Monthly Archives: January 2013

Savage Gulf Tennessee

Last fall we went hiking and camping in Savage Gulf Tennessee for a couple of days with our family and neighbors.  Savage Gulf is 15,590-acre natural area located in the Cumberland Plateau.  Over thousands and thousands of years various creeks and rivers have carved a huge gorge (or gulf as we call it in the south) through sandstone and limestone.  The result–an absolutely stunning area that is basically untouched nature.  Several old growth forests in the gulf have never been harvested so they are full of  oaks, hickories, maples, yellow poplars, hemlocks, ash, and other huge old men standing tall and proud.

Near our camping area, maybe .75 miles round trip on a loop from the ranger station, is Greeter Falls (see below).


One of the things I really like about this area is the isolation.  Even though the hike in to the campsite is only about .5 miles (the folks with babies know this is plenty far), there hasn’t been anyone else there any time we’ve gone.  Additionally, because there are virtually no towns for miles in this area, the light pollution is nil resulting in stars so crisp and bright it feels like you reach out and grab them.


After getting our fire going, we made dinner while the kids played in the area around camp.  We tried to get to bed kind of early because we intended to hike the great stone door trail the following morning.  Our friend Amy is below and made the eggs in the morning and I made some camp bacon over the open fire.


On the hike in Erin and our friend Jennifer chit chatted along with Meredith trailing behind.


Incredible sunset on our way out from the Gulf lookout.


We didn’t get the hike in that we wanted to because we had a ton of young kids with us that had a tough time getting down the stone door.  Next time we’ll take the slightly older ones only so we get to the bottom of the gulf, but we had an awesome time with friends and family.

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This girl is fearless.  She is kind.  She is smart. She is STRONG. She is my daughter Casey, and she is 8.


She knows how to play in puddles (evidence above).  She knows how to ice fish, rock climb, set up our tent, camp, hike, regular fish, snow ski, and now water ski (see below).


She is part of our family with this guy–who is also a stud.  He too knows how to fish, hike, camp, and I have personally seen him hike 1500 vertical feet over 9 miles (there and back) when he was 5 (he is now 7) in the high sierra.  He too is learning to fish and is becoming a good man.  He is an athlete.


And, finally, my little nugget Meredith who is as carefree as they come.  She is truly a breath of fresh air, a free spirit, and she gets a little tired keeping up with her brother and sister.  She is 4.


This is our family and we have another one on the way (just found out that he’s a boy)


We’re trying to raise our kids with exposure to the great outdoors and want to use this as a forum to keep ’em interested.

Categories: Equipment, Family, fishing, Hiking, nature | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Tent Review

REI Kingdom 4

This is our REI Kingdom 4.  It’s a sweet tent, especially for families.  We bought ours a couple of years ago and we’ve camped all over the place in it through all kinds of weather (except snow).  The guy lines hold it very steady in the wind (we’ve camped in 20-40 mph gusts).  We camped through a full blown thunderstorm last year and it held up great and stayed dry.  It has two rooms, one of the kiddies and one for Erin and me, so we can at least try to keep half of the place tidy.  Anyway, it’s super easy to pitch (literally like 5 minutes), and is all around awesome.  This is a picture from Savage Gulf Tennessee.

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What It Feels Like

This picture is worth a thousand words…  I’ll not spoil it with them here.

What it feels like

What it feels like

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Our Camping Machine


So this is our camping machine.  It’s a lifted 2008 Tahoe LTZ with a Defender roof rack.  This thing gets us everywhere we want to go.  I swapped out the 20 inch rims with black 17 inch rims and 35 inch all terrain tires to show a little more rubber.  The kit is made by Skyjacker and I went with the 3.5 inch lift version.  I eventually may add a winch (probably Warn) and a chilled-out front bumper, but for now this is really all I need.

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Porcupine National Forest – UP Michigan

Standing Tall

We go to northern Wisconsin every year around the 4th of July for a family get together.  The area is in Vilas county and there are many, many chains of lakes in the area.  The one we always go to is called the Manitowish Water Chain which consists of 10 lakes that are interconnected through the Trout River Waterway.  Erin’s folks have a cabin on Little Star Lake and her grandparents live on Wild Rice Lake.  It’s about a 45 minute boat ride, door to door.  Anyway, it’s awesome fishing, skiing, boating, and swimming.  The kids are building lifelong memories up there.

A couple of years ago, while on this trip, we decided to drive up to Porcupine National Forest in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a day hike.  I took the picture above on the walk in and the picture below about halfway through to Lake Superior.


The forest is located on the shores of Lake Superior (we jumped in and it was cold).  The area is home to a very large tract of old growth hardwoods that light up the forest in a very cool way when the sun hits the canopy.  Next time we come we’re definitely going to camp because I hear the stargazing is awesome up there.

Here’s a picture of my family on the hike out.


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