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CT BLOG » Paddling

Interested in learning the basics of casting a fly rod? Ronnie Howard is an expert fly fisherman and guide and he will be holding a class teaching the basics of fly casting Saturday, May 7th at 9:00am. $10 to reserve your spot. Spots are limited so call ahead to reserve your...

Intro to Fly Fishing May 7th 9:00am

Interested in learning the basics of casting a fly rod? Ronnie Howard is an expert fly fisherman and guide and he will be holding a class teaching the basics of fly casting Saturday, May 7th at 9:00am.

$10 to reserve your spot.
Spots are limited so call ahead to reserve your spot. 615.321.4069

 

Two weekends ago, just after turning 45, I finally had the opportunity to go to “camp.” I was never able to attend camp as a kid, and the Cumberland Transit Trail Running Retreat was my birthday gift to myself.   My friend Cheryl Moss and I left Clarksville around 4:00...

CHICKS LIKE ME: CT TRAIL RUNNING RETREAT REVIEW

Two weekends ago, just after turning 45, I finally had the opportunity to go to “camp.” I was never able to attend camp as a kid, and the Cumberland Transit Trail Running Retreat was my birthday gift to myself.

 

My friend Cheryl Moss and I left Clarksville around 4:00 p.m. for the hour and twenty-minute drive down country roads to Lyles, TN, which is somewhere near Dickson. I was glad to have one of us driving and one of us navigating! The retreat center was a bit off the beaten path, but the Cumberland Transit folks had placed signs at several important turns, which turned out to be very helpful.

 

The retreat center was gorgeous.

 

 

Cheryl and I checked in and found out we were assigned to the BIG basement bunk room with 20 other ladies. We were lucky enough to get bottom bunks.

 

 

I was honestly a little apprehensive about 22 of us sharing one room with only two full bathrooms, but it worked out fine. In fact, I think being in that room allowed me to make many more friends than I would have otherwise.

 

Dinner that first night was outstanding, probably my favorite meal there. We had acorn squash stuffed with jamabalaya. I chose the meat version, and Cheryl had the vegetarian version. We both enjoyed kale salads on the side.

 

After dinner, I went downstairs to the bunk room, and about 10 of us, all total strangers, sat in a circle and just talked. We chatted about running and nutrition and parenting. We talked about races we had done in the past and what we were training for. We had an immediate camaraderie. As I sat there talking with these women, I couldn’t help but think,“These are my people. They get it.”

 

At 10:30, the lights were turned out. We had an early morning run planned. I had hoped to sleep, but I found that I just couldn’t quite fall asleep or stay asleep. (That’s my own fault for choosing a bed near the bathroom!)

 

A light breakfast was served the next morning, and then we hit the trails. We could choose a 3-mile, 5-mile, or 10-mile run. I chose to run five miles. The trails were still lush and green for the most part and were surprisingly hilly! Steep hills greeted us every few minutes. I have a hilly half marathon coming up, so it was good training!

 

 

The support on the run was great. We had a run leader and a sweeper for every distance, so no one could possibly be left behind. There was an extremely well-stocked aid station with gels, water, sports drink, and even some real food.

 

After the run, we had brunch with a very filling egg and spinach casserole. Again, the food was excellent. Then it was time to break into small groups for clinics. There were clinics on cooking and nutrition, stand-up paddleboarding, and running form. Around noon, we had a giant group yoga session. That was the first time I’ve ever done 80 minutes of yoga! (photo courtesy of Cumberland Transit)

 

After yoga, a light salad was served that was both vegan and gluten-free. I will say I ate healthier this weekend that I have on any weekend in recent memory!

 

Then it was my turn to stand-up paddleboard! I had only done it once before, so I was a little nervous. Our instructor was fabulous. She was so energetic and gave excellent instructions. It was obvious she loved the sport! This is the end of our one-hour lesson. Our group was great. No one fell into the water. (photo courtesy of Brooke Widmer with Soulshine SUP in Nashville)

 

After paddleboarding, I took some Merrell running shoes and some Altra running shoes for short test runs. I also scored some free stuff from the reps! I left the retreat with both a Merrell buff and an Altra buff (so versatile!), a Merrell hat and water bottle, and Altra socks, plus a small North Face swag bag.

 

That evening, we had a huge meal of delicious bbq from a local joint, plus tons of vegan and gluten-free sides. As a gluten-intolerant gal, I really appreciated these options.

