Unnamed Cave 61

Throughout a caver's career, certain caves stand out as important, or defining to them. Unnamed Cave 61 is the cave that stands out for me (the cave does have a name, but in the convention of archaeological sites, we do not share its name). I was present when the discovery of its prehistoric art was first made. I initially brought cavers there on a lead by a neighbor. We believed that we were the first to have documented the cave, but later learned that it had been previously described, but the location was wrong. I corrected the error and merged the records within the Tennessee Cave Survey dataset.

This cave I have come to think of as "mine" though I in no way own or have any particular claim to it. All that serves to preface my walkthrough of the cave, and its amazing contents.

Panel, Painted light, Unnamed Cave 61 In this first image of the panel, one can see it naturally. It was photographed with painted light from a headlamp by a tripod mounted camera at close range. As a cave explorer, the faded charcoal pigment is not easy to see unless you slow down and intentionally look for it.
Panel, Painted light - D-Stretch, Unnamed Cave 61 In this image, a D-Stretch version of the panel has been made. Local contrast is provided by color. Individual parts can be made out, but the whole panel isn't clearly visible. Detailed processing of the D-Stretch image may improve panel detail.
Panel, Painted light - D-Stretch - B Channel, Unnamed Cave 61 This image is the B channel of a LAB color space image, and provides a nice contasted image by which to see the panel's detail.
Panel, Longwave light, Unnamed Cave 61 This is an image of the panel shot with longwave light (365nm). The experiment was to see if using this, or any of its possible color spaces would provide additional information or detail to the panel.
Panel, Longwave light - D-Stretch, Unnamed Cave 61 This image is the D-Stretch version of the longwave light image. The "stars" visible are likely bacterial colonies on the rock.

Chris Morris made this lovely 3d model of the panel that can be viewed here

This first panel has some spectacular interpretation, which I will attempt to provide you with. The main panel has a geologic feature called a styolite (8) that runs across it. The artists appear to have used this naturally occurring geologic feature to separate the underworld with the land above within the context of their art. Knowing this about the styolite one can clearly discern the three realms of Native American mythology: The heavens, Earth, and the underworld.

In the heavens, one can see a star shape (1), likely representing the sun. In the underworld one can see a cresent moon (2), and a pack of quadrupeds (4). The right-most quadruped is turned vertical approximately 90 degrees (6). Around the corner, is the warrior (3) with a headress on and bow drawn.

The Earth portion of the panel includes a figure, dubbed "Touchdown man" (5) who has his arms thrown to the heavens. Another quadruped (7) is visible and deep scratches (10) which mar a portion of the pictograph. The scratches are believed to have been from a later Native American that visited the cave. Perhaps they disagreed with the symbology, or wanted to have their own conversation with the cave.

Returning to the warrior, his placement is important within the cave. He is hiding around the corner from the entrance of the cave, weapon ready. He is guarding the cave with his pack of quadrupeds - or perhaps they are dogs. The last dog, the one turned vertically is drawn that way because it is metaphorically on the steep slope at the entrance of the cave. This spirit warrior, drawn by a Native American is believed to be the cave's protector.

01 - Star
1 - Star

02 - Moon
2 - Moon

03 - Warrior
3 - Warrior

04 - Quadrupeds
4 - Quadrupeds

05 - Touchdown Man
5 - Touchdown Man

06 - Vertical Quadruped
6 - Vertical quadruped

07 - Above Ground Quadruped
7 - Above ground quadruped

08 - Styoloite
8 - Styoloite

9 - Stokemarks (not pictured) 10 - Petroglyphs
10 - Petroglyphs atop pictographs



For my own records, and for anyone interested, these are the concerts I have attended.

1995 06 06 - White Zombie, Reverend Horton Heat, The Melvins at Starwood

1996/05/04 - Toadies, Brother Cain, The Nixons, God Lives Underwater, Lounge Flounders at Edge of the Cumberland

1996/07/09 - The Cure at Starwood

1997/03/29 - Bush at Nashville Arena

1997/04/04 - Descendants and Suicide Machine

1997/05/17 -Better Than Ezra, Sponge, The Verve Pipe, Tonic, Cowboy Mouth, The Honeyrods at Edge of the Cumberland

1997/08/12 - Rage Against the Machine, Wu-Tang Clan, and Atari Teenage Riot at Starwood Amphitheatre

1997/09/13 - BB King at Nashville Fairgrounds (?)

