So, I think we all agree - every once in a while, we just need to get away from it all. You know, just escape;
be alone with our thoughts, regroup, and etcetera.
Some recent personal challenges have rekindled my desire to connect with nature. A friend of mine regularly goes on a personal
retreat - alone for a week, so I thought that might be just the thing I need.
I’m often my most creative when in a place of solitude, but never seem to be able to capture my ideas or end up forgetting
them. This time, I’m not going to let that happen.
While I enjoy camping and as a younger man fantasized about living in the wilderness - you know, building a cabin in the
middle of nowhere, hunting and gathering and generally being one with nature - I’ve never really embraced TRULY living
out an episode of Survivorman or Man vs. Wild for any extended period of time.
Even during my tour of duty in the Gulf war (the first one) my fellow squad members and I lived in relative comfort. I
was temporarily attached to a maintenance battalion so we had access to tools, cutting torches, etc. Commandeering an Iraqi
rooftop air conditioning unit and retrofitting it to our GP Medium Tent made the 130° days tolerable. Besides, the Iraqi Army
wasn’t using it anymore…
Deciding I needed to find a primitive getaway, I set off to Grundy County where everything is just as it was in the good
‘ole days - lots of woods, freedom, and cabins to rent… except for the cabins. It turns out one of my favorite
cabin retreats no longer operates, as the proprietor apparently didn’t like the way his divorce was going, so while
he was expressing his displeasure to opposing counsel (using a shotgun), opposing counsel’s husband - who incidentally
was a Judge (a fact unbeknownst to the proprietor) took exception and my cabin-owning friend ended up going on his own getaway
at taxpayer expense. Ah, yes. Nothing like a little Grundy County drama, and that’s why I love it!
Disappointed, but not deterred - I continued searching. Outside Monteagle, the choices were pretty limited, and not wanting
to go to that side of the mountain, I was about to resign myself to camping in the back yard when finally - buried in page
14 of the search results, I found a glimmer of hope. A place called Grand View, on the Gap Road in Altamont.
Now, we sometimes exaggerate in Tennessee - so I really wasn’t convinced by the majestic pictures on their website.
An investigation was in order. It had been some time since I’d been to the Gap Road, and there have been lots of changes.
Where once stood acres upon acres of forest with modest homesteads, there were now clearings and subdivision signage. My hopes
of finding a retreat were rapidly deteriorating.
A few miles later, I found Grand View and it lives up to its images. From the cabins, you overlook a small pond stocked
with fish, and beyond that the rolling hills. Turns out the place is run by the mother of a friend of mine from my days in
Grundy - Mrs. Harris, who greeted me as I arrived.
After taking in the view and inspecting the cabins (stocked with the basic necessities - bed, check! Toilet, check! Full
kitchen, check! Satellite TV, check!) I asked the most important question. Mrs. Harris, is there any type of Internet connection
possible out here? “Of course”, she said. “We have wi-fi.” I replied, “I love you”.
About the Author:
Ken Ivey, aka “the Web Czar”. His website is www.kenivey.com