is, had the waters of the Cumberland rose one more inch, we’d have lost all three of our treatment facilities and the entire Davidson-Metropolitan region would’ve been under a “boil water” advisory for months. But I bet most of the non-local people reading this blog never would’ve known that, as the national media did a complete disservice to our city and barely covered the flooding “story.” Most of us haven’t forgotten this. Alright, off the soapbox now.

Shelby Bottoms Nature Center with the spectacular railroad bridge in the background.

Shelby Bottoms Nature Center with the spectacular railroad bridge in the background.

The spectacular railway bridge which crosses the Cumberland River and Shelby Bottoms area.

The spectacular railway bridge which crosses the Cumberland River and Shelby Bottoms area.

The railway bridge and the mighty Omohundro treatment facility. I love the brickwork!

The railway bridge and the mighty Omohundro treatment facility. I love the brickwork!

Checkout the length of the bridge!

Checkout the length of the bridge!

Once you cross underneath the railway bridge, you entire the Shelby Bottoms park with its many baseball diamonds, golf course, and lake! On this day since it was just after the descent of the Polar Vortex, the lake was still frozen, which the park conveniently mentions is “unsafe ice,” which, during all times but the winter, is a bit odd. Its a “Nashville thing” I guess. Anyways, be wary of unsafe ice in all your activities!

Better watch out for that unsafe ice!!!

Better watch out for that unsafe ice!!!

After narrowly avoiding the unsafe ice, I continued on my walk to East Nashville as my favorite wine store, Woodland Wine Merchant was having a tasting of some great Beaujolais and Bourgogne wine. After the tasting, and seeing my acquaintances there, I caught a ride back to Hermitage to prepare for an art crawl later that night.

Nature walks such as these are my inspiration as well as my “reset button.” Things just make sense during long walks among forests, deserts, or mountains. I highly encourage everyone to take some time for themselves and saunter about through the nearest forest, desert, or mountainous region. You’ll emerge a different person than when you started, I can promise you that!