Glowing Creek Campground

It’s actually called Cedar Creek Campground; Cedar Creek flows into the Cumberland River, northeast of Nashville, through Tennessee. It’s a much more limited campground than I expected when I booked it, but the sunlight on the water and the falling yellow leaves have made for a peaceful place for us to hang out near Nashville for a week.

I say “limited” because I wanted somewhere within a drive of Nashville but not too close, and according to the map, I expected it to be off the beaten path, surrounded by woods with a few hiking trails, plus the signature Corps of Engineers well-designed, water-front campsites.

Nashville is circled in red; we’re in blue, and the town with our usual needs (groceries, propane, diesel) is in black. Perfect, right?

Turns out that the campground is actually a tiny little set of tiny little loops, set among vacation neighborhoods of giant lake homes. I guess this is one of the places where wealthy Nashville folks come for summer weekends and race their high-speed bass boats up and down the river.

So, there are no hiking trails, there’s no kayaking (due to all the speed boats), and no anything much else to do except to sit around outside and enjoy the sights and sounds of the leaves and the water.

We don’t have a water-front campsite, but we’re directly across from those, with this odd little round camping pad where we’ve set up our outdoor furniture. We didn’t even pull out the tent or rugs or lights, since the first few days were too cold for outside, then we went into Nashville, and then we had three days left to lounge. Three lovely days, though.

I’ve walked Banjo at sunrise, where we see the brave early-morning kayaks and john boats out there fishing (how do they not get toppled by the soon-to-dominate-the-waters speed boats?). We scare up the usual water birds along the beach: a Great Blue Heron, several duck families, migrating geese.

Tracy wanders the edges of the campground during the day looking at birds, and I walk as fast as I can to the marina (like, five minutes away) and gaze at the giant boats, then walk back then to the marina then back, trying to get some exercise in. Banjo misses us when we’re gone.

We’ve both witnessed a church group conducting baptisms one afternoon, plus lots of families here enjoying the last camping hurrah; the campground closes for the season the day after we leave.

In the evenings we’ve been sitting with an Airstream couple staying here who are from Virginia, talking about solar installations and lithium batteries. The camping, life, baby! (I’m serious; it’s nice to talk with someone after even just a few days away from TCPC.)

At sunset though—that’s when the action happens. We watch a herd of white-tailed deer run along the shoreline, very fast (with too little light for my phone camera to capture), but believe me they’re lovely: dark silhouettes loping in a long row with the lit-up water behind them.

If we’re watching at just the right time, the sky and water will ignite with light during sunset (the very top photo). That’s when this small, crowded, trail-less campground shines, literally and figuratively.