Coldhearted River: A Canoe Odyssey Down the Cumberland

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Univ. of Tennessee Press, 2006 - Sports & Recreation - 266 pages
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Coldhearted River recounts the canoe odyssey of Kim Trevathan and photographer Randy Russell down the Cumberland River--almost 700 miles--from Harlan, Kentucky, through Middle Tennessee and Nashville, then back into western Kentucky, where it spills into the Ohio. The Cumberland presented spectacular gifts to the adventures: the morning when tiny fog tornadoes swirled gently around their paddles and the night above Cumberland Falls when they built a fire on a beach and watched rapids flash across the river. But, as it presented gifts, the river also presented danger. A fifteen-hour rain downstream of Wolf Creek Dam raised the river eight feet overnight, and a thunderstorm blew 60-mile-per-hour winds, forcing them to seek refuge under their canoe near a cornfield. Trevathan and Russell met many who helped them on their journey. Among others, a fisherman portaged them and their boat around a low-head dam near Pineville, and Vic Scoggin--who swam the length of the Cumberland in 1996--met them for a fried chicken dinner at Salt Creek Campground in Middle Tennessee. Coldhearted River explores the river's past, invoking the ghosts of the Shawnee and Cherokee, Daniel Boone and the French fur trappers who arrived before him, early settlers of Kentucky and Tennessee, such as James Robertson and John Donelson, and a binge-drinking ex-farmer named Ulysses Grant, who won his first significant battle at Fort Donelson, early in the Civil War. Entertaining and nostalgic, Coldhearted River will put readers at the bow of Trevathan and Russell's journey as the river controlled it--at its own pace, sometimes slow, sometimes fast and turbulent, but never dull, and never disappointing.
 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Headwaters
9
Thunder on the River
21
Elbow Room
35
Getting Soft
41
Hoist the Viking Sail
51
A Buried World
61
Our Insanity
69
Outlaws
168
A Long Way from Harlan
171
Welcome to Nashville
184
Refuge
189
One Mule and a Jackass
197
Bush Fever
201
Thoughts ofDoom
211
Sea of Wakes
223

Good Samaritans
79
Long Rain High Water
87
River People
95
McMillans Ferry Nirvana
101
Normal People
131
Die Refrigerator Fish
144
Between Realms
152
Hell Broken Loose
233
Rivers End
241
Epilogue
249
Bibliography
257
Index
263
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Kim Trevathan, who earned his M.F.A. in creative writing at the University of Alabama, works as a new media writer & producer & writes a column for the Maryville Daily Times. He lives in Rockford, Tennessee.

Randy Russell believes in ghosts. He conducts an annual ghost seminar for the State of North Carolina and can be found most summers sharing true ghost stories at visitor centers in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. He wrote Dead Rules because he believes ghosts should be allowed to share their stories of encounters with humans. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina.

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