 

For our entertainment that evening, we had wine, beer, and motivational running videos. I left this weekend more motivated to run than I have been in a while! The videos we watched were incredibly inspiring.

 

That evening, I think everyone slept better. Miles of running, nearly an hour and a half of yoga, and an hour of stand-up paddleboarding will have that effect!

 

Finally, on Sunday morning, we left on our final group run. A few of us chose to make up our own route and explored the acres and acres of the retreat center. Splashing through a creek on a cool summer morning with like-minded women was so much fun.

 

We had a huge brunch after the run, and then it was time to pack up and leave. I said my goodbyes to the amazing women I had met, promising to see them on the trails in the future. In fact, this weekend, I hope to reconnect with a couple of them at a trail race in Dickson.

 

This retreat was so well done. The organizers did an incredible job serving great food, planning fun and educational activities, and giving us a BREAK from the real world.

 

The women in attendance were smart, kind, accomplished, and like-minded. Some were experienced trail runners, some were novices; others were triathletes, weight lifters, paddleboarders, and yogis. There were teachers, nurses, doctors, bankers, stay-at-home moms, and fitness industry professionals. ALL were friendly and encouraging.

 

It was nice to spend a weekend in the woods, no make up, hair in a ponytail, being active and eating nutritious foods with chicks like me.

 

Post by: Donna Pittman

For anyone with an adventurer’s heart, or even a bad case of wanderlust, the ceaseless hum of an urban environment can sometimes become too much to handle. After my old ’89 Ford Bronco II, lovingly named Becky, decided she needed a new fuel pump in early June, I was forced...

OCOEE RIVER BOUND!

For anyone with an adventurer’s heart, or even a bad case of wanderlust, the ceaseless hum of an urban environment can sometimes become too much to handle. After my old ’89 Ford Bronco II, lovingly named Becky, decided she needed a new fuel pump in early June, I was forced to stay close to home. There are plenty of things to keep one busy in this town, but, after two months of confinement to the urban landscape, I needed an escape. No longer than two days after my beloved truck was repaired, I headed out with my friend Tim for a well-overdue adventure. We loaded Becky down with some whitewater boats, our mountain bikes, and all of the essentials to spend my birthday weekend in the woods.

 

 

Ocoee River bound, we jammed to some good tunes and talked over the river beta we could remember from our last run down. The Tanasi Trail System runs adjacent to the river, so we planned for two days of morning rides and afternoon paddling to cool off from the brutal August sun. The river was gushing from the dam when we arrived. We knew they had also released the dam above the Upper Ocoee, which runs at a solid Class III+/IV and includes the 1996 Olympic section used for the dual slalom event. Since neither one of us is too smooth in a boat, we opted to run the more familiar Middle Ocoee, which still boasts some stout rapids at Class III.  But first, we hit the trail before the afternoon heat cranked up.

 

 

The trails that make up the Tanasi trial system are some of my favorite in Tennessee. Just west of the North Carolina border, the elevation kicks up quickly and makes for some punchy climbs and short, steep descents. Both of us were aboard our steel hardtails and felt great ripping through the rocky, rooty riverside terrain. We were able to burn about 8 miles of trail in just over an hour and a half. One of which included the Thunder Rock trail. This one-way spur was the most talked-about descent in the area. As we clipped in to head down, I was only able to get in two pedal strokes before a pin in my chain popped out, leaving me more than disappointed and a little worried that our plans for a ride the next day might be ruined. I decided to make the most of the trail ahead of me and kicked my bike scooter-style down the trail until I found enough momentum to carry me through the turns. I couldn’t help but dream that I was World Cup Downhill Champion Aaron Gwin on his famous chainless championship run from last season. I made my way down, clumsily kicking for extra speed when I had the chance and doing my best to lay off of the brakes. When I made it to the bottom, Tim and I both shared a laugh about my bum ride and coasted back to the car to gear up for our run down the river.

 

We ran into some old friends from our Wilderness First Responder class we had taken the year before, and decided to put on with them so we could try out some new lines. It didn’t take long for us to realize that this crew was way out of our league. All of them were instructors in some capacity at the Nantahala Outdoor Center, and they could handle their boats. After we both took a crack at their lines, we decided we had better stay above water for the rest of the day and forget trying to keep up with those guys. From there on out it was smooth sailing. We cruised down the rest of the river, both making it to the other side of Tablesaw, the longest and most daunting rapid on the river.