1998/08/07 - Dave Matthews Band at Starwood Amphitheatre

1999/02/23 - Sunny Day Real Estate, Heroic Doses, and MK Ultra at 328 Performance Hall

1999/11/05 - George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic at 328 Performance Hall

2000/09/14 - Buzzfest 2000 at Amsouth Amphitheatre
Cowboy Mouth, Dynamite Hack, Eve 6, Everclear, Everlast, Fuel, Nickelback, P.O.D., Sum 41

2000/10/13 - Counting Crows and Live at Amsouth Amphitheatre

2001/05/19 - The Toadies at 328 Performance Hall

2001/05/20 - Finger 11, Drowning Pool, Boy Hits Car at 328 Performance Hall


Bee Rock in Monterey, Tennessee

Bee Rock is a spectacular, east-facing overlook and is managed as a city park in Monterey, Tennessee. Like it's counterpart, Meadow Creek Park, it is a great place for rock climbing. Because of its aspect, it's an excellent photographic destination for sunrises for most of the year. In the map above, sunrise angles are shown with geographic context related to Bee Rock. The two angles facing east represent the Summer and Winter solstices (north and south respectively). The green shaded area shows the "viewshed" from the observer's location.

Bee Rock, Putnam County, Tennessee Verble Hollow, Putnam County, Tennessee Bee Rock overlook, Putnam County, Tennessee 8 Kathie South Ferrari, Jason Lavender, Bee Rock, Putnam County, Tennessee 1Warren Wyatt, Kathie South Ferrari, Bee Rock, Putnam County, Tennessee Bee Rock overlook, Putnam County, Tennessee 4 Campground Natural Bridges, Putnam County, Tennessee

Meadow Creek Park in Monterey, Tennessee

In the late 1980s, the Town of Monterey embarked on a search for a new water source and eventually found a suitable 300-acre tract of land on the Clarkrange Highway, about five miles east on State Route 62. The property, previously a coal mining operation, was located near Meadow Creek and had a terrain that was ideal for a 100-acre lake created by a strategically placed dam on the stream. Despite having 200-plus acres of shoreline, the lake went largely unnoticed until 2015 when the town council realized its potential and authorized the development of a master plan to transform the property into a remarkable park and outdoor enthusiasts' paradise.

Meadow Creek Park is still in its early stages, but it has already garnered attention from professional trail builders and volunteer groups with skills that align with the overall plan's objectives. The support of passionate individuals and influential businesses such as the Perdue Foundation and Signature Health has been crucial to the park's progress. In November 2020, the Upper Cumberland Southern Off Road Bicycle Association opened almost two miles of trail that will eventually encircle the entire lake. Meadow Creek Park's future goals include more hiking and biking trails, designated rock-climbing areas, wilderness camping sites, kayak and boat rentals, and a fishing pier.

Additional Resources:
Driving Directions
Meadow Creek Park Trifold Brochure
Meadow Creek Park - Hi-res Lidar Topographic Map

Meadow Creek Park, Monterey, Putnam County, Tennessee [Map] Meadow Creek Park - Trail, Monterey, Putnam County, Tennessee [Map] Meadow Creek dam, Meadow Creek Park, Putnam County, Tennessee 8 Meadow Creek Lake, Meadow Creek Park, Putnam County, Tennessee 5 Meadow Creek Lake, Meadow Creek Park, Putnam County, Tennessee 3 Meadow Creek dam, Meadow Creek Park, Putnam County, Tennessee 3 Trail, Meadow Creek Park, Putnam County, Tennessee

Winding Stairs in Lafayette, Tennessee

Winding Stairs, Lafayette, Macon County, Tennessee [Map]

The Winding Stairs is a unique waterfall located in a city park of the same name in Lafayette, Tennessee. It is a narrow and short limestone canyon formed in the upper Ordovician units of the Nashville Basin physiographic province, with the watershed being mostly within the lower Mississippian Fort Payne Limestone. The waterfall begins in the Ordovician units whose thinly bedded stratigraphy resemble stairs.

The park has access for wheelchairs, and has easily accessible overlooks for children and elderly people to enjoy. The trail beyond the paved portion gets steep and rocky very quickly.

Steep, rocky terrain with intermittant seeps makes springtime at Winding Stairs an excellent time to find plenty of beautiful wildflowers.

Winding Stair Cascade, Winding Stairs Park, Macon County, Tennessee 7Winding Stair Cascade, Winding Stairs Park, Macon County, Tennessee 8 Winding Stair Cascade, Winding Stairs Park, Macon County, Tennessee 9Winding Stair Cascade, Winding Stairs Park, Macon County, Tennessee 11 Winding Stair Cascade, Winding Stairs Park, Macon County, Tennessee 3Winding Stair Cascade, Winding Stairs Park, Macon County, Tennessee 4 Winding Stair Cascade, Winding Stairs Park, Macon County, Tennessee 1 Winding Stair Cascade, Winding Stairs Park, Macon County, Tennessee 12