Not So Touristics Places in Tennesse

As many of you, I had the idea that people in the south of the United States would be a racist, white, gun shooters.  Until I met a Tennessean in Czech Republic, (long story short) we became really good friends and decided to visit her.

After she picked me up, first thing I see is a possum, animal popularized as redneck food thanks to jokes like “How many rednecks does it take eat a ‘possum? Two. One to eat, and one to watch for cars”.  My friend certified this information as true.

For those who have never seen a possum google it! I tried to put a picture here but really don’t like those guys. It also reminds me of them playing dead on the roads.

It was my first time in Tennesse and as always, I didn’t want to go to the toursitic traps.

So these are some of the places I visited during my trip to Tennesse.

  • Twin Lakes Catfish Farm: A family owned Restaurant where the main atraction is to catch a Catfish, you can either take it home or they will prepare it for you at the restaurant.

  • Burgges Falls: Beautiful waterfalls accesible after an easy two miles hike (roundtrip). Located only 20 mins from Cookeville (East Tennesse).

  • Window Cliffs: A 5 miles hike located also aproximately 20 mins south from Cookeville near Burgess Falls Natural Area. In order to finish this hike you need to pass 9 stream waters, so better be ready!

At the top of Window Cliffs

After two days around Coookeville, we decided to go to Chattanooga which to be honest now happened to be one of my favorite cities in the US; the city is green and very well organized. If you google what to do in Chatanooga the first things that will appear are Rock City and Ruby’s Falls, which I didn’t visit but instead found this hidden gema call Lula Lake located near Lookout Mountain, 20 mins away from Downtown.

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Downtown Chatanooga has lots of cool restaurans and bars worth to check out and counts with couple of parks to relax in the middle of the city.

View from Coolidge Park

 

 

Driving around the city was a lot of fun we could enjoy the diffferent graffitis and mix of old and new architecture.

Also this little city offers you the opportunity to practice different extreme sports like, hang gliding, rafting, and rock climbing to name few. I tried rafting myself with my friend in the Ocoee river. “Best decision ever”

Then it was time to visit Nashville. Big Advice: If you go by car I strongly recommend you park as far as possible from downtown. Parking fees around the city range from $18 to $15 for 2 hours.

 

 

Once in Nashville, 2 things you can’t miss out, The Parthenon that I don’t know what is there is not that Nashville has strong ties to Greece and Broadway Strip. Seriously, I had one of the funniest nights of my life in this city.

  • The Parthenon: Originally built for Tennessee’s 1897 Centennial Exposition, it is a replica of the Parthenon in Athens, Greece. It is also an art museum.

Nashville itself is a great city with a lot of things to offer. It has tons of museums, restaurants and parks. Just be prepared to pay for expensive entrance fees at the museums, the prices range from $25 to $18 an entrance.

Nightlife is completely different to what I was used to, I’ve never been a huge fan of country music but after my visit I can’t stop listening to it. It reminds of all the amazing bands I saw in this city. Every bar I got into had these amazing bands with great singers.

Broadway Strip

Oh and about the southern people I can just say all those stereotypes might be true only for a minority. My experience in this area of the States was amazing everyone wanted me to feel welcome and show me their culture. And yes I shot a gun but because I asked for it…

P.S. Eat fried pickles! They will change your life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Eastern California Sierra Nevada

California never stops surprising me, I thought I knew all the most interesting landmarks of the state (I’ve been all the way from San Diego to the Washington state). Besides Lake Tahoe I never considered traveling to Eastern California, until a friend told me about a place called North Palisades, when I first saw the Google pictures I couldn’t believe it was in California near a desert..

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Trail

A little intro.. North Palisades is the third highest peak in the Sierra Nevada range topping at 14249 feet within the John Muir Wilderness. It also has it’s own proglacial lake, which appears turqouise due to the glacier powder suspended in water.

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First Lake

The glacier and/or the Big Pine Lakes can be visited by a fairly strenuous day hike of between 10 and 20 miles, and an elevation gain of up to 4,000 feet. It took us around 4 hours to get to the second lake (we got hit by the altitude sickness). Anyways after some research we found out that the second lake was the biggest and most beautiful. There you can visit up to 7 lakes.

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Second Lake

Mobile signal is very good along the road but in case something happens getting there it’s pretty easy… From the US Highway 395 in the center of Big Pine, CA turn west at Crocker street (You’ll see a sign and a gas station). Follow the the road for about 20 mins, past the campgrounds and the overnight parking. At the end of the road you’ll find the trailhead for the North Fork Big Pine Creek Trail.

We had one more day to kill so we wanted to explore more, our first option was Sequoia because it seemed so close in the map, when we checked it was 5 hours away!! We kept looking until we found Mono Lake which is hour and a half away from Big Pine, I visited this northern part of this lake before and it didn’t amused much but this time we went to the south tufa formations; which are pretty amazing. About the tufas “These unusual spires and knobs are formed when calcium-bearing freshwater springs well up through alkaline lake water, which is rich in carbonates. The calcium and carbonate combine, precipitating out as limestone. Over many years, a tower forms around the mouth of the spring. This tufa forming reaction happens only in the lake itself. As the lake level drops and exposes the tufa towers, they cease to grow” 

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After visiting the lake of course we needed to find a place to sleep, so again we used our google maps to find a campground, we noticed that 20 mins south west are lots of lakes (with campgrounds of course), these lakes are beautiful. Again I am surprised with this area in California it is so beautiful and so diverse not only  the landscapes but the towns are beautiful.

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Silver Lake near Lee Vining

If you live in California I encourage you to visit these places, they are close to Southern California and are less popular than the main parks like Yosemite or Sequoia but the experience is as rewarding as it is in those places.

Thank you for reading!