 

 

Once we took off of the river, it was time for a hot meal and a few brews. We cruised up a dirt road until we found a spot that was tailor-made for a couple of hammocks and a campfire. We kept it simple when it came to dinner. There’s nothing better than fire-roasted brats to put some calories back in an empty stomach.

 

 

The next day dawned with that unmistakable smell of mountain air, and the certainty of an adventure to be had. We got in another two-hour ride (thanks to a quicklink in my chain) and one more push down the river. The sun shone bright in the Tennessee sky and we managed to keep our gear and our bodies intact this go ‘round.  By the time we hit the final takeout, I was burned, sore, bruised, and happier than I had been in weeks. Sometimes it just takes a little escape and some good company to put the world right again.

 

 

Post by:  Jake Lee

  Cumberland Transit has been a Nashville staple since 1971.  If you ask a native Nashvillian where to go to find quality outdoor gear and knowledgeable staff, they will inevitably tell you to head to Cumberland Transit on West End.  They either know, Allen “The Godfather”, Ronnie “Grumpy”, or “Bungalow...

THE CUMBERLAND TRANSIT EXPERIENCE

 

Cumberland Transit has been a Nashville staple since 1971.  If you ask a native Nashvillian where to go to find quality outdoor gear and knowledgeable staff, they will inevitably tell you to head to Cumberland Transit on West End.  They either know, Allen “The Godfather”, Ronnie “Grumpy”, or “Bungalow Bill” in footwear.  CT is a perfect example of a successful locally owned business.  It is the exact opposite of big box stores and franchised businesses.   At CT we consider Nashville our family.  Just like a regular family, you take care of your loved ones and as part of our family, we want to take care of you.  This means that we aren’t trying to sell you gear you don’t need or don’t want.  If we don’t have what you need and can’t order it, by all means go to a competitor and take care of yourself.  We believe that a successful business is not about selling the most products, but reaching your customers on a deeper level and building a relationship of trust.  If we can do this, we trust that you will come back even if it is just to say hello.  Every week we get people coming in the store who got their first bike from us and are now buying one for their son or daughter.  These are the kind of relationships we cherish.  


If you have the time, we want you to leave the store more knowledgeable than when you opened the door.  We staff each section with experts who have years of experience.  Our staff includes road and off-road bike racers, yoga instructors, rock climbing guides, ski instructors, Appalachian Trail thru hikers, fly fishing guides, ice climbers, and this just scratches the surface.  If you know what you need and want to get in and out fast, then we will gladly point you in the right direction.  Otherwise, we use the gear we sell and are more than happy to talk about it and share our knowledge.  We don’t want you to just survive your next adventure, but thrive having the knowledge and the best gear possible.  Please come in and check us out whether you are just visiting or are a Nashville native.  Check us out on Facebook and as always stay venture ready!

 

Until next time,

Phil

What do you do when you have an unexpected snow or ice day?  You find adventure wherever possible.  In the South, we are rightly cautious and excited when snow comes our way and we literally don’t know how to act when everything freezes.  Luckily, I learned from some of the...

Mill Creek Snow Canoeing

 

 

You wouldn’t believe how heavy a canoe is when it is covered with a sheet of ice!  Luckily, it was easy to push along the ground.  This location is around Petus road and is an excellent put in spot because there is parking and a little path that is wide enough for your canoe.  Just out of sight were some steps to easily walk down to the creek’s edge.  With a couple of pushes and delicately getting into the canoe, we were officially canoeing during winter storm Octavia.  

 

 

There is really something quite beautiful about paddling through icy water.  It looks really quiet, but the area was actually teeming with life.  Among the different creatures we encountered were  Kingfishers, Cardinals, and ducks.  Throughout our journey we kept catching up to a few ducks who were probably annoyed by our consistent following.  They got a little rest though because we were easily bogged down by shallow sections.  We thought everything was going well until….

 

Suddenly the creek was only about 4 inches deep requiring portaging.  Turns out that portaging on frozen ground is more fun than a chore.  The canoe easily slides across the ground.  It gave us a chance to stretch our legs a bit and imbibe a spirit or two.  

 

 

After working pretty hard and getting warm, we were able to have a little reprieve in the straights.  We finally had smooth sailing.  Eventually we had to keep moving so our hands wouldn’t freeze.

