Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Narrows of the Harpeth

I took off early on Monday and drove 15 miles west of town to Cheatham county, where there's sort of a patchwork, shabby state park called Harpeth River State Park. I shouldn't say shabby, really, but it is made up of little unconnected pieces and parts of land along the Harpeth River. Well, they're connected if you're in a canoe, which I was not, but otherwise, you have to drive to each little one. I decided to go to the Narrows of the Harpeth part. The Harpeth river is a winding, hairpin-ny river and at one point it doubles back and gets to within 200 feet of itself. Sometime back in the olden days, some guy (Montgomery Bell, whose name is on everything here in town) had his slaves chip a tunnel through the 200 feet, thus diverting a good portion of the river, so that the water would turn a wheel to make I dunno, moonshine or flour or something. Wool. Who knows; the signage was all faded. ANYWAY. All the mill stuff is gone and all you get now is a waterfall shooting out of a cliff face. I've canoed down this part of the Harpeth before and sometimes the water is so low you can walk through the tunnel...but not at this time of the year. They actively discourage it, though and to be honest, if you try it it does feel like you might die at any minute. And the slave part gave me the willies. It's like that part in Tom Sawyer where the go in the cave and oh, someone's there with a torch. Injun Joe? I can't remember; it's all fuzzy. But that's what it feels like. Spooky.

After visiting that part, I doubled back and hiked up the ridge above the Narrows. You get a nice view of the surrounding farmland and whatsthatcalled? Floodplain. My knee did okay hiking up. When you get to the top, there's a verrry narrow part you can walk on, like five feet wide. One mis-step and you would fall a long way and die. I didn't do that. There were children up there and they were running around like crazy, which sort of boggled my mind because really, there was nothing to prevent them from tumbling down the cliff. It was insanely windy up there.

Then I got in the car and drove to another little piece of the park, Newsom's Mill. It sits on the edge of the Harpeth next to a now-broken dam. There was signage that said Nashvillians used to take the train from Union Station downtown out to the dam on summer days and have a swim and a picnic. Which was the LAST time a Nashvillian didn't drive his SUV somewhere, I'm just saying. They also found a skeleton in the original dam when they were replacing it with the concrete one which is now the busted one. The whole thing felt very Blair Witchy or maybe like a place you would have gone to a secret rave back in the early 90s and I couldn't wait to get the hell out of there.

3 comments:

Kitt said...

What a nice way to spend the day.

You need a poodle with you to dispel the willies.

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