Adventure Canoe/Kayak Unsupported Island Camping

Join a few other self-sufficient types for a paddle at the upper end of Center Hill Lake to a back country (primitive) island campsite on Davies Island. The plan is to carry everything on our boats (even water) that we need for a 2 night campout. It's only a few miles by water, but a few hundred years in time.

We will leave Friday PM, and return Sunday, the 12th of May. We can spend Saturday exploring the island on foot, exploring the lake by boat, fishing, or just laying around and soaking up Mother Nature. Canoes are most convenient 'cause they are easier to load, and carry more, but you can also use a kayak. Boats are available to rent from MTSU, and probably other places as well. (We set up this trip a couple of years ago, but the weather went Biblical on us, and we had to cancel.) This is supposed to be fun, (not a stress test), so if the weather forecast is bad we will reschedule for the following week. This outing can also help us prepare ourselves and our gear for longer future expeditions.

Center Hill Lake is not a wilderness, but it's close enough to one that this trip is not for inexperienced paddlers or campers. The leader (that's me) must confirm that those joining in are fully prepared for our trip. Note also that we have to conform to a permit issued by the US Army Corps of Engineers, so the number of campers is limited. If the spaces fill up, please put yourself on the waiting list, we invariably have a number of cancellations, and it's probable that spaces will become available.

We will meet at the Kroger at 1:30, and leave as soon as everyone is assembled. If there are some stragglers, we will have a drop dead departure time of 2:00 sharp. Figure on bringing Subway or something easy to eat for a camp supper that night, something for a quick breakfast bite the next morning, and a brown bag for Saturday lunch. At some point we'll make plans for cooking a nice big Saturday night camp feast, and a hearty Sunday breakfast.

Update: We will leave our vehicles at Puckett's Point boatramp. Our campsite is Davies Island East, about 2 miles one way from the boatramp, across the open water of the lake. As required by state law, the camping area now has portapottys. No fireworks or firearms are allowed, and you must have a fishing license to fish - we will be visited by rangers during our stay.

Update #2: For those who are interested, there are supposed to be a number of huge butternut trees in the area. Because they are very scarce, and will soon join the chestnut tree as a species wiped out by blight, the exact location of these trees is not publicised. In addition, two of the largest American Chestnut trees remaining in the world still live on this island. (They have been studied, and unfortunately, are not fertile.) If any of you dendrologists wanna research this, please post for us.

Update #3: Fancher's Falls, also called Taylor's Creek Falls, is 5.5 miles away by water. (11 miles round trip.) It's well worth a visit. It is not accessable by land, and the water is too shallow for powerboats to get up to it, so very few people get to see it. Kayaks/canoes are ideal for the trip though, so no doubt several us will want to make the trip. There are other intermittant falls in the area, including the mystical Mist Falls, that only exist in the Springtime (or possibly when the Wee People dance nearby) and it's not on maps. Katherine has taken the remarkable photos that are attached. Hopefully we will have enough water to see them like this as well.

Update #4: As leader of the trip, I feel responsible for the safety of our group. Therefore, I am asking anyone who cannot get off work in time to meet everyone else at the Kroger by 2 PM on that Friday, to cancel their RSVP. The campsite is very hard to spot, and we need to paddle out there as a group. There is a very great chance of getting lost on the lake in the dark, which is not an acceptable risk.

We'll have a big camp breakfast on Sunday morning, and head back together in time to be in Nashville by afternoon for Mother's Day celebrations.

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  • David S.

    great

    May 27, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    added a few from my phone that I forgot I'd taken :)

    May 20, 2013

  • David S.

    Hello Mary-Ellen B., I don't have plans to go out to Davies Island, there are so many destinations, and so few weekends!

    To everyone that was on this trip: I am tempted to make all of you organisers, but that would be wrong without your permission, so if any of y'all think you wanna lead a trip sometime, email me an OK and I'll set you up in the system as organisers.

    1 · May 19, 2013

    • Mary-Ellen B

      Well maybe I will be able to join another destination!