 

It wouldn’t have been an adventure without a little more solid snow and ice to work through during the last bend.  Several people were taking our picture no doubt thinking we were crazy wanting to canoe during a winter storm.  After loading the canoe back on the car, we head home for some well deserved hot chocolate.  

Happy Adventures!  Check us out on Facebook

 

Phil Fair

After spending the last 6 years working in Utah and taking advantage of the infinite outdoor adventure opportunities, I’ve moved to Nashville to start another chapter in my life. The 1,631 mile drive was not the first time I’ve traveled across the country to search for new life experiences. It...

Phil's Finds

After spending the last 6 years working in Utah and taking advantage of the infinite outdoor adventure opportunities, I’ve moved to Nashville to start another chapter in my life. The 1,631 mile drive was not the first time I’ve traveled across the country to search for new life experiences. It was a little nerve racking, and there was plenty of apprehension & second guessing. Still, absolutely every time I’ve gone outside my comfort zone and taken a risk, it has been rewarded with inner growth, wonderful new friends, beautiful and different scenery, and exciting opportunities.

 

 


Upon arriving in Nashville, I immediately wondered who the adventurers were, what they were doing and where were they doing it. Nashville is known for a lot of things but not as a mecca for high outdoor adventure. Everyone I asked talked about Chattanooga, Asheville, and Red River Gorge as the closest places to find high adventure. But, with a full time job and limited free time, I then asked the question, what can we do right here? The common answer is typically, “not much.” Then I think and skeptically ask “why not?” I realize that there aren’t mountains and roaring rivers like Colorado, or picturesque slot canyons like Utah and Arizona, but we must have the opportunity for adventure. We have to be more creative in how we seek our outdoor thrills because we don’t have huge expanses of open land. In a city of foodies, up and coming musicians, dive and hip new bars, the adventurer has to look at the world in a different way to find their outlets. It could be anything from trail running, slack lining in your backyard, rappelling some local cliffs, or attempting to boulder a large rock you find while hiking. The adventures are here, but we have to search through the urban expanse to spot them.

 


This past week I found my first adventure in the Nashville area. People had told me about some cliffs by the Cumberland River where you can rappel and even do a little bit of climbing. I was a little skeptical, but always open to exploring new areas. Since it has been months since I’ve been rappelling, I, of course, had to make sure that all my climbing gear was set and organized (in case my new acquaintances were right). Remember, plan ahead and prepare so that you are ready for anything. For that matter, be careful to assess your own abilities and don’t even attempt an effort like this until you get proper training and the right safety equipment.

 

Every travelogue mentions how it’s about the journey and not the destination, but can’t it be both? I came to this place to rappel and ended up finding an environment that looked more like Ireland than one you’d find within a 30 minute drive of Nashville. Just look at these beautiful unspoiled clumps of soft green moss in the middle of winter!

 

Here I’m preparing for descent down the cliff. If you look closely you can see the remnants of a fire showing others have ventured here before me and have possibly experienced how wonderful food tastes out in the open. Chacos on, water knots tied, and an equalized anchor, I was almost ready for my adventure to begin.

 

Just out of sight of this picture is one more ledge to stand on. It’s actually the perfect transition into rappelling. Fortunately for me, it was necessary so that I could safely check to make sure that my rope hit the ground. Luckily I had about 15 feet to spare, making this a 135’ rappel. Always make sure your rope hits the ground before you start your descent.

 

This rappel is going to be a little different during the summer. Can you guess why? Not sure if this is kudzu, but it’s going to be a bit more problematic getting through this leafed out growth during the summer. The main beta (technical tips) for this rappel is to kick out just before getting to the ivy and rappel really quickly until you are past it.

 

Just as we were calling it a day and getting ready to head home, we were rewarded with the site of this huge and silent barge that happened to be passing by. It was a true reminder of the power of nature. The Cumberland River carved the cliffs that we just rappelled and continues to provide an effective means of commercial transport to this day.

 

Technical Gear

Bluewater II 7/16” Static Rope 150’

Bluewater 1” Tubular Webbing 50’

Black Diamond Half Dome Helmet

Black Diamond ATC-XP Belay/Rappel Device

Black Diamond RockLock Carabiner

Black Diamond Super 8 Belay/Rappel Device 2014

Patagonia Down Sweater

Chaco Z/2 Unaweep Sandal

 

Until the next find,

 

Phil Fair

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