Tag Archives: hike

Cummins Falls State Park, Cookeville, TN

Today we visited a new park not too far from home called Cummins Falls State Park.  This gorgeous span of 211 acres has an interesting history:

“It is known that buffalo wallowed in the river in a shallow basin about a quarter-mile east of the falls. Indians used this area to kill buffalo as they needed as indicated by the numerous arrowheads found at the site.  In the 1790s, a veteran of the Revolutionary War, Sergeant Blackburn, for whom the Blackburn Fork State Scenic River is named, was awarded this land in lieu of a pension.  This land was acquired by John Cummins in about 1825 on which he built the first of two water driven mills.  Because of a growing clientele, a second and larger mill was built in 1845 about a half mile or so before the falls.  Local area residents came to the mill and the falls for commerce and recreation. The mill was washed away in a great flood of 1928, but by then cars and paved highways had made the trek to Cummins Falls more of a discretionary trip than a necessary one. The mill was not rebuilt but this land stayed in the Cummins family for more than 180 years until a recent  effort of private individuals and public institutions worked together to purchase the land for resale to the State. “

Since today the temperatures dipped down into the 50′s/60′s (hello Fall….finally!) we decided to take a family hike and explore this new park.  It’s lovely and we can’t wait to go back and spend even more time hiking the area.  We didn’t spend the whole day at the park as we had some other nearby outdoor areas on our agenda for the day as well.

Little Man leading the way.

Big Brother playing “I see you!” which is his version of peek-a-boo.

Big Brother was being awfully silly today, which I can’t complain about since this past week was a really rough one for him in every way.

I never get tired of this site!

Little Man mesmerized by the falls.

We had such a fun little hike.

After visiting the falls, we headed a few miles down the road to the Caney Fork River where I tried out some of my fly fishing skills. No fish tales to speak of, but at least I got out and tried!  Maybe I’ll have better luck next time.

Empty handed, but happy nonetheless!

How did you spend the weekend?  Does it feel like fall where you are?!

Why being outdoors is good for your soul…and your heart

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On any given morning you will find me and the River monster exploring the park near our house.  This particular park is home to a playground, pond and a hiking trail that meanders along a creek, which happens to always be populated with canoes.  As much as River loves to swing we hardly spend any time at the playground itself.  Now don’t get me wrong, playgrounds are awesome, but there’s something magical about a place where a 20 month old explorer can wander around and discover nature on his own. Actually, it’s pretty awesome for me too. My little budding scientist can dig in the mud, catch bugs, feed the ducks and turtles, splash in the water and hike along the creek without being restrained in the hiking backpack.  Just watching him explore on his own makes me feel like a young child again.  Children need to make mud pies and get dirty from head to toe.  They need to be able to feel the freedom that comes with outdoor exploration, but you guys already know that. So why am I telling you all of this?

I have discovered over the course of the last 9 months (the time River has been with us) that perhaps our best “bonding” time has been during these morning explorations.  There are no restrictions and no time limits, no rules, no piles of laundry that need to be done or annoying phones ringing in the background.  There are no T.V.’s and my cell phone does not get service in this particular area.  There are no distractions.  Just me and my baby enjoying what nature has to offer.  These moments are the only time I get what I call the “special smile.”  It’s kind of like an all knowing grin that you flash to your best friend during a moment that’s too special to fill with words…a moment that you know would not be nearly as grand had the other person not been there to share it with you.  Each time we venture out into that wilderness we call the park, I feel our bond grow deeper and stronger.  There is no dvd or toy that lights up River’s face like a trip to the park or a hike through the woods.  The look on his face is priceless and reassures me that being an outdoor parent is the best thing I can be. In fact, it sometimes is the only place where I feel like I’m actually in tune with my son and that I’ve got this mothering thing figured out.  Well, sort of anyways :)

Now I’ve got to go awaken the little one from his way-too-long nap.  Exploring is hard work, you know!