Tag Archives: Costa Rica

Narrows of the Harpeth

5 May

My wife came up with the idea to go hiking, and I thought it was an excellent suggestion. We have done a little hiking together before. The first time was the Alum’s Cave Bluff Trail in the Great Smokey Mountains. Another time was around a volcano in Costa Rica. Those were hikes while dating. This was our first hike as a married couple.

It was up to me to find a place close by, and I settled on the Narrows of the Harpeth Trail in Harpeth River State Park. It would be new territory for the both of us.

The park is just past Pegram, which is west of Nashville. That is opposite of us. I plugged in the GPS, who I fondly refer to as The Bitch, and headed west on Interstate 40. I have to give The Bitch credit. She took us to within a few hundred feet of the trailhead.

The Narrows is a rock outcropping that sits in a narrow bend of the Harpeth River. It is mostly used as a place for people to fish or begin a kayaking excursion. The bend is so narrow that the river almost comes back and runs into itself. Other people may fish or kayak. We were going to hike.

The first part of the trail is an incline that takes you to an overlook. From this perspective, you can see the surrounding landscape. Immediately in front of us was beautiful farmland.image-22

There was also a great view of the river below.image-23

After making our way back down, we walked to the other side of the bend and walked along the river bank.


At the end of this trail, we found something historic, and everyone knows how I like to find something historic. To put simply, it was a tunnel with water shooting out of it.


However, this was not just any tunnel. It is one of the oldest manmade tunnels in the United States. Montgomery Bell, a wealthy industrialist, used slave labor to dig a diversion tunnel as a power source for his ironworks, Pattison Forge.

Watching the water surge from the tunnel, I thought of several things.

There was once an industrial complex at this site, and, now, it is a nature trail. I wonder what Bell would think of his investment being totally gone. This tunnel is all that is left.

Also, people have a misconception of the life of slaves in the antebellum South. They think of people working in a cotton or a tobacco field. However, slaves were forced to work in other economic areas, as well. I cannot imagine the hard work and suffering it took to dig a 290-foot tunnel through solid rock. These people were not forced to work in agriculture. This was big industry.

As we walked back, I thought about a story I once heard. Some former students were kayaking in an inebriated state and went into a forbidden tunnel. I heard the story of their terrifying ride through darkness without knowing where they were headed. Suddenly, the water fell away and only air was underneath them. Suddenly, it hit me that this was the tunnel.

We decided that on our return trip we would kayak instead of hike. However, I am not going to make my way into the tunnel. I believe the best view of the tunnel is from the outside. The slaves who built it and the students who ventured into it would probably agree with me.

There Is Not Much Quite Like

27 Feb

While walking on the treadmill, I started thinking about how lucky I have been. That luck has come in numerous ways, but I was specifically thinking about travel. My mind went to some of the great places I have visited and the great sights I have seen.

There is not much quite like…

drinking wine in the chateau of Inglenook Vineyards.Honeymoon 016

catching the sun set over the buttes of Monument Valley.West 2010 232

hearing the water break on the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor.

leaving an offering at the grave of Wild Bill Hickok in Deadwood, South Dakota.

watching the Potomac River flow behind George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon.

feeling the power of water rushing over Niagara Falls.

zip-lining through the trees of north Georgia.

climbing the mesa at Ghost Ranch and looking the landscape often painted by Georgia O’Keefe.SONY DSC

sitting on the porch of the Old Faithful Lodge and watching buffalo roam through the geysers.

lying in the grass of Jackson Square and eating a beignet from Cafe Du Monde.

floating down the Rhine River and looking at the castle ruins passing by.

staring at the presidential faces of Mount Rushmore.

playing Blackjack at a Las Vegas table and watching the chips come and go.

touring Graceland and seeing The Outlaw Josey Wales playing in the TV Room.

hanging out on a beach in Cancun and watching my stepdaughter play volleyball.Cancun - Volleyball

strolling through the Vatican and trying to get a glimpse of the pope.

reading a book by a pool in Costa Rica.

climbing a waterfall in Jamaica.

being mesmerized by the killer whales and bald eagles in Glacier Bay.

dancing to “Me and Mrs. Jones” in a nightclub in Chicago.

standing in silence at the bombing memorial in Oklahoma City.SONY DSC

trying to see the tops of the Giant Sequoia in California.

driving through Hereford, Texas and passing thousands of head of cattle.

betting on Jai Alai in Florida.

lounging on the couch and watching television with my wife.