      May 20, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    ~Survived my first real wilderness primitive camping trip where you actually had to 1) locate island, 2) then find designated campsite which turned out to be 10 ft under water 3) haul everything you need for 2 days/2 nights by kayak/canoe/raft, 4) survive.
    ~Found THE ONLY accessible spot on the northeast point/Davies Island high atop cliffs surrounded by water, which turned out to be the best!
    ~Ok, so weather was less than ideal, but we always concluded “well, it could be a lot worse.”
    ~Epic waterfalls, fabulous/filling food, “closeness” under the rain fly, star gazing, 20+ miles of lake paddling, snake encounters, coyotes howling, along with 20-25 mph winds on/off the water, poison ivy-ville, fun games/true haunted stories around the campfire all made for an amazing wonderful wilderness weekend!
    ~Big thanks to our fearless leader & my new friends~no longer strangers but true camping/paddling friends…thanks for the memories Cookie, Wild Thang, Cowboy, Babe, and Sunshine!

    6 · May 13, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      Oh, and we were rewarded with sunshine Sunday morning and an eagle sighting! :)

      4 · May 14, 2013

    • Mary-Ellen B

      I have paddled vicariously through all of you on this trip. I have done primitive camping several times before and love it. This one sounds a bit more adventurous. Although I did wake up with a skunk under my hammock. Frightening millipedes, and 100s of little, bright, green, glowing spider eyes. They could almost light the way. Wolf spiders just get so big along with other species. Then you wake to the sound of water lapping on the shore and sunlight spreading over the canopy of trees and raccoons and ducks hustling away.

      2 · May 18, 2013

  • Mary-Ellen B

    If you all do this again please wait until at least mid August or even September. Dr. put me on hold for Kayaking until August and my appt. with him. I am swimming laps and walking.

    May 18, 2013

  • robert k.

    How was the trip guys? Wish I could have been there.

    May 18, 2013

    • Dave B.

      The trip was amazing. I great Adventure, with some of the best people you could camp and paddle with!

      4 · May 18, 2013

    • robert k.

      Hopefully I can do it next time. I live in lewisburg so ill have to make sure I have enough time to plan.

      May 18, 2013

  • Dave B.

    Hey guys, getting some of the pictures posted now. May have more from my phone later if they are not duplicates of someone elses pics. You all are the best, what a great trip. I want to go back for a day trip and go see the falls, maybe a meet up event with a limited number of experienced paddlers. :-) let me know if you are interested.

    2 · May 18, 2013

  • Mary-Ellen B

    The pictures were absolutely fabulous. The green was so green! Looks like you had a great time.

    1 · May 17, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Hey Beth, Josh, Jeanne, what type of rope/bungee cord (length) did I dump into the lake when I was getting the beer float untied, etc.? I don't mind at all to replace it for you. :)

    May 16, 2013

    • Beth Z.

      Don't worry about it. It happens. Thanks for being concerned, but It's just a bungee cord... No worries ;)

      May 16, 2013

  • Dave B.

    Hi everyone, I have been very busy since we returned from our adventure. I haven't forgot about posting the pics. I will post them as soon as I am home long enough to do it. It was a blast camping with all of you. ; )

    1 · May 14, 2013

  • David S.

    Hope to get my pics edited and posted by Tuesday PM.

    1 · May 12, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I will try and get some up later today, but probably tomorrow...

      May 13, 2013

  • Beth Z.

    I can't get over how freaking awesome this trip was! ...a true, once in a lifetime experience, thanks to all of you, ;)

    3 · May 13, 2013

  • David S.

    Hello Davies Island gang, thanks for making my weekend a great weekend. It has been a real pleasure to camp and paddle with a group of real deal outdoors people like the five of you (you know who you are!) - trips like this are the ones you never forget.

    4 · May 12, 2013

  • Joshua P.

    Amazing trip! Breathtaking views of 100ft waterfalls, challenging and fulfilling experience! Very professional crew with a ton of knowledge. David was a great leader. Very chilled and laid back but hearded us together like cats when needed. Amazing camping spot. Delicious food. A+

    2 · May 12, 2013

    • Joshua P.

