Ron had to get his car’s oil changed today, so I picked him up at the Ford place and took him on a road trip around Harriman before a planned lunch at Ruby Tuesday’s.
We first explored a small road that twisted its way up Walden’s Ridge northeast of Harriman, but it did not wind up where I wanted to go. So, we’ll try another back road out of town next trip.
We then decided to see if the old road up Walden’s Ridge southwest of Harriman, through the West Hills Subdivision, to, what’s known locally as, Buzzard’s Bluff, was open.
Walden Ridge (or Walden's Ridge) is a mountain ridge and/or escarpment that drops off on the eastern side of the
Walden Ridge is higher than the Cumberland Plateau, and its eastern slope, descends over 1,000 feet from the plateau to the
Buzzard’s Bluff is an easily recognizable outcrop of sandstone that juts out of the ridge just above where Interstate 40 drops down to the valley floor at Exit 347. If you are heading west on I-40 and you pass this exit, look off to your right and along the ridge line to your north. You will make out the rocky face of Buzzard’s Bluff.
I built a house at the foot of this rocky point back in 1978, where Corey’s mom still resides. From there, I used to watch hang-gliders silently floating over the house to a large field about a mile from the base of the mountain. Once, I used the scope of my .22 to get a closer look and some dude freaked out, thinking I was about to shoot him! He made a sharp evasive maneuver to his left and was quickly out of sight through the tall timber. I’d love to hear his side of that tale!
Anyway, back up on the mountain today…the road up is just about as rough as I remember it from 25 years ago! The chain that usually blocks the way was down, so we ventured on out to the bluff.
Stupid people, who have no regard for what nature provides them, have busted bottles, beer no doubt, all over the place and almost every inch of the outcrop has been spray painted with initials, names, “I heart you’s”, dates, and vulgarisms. It’s a great shame that such a beautiful place has been desecrated in such a manner. The area should be a beloved little nature pocket with numerous hiking trails and picnic areas.
Sometimes at night you can see bonfires flickering off the bluff, with the occasional flash from a camera. You can bet there is a party going on, which would be fine, IF they would just take their mess back off the mountain with them.
Here is a shot from 1980 (fall leaves) and the same place today…note the red paint in today’s shot! A damn shame!
It’s things like this that make you understand the reason the Bible says the earth has to be purged by fire…it has to get hot enough to burn up all the crap we leave behind I suppose – glass, pop tops, and rusting tin cans!
Standing there on the edge, you can just about imagine how it was for some Indian brave, on a long hunt, to sit there and contemplate what he beheld. To him it must have been a holy place, a place where the Great Father placed his foot as he stepped down from the heavens.
Today we seem to have no regard for the beauty of this great land, and will go out of our way to make it as ugly as possible. Mostly, I think, it’s an effort to leave a lasting mark on the land. Wouldn’t it be better to leave a beautiful place rather than a scratched or painted name on a rock?
Anyway, Ron and I enjoyed the view for a while and then made a promise to come back in the fall, when the weather was clearer, the colors were brilliant, but we won’t look down at our feet.