Paddling the Tennessee River: A Voyage on Easy Water

Overview

In late August 1998, Kim Trevathan and his dog, Jasper, set out by canoe on a long, slow trip down the 652 miles of the Tennessee River, the largest tributary of the Ohio. Trevathan wanted to experience the river in its entirety, from Knoxville’s narrow, winding channel, which flows past rocky bluffs, to the wide-open waters of Kentucky Lake at its lower end.

Over the course of the five-week voyage, Trevathan rediscovered the people and places that made history on the ...

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Overview

In late August 1998, Kim Trevathan and his dog, Jasper, set out by canoe on a long, slow trip down the 652 miles of the Tennessee River, the largest tributary of the Ohio. Trevathan wanted to experience the river in its entirety, from Knoxville’s narrow, winding channel, which flows past rocky bluffs, to the wide-open waters of Kentucky Lake at its lower end.

Over the course of the five-week voyage, Trevathan rediscovered the people and places that made history on the Tennessee’s banks. He crossed the path of the explorer Meriwether Lewis along the Natchez Trace, noted the sites of Ulysses S. Grant’s Civil War battles, and passed Hiwassee Island, the spot where a teenaged runaway named Sam Houston lived with Cherokee Chief Jolly.

Trevathan also came to know the modern river’s dwellers, including a towboat pilot, two couples who traded in their landlocked homes for life on the river, a campground owner, and a meteorologist for NASA. He placed his life in the hands of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers lock operators while navigating the river’s nine dams.

Paddling the Tennessee River is a powerful travel narrative that captures the river’s wild, turbulent, and defiant past and confronts what it has become--an overused and overdeveloped series of lakes. But first and foremost, the book is the story of a man and his dog, riding low enough to smell the water and to discover the promise of a slow river running through the southern heartland.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572331440
  • Publisher: University of Tennessee Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2001
  • Series: Outdoor Tennessee Ser.
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

The Author: Kim Trevathan, who earned his M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of Alabama, works as a new media writer and producer and writes a column for the Maryville Daily Times. His essays and short stories have been published in The Distillery, New Millennium Writings, The Texas Review, New Delta Review, and Under the Sun. He lives in Rockford, Tennessee.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Foreword xi
Preface xvii
1. River of Ghosts 1
2. Something Big 11
3. The Plan 21
4. Uneasy Water: Fort Loudoun Lake 28
5. A Taste of the Old River: Watts Bar 39
6. Sam Houston, de Soto, and the Ghost of Ernest Hemingway 52
7. The Nickajack Nunehi 70
8. Hospitality, Milfoil, and Bodies in the Water 88
9. Big Ideas, Helmet Hair, and Aquamarine Barges 111
10. Short, Old Wilson Lake and the Camp Nazi 128
11. Born to Be Wild on the Trail of Tears 141
12. Off the River 147
13. "It Is So Hard to Die" 167
14. Big Dam Problems 181
15. "Ain't You Got No Sense?" 193
16. Eagle's Nest Nirvana 204
17. Drunk on the Wind 213
18. Boat People 221
19. Wizard of the Saddle 233
20. Curse of the Titanic 244
21. Night Paddling 258
22. "You Can't Be Like the Indians" 271
23. A Cautionary Tale 278
Bibliography 287
Index 291
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