      Ti thought i was leaving a review about the trip...lol

      2 · May 12, 2013

  • David S.

    Hello all, I have two pretty good sized dining flys that I will be bringing along, we can string them up in a central area and keep dry under there if there is an occasional shower. Have done this in Canada in a heavy downpour and was quite comfortable. If you have any doubts about your shelter, run by REI tonight and get some seam sealer for your tent's seams. I will bring a little kindling along. Once we get a fire going, wet wood won't be a problem. If you want to bring a few candle stubs and tinder in a baggie that won't hurt. I will also have a folding saw, a folding shovel, and a hatchet, so we can stay out for months if we want.

    I will be at the meeting point by 1:00.
    As soon as the 7 of us are assembled, we can take off for the lake.

    2 · May 9, 2013

    • Joshua P.

      I will send you a text when Beth, Jeanne and myself are on the way.

      May 9, 2013

    • Dave B.

      I am planning to be at the meeting point at 1:00. Looking forward to a great weekend! : )

      May 9, 2013

  • Joshua P.

    Psssssstttt...... Hey you guys. Its only 3 days away!

    2 · May 7, 2013

    • Mary

      Hey Josh, great to meet you & Beth the other night. Have a blast!

      1 · May 9, 2013

  • Mary-Ellen B

    Wish I was going with all of you. I just received word today that it will be another 3 mos at the earliest. I can start swimming again and continue walking, and start using bands for my upper body, and that is a good thing. Hope you all have a blast and I will continue to watch this and am looking forward to pictures.

    1 · May 6, 2013

    • Dave B.

      I am hoping to take pictures! It should be a great trip.

      3 · May 6, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I have a waterproof camera, so we will have pictures! LOL

      2 · May 7, 2013

  • David S.

    As of 2 PM today, there is a 30% chance of rain on Saturday...
    if we wait for perfect weather, we may never go, so this trip is on, unless the forecast gets a whole bunch worse. Please bring rain gear and have it handy, in case we have to weather a shower or two. I have packed 2 pretty good sized camp rain flys, so we can keep a central area dry in case of scattered rain.
    Big plus: the waterfall(s) will be epic!

    2 · May 6, 2013

    • Joshua P.

      Invested in my first rain jacket I bought since my freshman year in highschool...lol. Aint skeered of a little rain. Also, ive been doing a bit of research about how to make cowboy coffee, so we will at least be warm on the inside.

      3 · May 7, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    I am still planning and ready for this adventure, even though the forecast is less than favorable but it's not in the 90% yet. Hoping the weather gods will give us a break! I'm packing tonight and bringing rain gear...let's just do it!

    4 · May 6, 2013

    • Dave B.

      I agree, unless it becomes dangerous I want to go. We may have to bring some different gear if rain is likely, but with the way the weather is here, I would hate to not go only to find it is just going to be overcast.

      2 · May 6, 2013

    • Mary-Ellen B

      Ummm, it's TN, wait a minute and weather will change!

      May 6, 2013

  • David S.

    Each person is to bring their own camp gear, knife/fork/spoon/plate/bowl/towel etc.
    Be sure to bring a jacket, spare dry sox/shoes, an maybe even a hat, it's at always colder up there, especially at nite.
    See you Friday!

    May 2, 2013

  • David S.

    We are havin a big pasta supper Saturday nite, Josh is cooking us some cowboy coffee to get our mornings started off, Maryellen is gonna tend our bonfire, so it looks like we are set. If you did not get an email from me about what to bring, or any questions, please email me asap an we;ll hash it out, thanks.

    May 2, 2013

  • David S.

    One of the joys of camping is a hearty meal cooked over an open fire... for those of us who can get together on Thursday, we can talk about what might make a good camp supper... I will volunteer to bring breakfast Sunday morning, for those who eat bacon and eggs... anyone volunteer to make coffee?... think about what sounds good, and if ya can't make the Thursday get together, send us a thought of what you'd like to contribute. (Mary Ellen has is gonna be our bonfire master.) After all the cold & rain lately, I just know we are due for 'perfect' weather. See ya soon!

