On Beautiful Little SequatchieBy Spencer Judd
[The Nashville Banner has a very interesting department, edited by R. A. Wilson, entitled “Fins, Furs and Feathers,” and Saturday it contained the following well written article concerning the beauties of Little Sequatchie river, which is so well known to manipulators of the rod and reel.]
“Editor Fins, Furs and Feathers:
Forty long years I had been cherishing the hope of fishing in Little Sequatchie River. I had heard so much of the classic beauty of its environment, of its blue depths of cold spring water and the consequent fighting quality of its fish, that I used to dream about the fierce contests I was to have under these ideal conditions.
“It is just over the mountain, and almost any time will do; next fall will be a fine time to go over there, and between strikes bathe my soul in all the glories of Indian summer.” Thus I reasoned about it, and in the autumn would match the attractions of spring against the fading light with the result, one more postponement. And it is not always easy to get over the mountain,” as even a very small “mole hill” presents difficulties sometimes. At any rate, I did not get there while all those years rolled by. Vaulting ambition lured me many times to far distant waters, but through all that period I had a feeling, which amounted to absolute certainty, that some time I would cast my line over Little Sequatchie, and I have just now returned from that long thought of expedition.
As this charming bit of water lies “over the mountain” from most of your readers, probably they are not familiar with it, and would enjoy a picture and word of description. Of course, there is a “Big Sequatchie” and a valley by that name drained by the larger stream, and there is the little town of Sequatchie, but we are immediately concerned with none of these, except that the town is the point on the Pikeville branch of the Nashville, Chattanooga & St. Louis Railway, where we embarked on our way to Fairy Land. A team with driver is requisitioned in short order, as night is drawing on, and we have a couple of miles to drive. We are soon bowling along towards our little river, as it passes near the town, but presently we swing away to the left, and are destined not to see the stream until we are quite a mile and a half from town. And I was so glad of that swing. I think if I had first seen the river passing under the railroad bridge, there would have been no charm to it, all the glamour of romance would have faded away.
As it was, we came upon the little beauty very much as my fond fancy had pictured it many, many times over. ‘Twas in that quiet time of afterglow, when the world is filled with a mystic radiance, and only music is heard, music of which the dominant note is the silvery vesper song of the hermit thrush.
On every hand a pink and white glow came alternately from where the different shades of wild azalea were blooming in great profusion, while the violets and the wild iris mingled their purple tones in friendly rivalry. And over all the soft light came filtering down through a tender fabric of new beech leaves. Those trees alone were worth going a long way to see. Let me say, in this little aside, that the man who has not a special admiration for the baby leaves of the beech is surely lacking in an important element, the aesthetic sense is left out of his system, and he is so hopelessly inartistic as to be impossible. And such is the setting for the little gem of a river.
The road is bearing away to the right, and I am watchful and expectant when, of a sudden, through the pink of the azaleas I catch a gleam of blue water, and my right arm goes out and gathers in the reins and we stop at the very brink of Little Sequatchie River. Probably the driver is still wondering why I took the reins, why I gazed so steadily, and why I had nothing to say in the presence of the little river, about which I had so much to say before reaching it. Oh, well, let us hope his grandchildren will understand it.
What I beheld was an expanse of deep blue water, probably one hundred feet wide to the right and left unbroken by a ripple as far as we could see. I had not noticed until now how the mountains had been closing in on us as we advanced on Coppinger’s Cove, but there they were, so close that their beetling bluffs were fairly traced on the blue water, and one hoary monster was actually laving his stony foot in the limpid stream. Would you not have held up the horses in the presence of such a scene? I learned soon after that we had been looking out over the celebrated “Beech Hole,” one of the most noted fishing points on the stream.
I am sending a picture of this stretch of water and I know you are going to enjoy it. It is fairly representative within its limitations of black and white. I think you will appreciate the soft, hazy effect of the spring morning, and if you have the soul of a fisherman, you will go loafing down that path to the left, and on and on far beyond the realm of care for a little while.
The picture was taken the morning after my arrival and when I tell you that I spent the first half day with the camera before I touched the rod you will understand somewhat the compelling beauty of the stream, also that I have learned something of the sweet philosophy of patience. There were many attractive bits of scenery to be recorded, and the fish could wait.
There are not many stretches where the little stream is in such a “reflective mood” as at “Beech Hole.” That is rather exceptional, as it is dancing frolicking little river, hurrying along as if glad to escape from the gloomy caverns in these towering crags, from whence it sprang.
Oh, yes, a very happy river, gurgling and singing, and sometimes shouting as it leaps over boulder-strewn shoals, and swings like a dancing dervish into the foaming pool beyond. Full of all the bubbling enthusiasm of most young things, it makes a joyous start on its long journey to the sea.
For three days, all too short, we had a fine time, just the little river and I. I entered into the rejuvenating spirit of the frolic and waded the icy water where the onrush was fierce and almost irresistible. I paddled a canoe aginst the current, and up and down this stream I tumbled, without bruise, along its rock strewn shore.
Yes, we had a great time those three days, and for three nights I was highly entertained by stories, mostly reminiscent, related by mine host, Uncle Austin Coppinger, a pioneer and original character, all of his sixty-seven years having been spent right there in Coppinger Cove, and all his life he has been a hunter and fisherman. He is a gifted story teller, with an unfailing memory and a highly developed sense of humor. I have a good picture of him, with his old long rifle, and I will send you a print, with a little sketch later on.
Why are you so inquisitive about the fish? Of course I caught fish. If you do not believe it, ask old man Coppinger if we did not have fish for breakfast every morning.
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