Cruising on Last Dance

This blog archives the adventures of Glen and Jill Moore and provides a means of communication for friends and family. Exploration and adventure have been synonymous with boats and water for centuries. The joy of adventures shared while exploring new places and meeting new people has built a strong bond for Glen and Jill. Last Dance is the platform for the exploration.

"The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page." St. Augustine, 354 - 430

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” Mark Twain, 1835 - 1910

"There is nothing -- absolutely nothing -- half so much worth doing as simply messing around in boats." The Wind in the Willows, 1908, Kenneth Grahame, 1859 - 1932

"I've never believed speed and ease are conductive to living fully, becoming aware, or deepening memory, a tripod of urges to stabilize and lend meaning to life." River Horse: a log book of a boat across America, 1999, William Least Heat-Moon,1939 -

The Great Loop -- The current adventure is a circumnavigation of the Eastern United States, cruising north up the east coast through New York into Canada, across the Great Lakes to Chicago, navigating multiple river systems south to Mobile, along the Gulf coast to the Florida Keys and back to St. Augustine. This trip by boat is commonly referred to as the Great Loop. Progress and current location are indicated by the red line on the map to the right. It was titled the Traceless Path in recognition of a German sailor we met in St. Augustine who published booklets of his travels with hand-drawn, detailed maps describing his travels across the water as the Traceless Path.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cumberland River

For those on the Great Loop, cruising the Cumberland River is a side trip, in that it is a dead end.  Traveling up the Cumberland River requires one to travel back down the river to then join the Tennessee River and continue on the Loop.

The Cumberland River begins in Kentucky, flows westward through Tennessee, then turns north back through Kentucky, emptying into the Ohio River upstream from Paducah, KY.

Cruising upriver from the Ohio, boats are lifted 57' by the Barkley Lock.  It is the first of a series of locks that provide deep water for navigation and water-generated power.

One sight along the river, not far from Barkley Dam, is KSP, Kentucky State Penitentiary.  Built in the late 1880's, by Italian stonemasons, it resembles a castle more than a prison.  It is known as "The Castle on the Cumberland".

The river shores are mostly undeveloped.  Miles and miles can be traveled without seeing anything but nature   - flora and fauna abound.

More Blue Herons were observed between Barkley Lock and Nashville than in any waterway along the Loop.

Ospreys, which seemed to be nonexistent on the Illinois, Mississippi, and Ohio Rivers, displayed themselves along the Cumberland.

Remember those White Pelicans that were heading south on the Illinois River?  Well, they make a stopover on their journey south on the Cumberland River.  Last Dance is traveling at a pelican's pace.

Fall continues to follow Last Dance down the rivers.  The leaves were displaying their colors along the Cumberland.

The geology of the river is beautiful, interesting, and sometimes puzzling.  Much of the river has one bank lined with high cliffs, the other is low flatlands.  This changes from the left side, to the right side, and back again in the space of a few miles.

Entering the Harpeth River, Late Afternoon

There are few tributaries and coves off the Cumberland to provide the secluded, quiet anchorages preferred by the Last Dance crew, but the ones that are available are lovely.  The first stop back downriver from Nashville was a spot a mile up the Harpeth River.  Tree-lined banks, quiet waters, sounds of nature, all added to this enjoyable spot.

Leaving the Harpeth River, Early Morning

An interesting visit to the Bumpus Mills fish camp brought another view of the river.  Small trailers provide housing for vacationing fishermen.  The marina does not have a dock large enough for cruising boats, so Last Dance was tied to the floating building that serves as office, fuel dock, and store.  The ridges of the countryside were a challenging hike and there is beauty throughout the Cumberland as evidenced by the evening view from Last Dance's deck, below.


Waterways were the transportation means during the development of the United States.  Because of the transportation and commerce, cities grew up along the rivers.  But, not the Cumberland.  The natural shorelines are rarely adorned with structures and only two cities are along its shores, Nashville and Clarksville.

One of Clarksville's claim to fame is that it is the hometown of Olympic Champion Wilma Rudolf.  She is memorialized with a statue in the riverfront park.  Down the hill, far below, is the city dock.  A measure of the 2011 spring floods is that the water level came to Wilma's ankles.

They are big on statues in this city.  The one at left commemorates the day tornadoes screamed through the downtown, damaging many historic buildings.  Clarksville is justifiably proud of the rebuilding accomplishments and resulting comfort and beauty of the downtown area.

The old post office is a collection of architectural styles.  This has to be a one of a kind building and certainly no other post office in the country shared even similar style.  It now serves as a museum.

The accomplishments of humans upon the land is enticing, but the beauty of the Cumberland River was there millions of years earlier and is still existing there in all its unspoiled majesty, best viewed from the waterway.

1 comment:

WarPony said...

I really enjoyed your story, wrting and pictures - thank you!