This week we visited more Tennessee waterfalls. All were as good (or better) than last week. The waterfalls are all very pretty and most of them are easy to access. I promised last week that we are still hunting for more Tennessee waterfalls. This is partly because I had a few more pictures than I could include in last week’s post and partly because we knew we were heading into the mountains northeast of Nashville and this area have abundant waterfalls.
Cummins Falls (inside Cummins State Park) is the picture at the top of this post. It is very beautiful. I am very glad to have visited in April. In the mid-summer, you might as well call it Cummins swimming hole. It is very popular. Even though the hike is strenuous down into the gorge, on summer weekends this waterfall is packed with swimmers.
The history is that Cummins Falls was part of Blackburn Fork State Scenic River. The land was acquired by John Cummins in 1825. John Cummins built two mills along the river that worked for a few years until they were washed away by a flood. Upstream of the waterfall you can still see the foundations of one of the mills.
We started the week camping at the Long Branch Recreation Area. Our last post ( Link here April 18, 2021, Tennessee Waterfalls) described how we scored a campsite right along the river. We were facing backward to the traffic flow in the campground so that our front window was facing the river.
This campsite was on the Caney Fork of the Cumberland River just below Center Hill Dam. We had a wonderful time camping right at the edge of the Caney River. On the last day, they closed all the flood gates and the water level in the river dropped four feet. We had considered making a kayak trip down the river, but when the flood gates were open we would have been in for a very fast ride. The water looked much tamer after the flood gates were closed.
I remember many years ago when Tami and I took a trip to Pagosa Springs Colorado. It was early in May and we decided that it would be a good idea to raft the Animas River in Durango. That year the river was running very full, very fast and very cold. So we booked a trip on a commercial raft. On this trip, our kayaks were not going to be suitable. Some of the rapids looked to be the size of large houses. Our commercial raft nearly flipped hitting one of these large haystack rapids.
The entire valley north of Durango was flooded by the runoff and channeled into the river right through the city. We picked up our raft and we were happy that the river guides were keeping an eye on the water level. We were on the second trip that day and the river was runnable. I didn’t really detect anything too abnormal until we rounded the first corner and saw that the bridge across the river seemed very close to the water. We had to duck under the bridge with our heads and as much of our bodies as would fit below the sides of the raft. It wasn’t really that easy because with nine people all expecting to sit on top of the raft, there wasn’t really room for all nine of us inside.
We made it under the bridge with perhaps an extra foot to spare and I started thinking “didn’t my mother say that I should stay out of rivers when they were flooding”? The next day all rafting on the Animas was shut down – all because of that bridge.
The raft trip was supposed to take two hours and the entire trip was less than 45 minutes. Anyway, as I was watching the Caney river streak by our campsite, I recalled that trip down the Animas River and decided I didn’t really want a fast trip down the river when all the flood gates were open.
More Tennessee Waterfalls
While we were at Long Branch we ventured to Burgess Falls State Park. This is a very impressive waterfall.
On this hike, I started to notice that all these waterfalls flowed over a sedimentary rock that was built up in eons past. Unlike waterfalls in the west, these waterfalls all had a very layered look. Softer layers are worn away by the water and other erosion exposing each layer like a shelf.
Also unlike streams in the west composed of sharp stones, the stream bottoms here were across sedimentary rocks. The stream bottoms are nearly flat. The above picture or the next pictures show the layers of rock.
Each and every waterfall was so unique and pretty. As you can also see, spring leaves are filling all the trees and flowers are really starting to show. Maybe in a couple of weeks, I will be able to focus more on the wildflowers.
Dale Hollow Dam
On Tuesday we changed campsites by moving fifty miles north to the Dale Hollow Dam Recreation Area. We are on the Obey River. This time we got a riverside campsite because I planned for it. This campsite didn’t really have a view of the river, even though it was directly in front of the RV. The very clear, slightly green water was about fifty feet below the RV. You actually couldn’t see the water when standing outside the RV. Instead of seeing the river, all you could see was the trees on the far bank. Inside the RV we really enjoyed the view in our front window.
Standing Stone State Park
Due to more and more campers visiting this weekend, we couldn’t stay the weekend at Dale Hollow. So we moved about 12 miles further southeast to Standing Stone State Park. Standing Stone State Park was created by the Work Progress Administration during the Great Depression. Today Standing Stone State Park has a somewhat outdated campground. They also have many summer resort activities including a swimming pool, tennis courts, and plenty of games right in the campground for children. Of the places we have stayed in the last two weeks — this is the place for family fun.
While we were at Dale Hollow we were told by two different campers that we would never be able to fit our RV into the campground at Standing Stone State Park, so we made a trip to scope out our next campsite. They were right about nearly all the campsites, but our campsite was nearly level and very long. The entrance to our campsite is obstructed by Railroad Ties marking the edge of the driveway on one side and a tree on the other side. Once past the tree, we had plenty of room.
Kaitland and Obi Wan
While we were at Standing Stone State Park we got to see Kaitland and Obi Wan (her awesome aussie) The last time we saw them was two years ago in New Mexico. Kaitland is an inventor and spent last year working in Elkhart Indiana on her new tiny camper made by the Continental Cargo division of Forest River. This tiny camper started life as a cargo trailer and you could have said it is the smallest RV we have ever seen — but it wouldn’t be true. When we first met Kaitland she had an even smaller trailer. This one is at least 20% larger than her first cargo trailer conversion.
Too broken to move
I broke it and at noon today, the RV wouldn’t start. To perform some measurements on my engine start batteries, I had disconnected the wires and when I put it back together I must have made a mistake (s). When it came time to depart the engine wouldn’t start. It didn’t even try to start. The next five hours were spent re-wiring the start batteries and getting the RV to start again. We had to extend our stay here at Standing Stone State Park because we couldn’t leave. Five hours after our departure time all the work paid off and the RV started again.
I guess this is an introduction to my next battery project. We found out during the testing that our engine batteries were not healthy (even though they haven’t given us any problems starting the RV). In one of my upcoming technical articles, I will put some numbers to the problem and show you how unhealthy they are and what we are doing about fixing them.