    1 · April 28, 2013

    • Joshua P.

      I am pretty sure Jeanne and Beth are busy thursday, but I will plan to be there, and I know of their skills and what they can contribute so i will gladly chime in Thursday to volunteer them. I dont have a french press, probably the best tool for camp fire coffee. I know the three of us are counting down the days to this much needed trip. Stoked!

      1 · April 29, 2013

    • Joshua P.

      Picked up a campfire coffee pot today. I will plan to bring some vanilla coffee creamer and Folgers. If anyone wants anything special brewed youll have to bring your own. lol

      2 · May 1, 2013

  • Chris

    One day is probably all I can attend. Coming up Saturday.

    April 25, 2013

  • Joshua P.

    I saw that a spot opened up, and my friend was interested in going. Should know for sure if they can make it in the next couple days. If not, I will remove my +1. :-)

    April 5, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      I'll be making all new friends as the few that I did know are no longer coming! :)

      2 · April 19, 2013

    • Mary

      I may still come out, if there's a spot and I don't end up in Cali.

      1 · April 19, 2013

  • David S.

    Dave, welcome aboard, by all means bring your canoe! Lots easier to load, lots more flexibility in use, don't get me started. I will be using a canoe. It's good practice too, in future hopefully we will be doing some weeklong camping trips, you don't wanna do that in a kayak, and this trip will be good practice, a chance to refine your equipment setup on the canoe for longer treks.

    1 · April 3, 2013

    • Dave B.

      Ok David, that sounds great. don't get the canoe out as much as I do the kayaks so I am excited about loading up and getting on the lake with the canoe.

      April 4, 2013

  • Dave B.

    Looks like I got moved off the wait list. I have options as what type of boat I can take. Is anyone paddling a canoe?

    April 2, 2013

  • Katherine F

    Dennis and I paddled to Fancher's Falls the summer of 2011. We passed 2 seasonal falls on the way in that were dry and we thought our paddle would be in vain. Surprise! This awesome 80 ft. falls had plenty of water. The area is horseshoe shaped with Fancher's flowing off of the left hand side. There was a much smaller falls coming off of the right hand side. Totally worth the effort it took to paddle there. One note of caution, bring hiking shoes for the walk in, we came across numerous snakes.

    1 · February 1, 2013

    • Mary-Ellen B

      I'd like to look Katherine but I don't know how to find you in facebook. Don't know your last name. If you want to email it to me that would be fine.

      February 2, 2013

    • Mary-Ellen B

      I just found you on FB and the Center Hill album was empty.

      April 2, 2013

  • Katherine F

    I posted pics of Fancher Falls and Mist Falls on my FB page since unable to post here. Both falls empty into the same basin, Mist Falls is 100ft.

    1 · February 2, 2013

    • Mary

      I just saw. Nice

      February 2, 2013

  • David S.

    Sunrise May 10th is 5:45, sunset 7:42. The new moon is the 9th, so it will be as dark as the inside of a cow out there. Be a good night to study your constellations, maybe see a shooting star.

    January 27, 2013

  • David S.

    Someone suggested we might have a short boat race on the lake Saturday... sounds like a challenge to me!

    January 25, 2013

  • Joshua P.

    Thanks in Advance for putting this trip together. Looking forward to getting out on the water again. Can't wait to bust out the ol' Kayak!

    January 25, 2013

  • David S.

    I checked and it's about 12 miles roundtrip to the nearest shower, HOwever, I will bring my solar camp shower, plus a 5 gallon bucket along, which all are welcome to use. I think I'm gonna bring a bunch of seasoned firewood too. (Canoes are great for this stuff!)

    January 22, 2013

    • A former member
      A former member

      can you cut up the dead wood that is on the island?

      January 23, 2013

    • David S.

      Certainly! Any downed wood is OK, as long as ya don't cut anything live. We can build a monster bonfire if you like. If I bring wood just 'cause I'm kinda lazy!

      1 · January 23, 2013

  • Mary

    I might be a one-nighter. Not sure I can go two w/out a shower, but I'll try! Glad you're going to try this one again.

    January 17, 2013

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