A Post About Nothing

12 Apr

It’s completely quiet in the house. The only noise is the rain falling outside. I sit in my chair with the laptop in my lap (where else would it be?) and with the television on mute. There are things that I should be doing, but I am blogging about them instead of actually doing them.

I need to pack because I am going to Atlanta tomorrow. The last time I spent a few nights in Atlanta this happened.Tornado

I need to get on the treadmill, but I keep getting sidetracked by a bag of Pecan Sandies.

I need to fill out checks for income tax purposes. April 15 is still a few days away, and the government can wait. All they are going to do is take good money and waste it.

I need to turn the volume up on the television. It looks like they are having a very interesting conversation about the day’s action at The Masters. I used to watch the tournament every year but have gotten in a habit of missing it. This year, I will be busy doing some things in Atlanta. Last year, I was busy doing some things in Costa Rica.

A big storm was supposed to hit us today. It rained a lot, but there was nothing destructive going on. When I was in the bank, a lady said that she hoped it didn’t hit us. That made me start to think. Did she want it to hit someone else? That’s the kind of stuff I think about at the bank. I also wonder how much money they spend on suckers. I don’t know about your town, but around here all banks have candy sitting around for the customers.

I guess that’s it. I really can’t think of anything else to write about. Well, I have a posting idea in mind, but it will need to wait. There’s all this stuff I need to do, and I am close to falling asleep. The rain must be doing that.

Alas, there are two other things that need to be done. I have to get the towels out of the dryer, and I have to clip my fingernails. They absolutely drive me crazy when they get too long.

So, that’s it for now. I will check back in a few days from now with a report from Atlanta. Surely, it will be better than my last trip. Of course, if you didn’t click the link you don’t know how bad it was.


10 Apr

As Douglas MacArthur once said, “I have returned!” Although he was returning to the Philippines during World War II, I have returned to Tennessee from an excursion into parts unknown – the same place that a lot of masked wrestlers came from.

As happens a lot when someone is gone for a length of time. I came back to some alterations – not in my real life but in my blog life (which are quickly merging).

As I flew home, I couldn’t wait to open up the Surrounded by Imbeciles portal and see what I have been missing. Imagine my surprise to see a big red/yellow/orange map on a new look Site Stats page. It is a really cool addition, and it was interesting to see not only how many people have been looking in but also where they are located when they look. All this time, I have been thinking that people in a few states have been checking out the blog. In actuality, these blogs go all over the world. Imagine that! It makes me realize how big and impactful the Internet really is. Thank you, fellow Tennessean Al Gore! I know, an old joke that I have used before.

I know you blogging folks have probably been playing around with your maps. I just got into mine and found some interesting stuff. Obviously, the United States sits at the top by a wide margin. I write about the things I know, and most of that is in the United States. It makes me wonder what someone in Gabon thinks about some of my references.

Completing the top five are Australia, Canada, Indonesia and the United Kingdom. Other ones that I find interesting are Jordan, Barbados (because it’s a great island), Turkey, the Russian Federation (I wonder if Putin feels as if he is surrounded by imbeciles.), Malta, Bangladesh and Costa Rica (because, well, I just wanted to mention Costa Rica).

Anyway, I just wanted to get back into blogging mode after some time off and thank WordPress for their cool map. I always say that people should be able to read a map. That bitchy woman who gives you directions from the dashboard just isn’t the same as Rand McNally. I only wish that they could break down the states as well. Although, they may have done that, and I just haven’t figured it out yet. At any rate, it is good to be back in the blog world.