We experienced the eclipse with family and friends at Dogwood Cove Rd, Watts Bar Lake. Thanks be to God. The eclipse is not a mystery, but it is a wonder. We felt the deep meaning of the words awesome and wonderful.
4/25/17 We arrived at the Chickamauga Battlefield Visitor Center just before 1:30 pm. After eating our picnic lunch, we watched the orientation movie that dramatized the story of the battles for Chattanooga and control of the river and rails. The carnage, the scope of death and injury in the Civil War battles is unimaginable by today's standards. Pray that we never again glorify war.
We didn't spend much time at the monuments, feeling that the movie had given us a good overview of what happened here.
On to Cloudland Canyon State Park, winding up the back end of Lookout Mountain to the top of the ridge. We had plenty of time to drive around, experience the main overlook, and select a campsite. After supper (Roasted Chicken), we even had time for a hike before dark. We hiked the West Rim Loop which we accessed near our campsite. We had a lovely quiet campsite at the edge of the woods, eating our picnic, sipping wine until bedtime with early lightening bugs twinkling at dark and the air fresh and cool.
Cloudland Canyon Images:
water falling loudly
West Rim trail through the woods
We started with a hearty breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausage and toast with plenty of hot coffee. Nothing like fresh air to stimulate the appetite. We broke camp and drove to the main day-use area to hike to the waterfalls.
Cherokee Falls was a magnificent reward for a half mile hike down 200 steps. (I didn't count, but we were told). Recent heavy rains produced abundant water over the falls with a large pool below and the creek roaring down the the next fall.
Winding up the backside (east) of Lookout Mount to Cloudland Canyon summing, then winding down again.
Sharp switchback up Signal Mountain to the overlook at Signal Point for a picnic lunch. Winding down the backside into the beautiful Sequatchie Valley.
Twisting up again to reach the top of the Cumberland Plateau, then on to Fall Creek Falls.
Our day so far: high bluffs, deep valleys, expansive vistas, magnificent waterfalls.
Fall Creek Falls State Park
1st Stop: Nature Center and Cane Creek Cascades. We have never seen so much water flowing. We were even blessed with a waterfall rainbow.
We crossed the swinging bridge just to feel the flow.
2nd Stop: To select a campsite we must circle through all four loops, just to be sure.
3rd Stop: Fall Creek Falls Overlook
We were a little surprised at first that the water volume looked normal, then we realized that the creek flow is controlled by a gate from the lake.
4th Stop: Piney Gorge Motor look to Milliken's Overlook (Buzzard's Roost)
Enjoyed the view with a wine and cheese (and beer and crackers) snack. Several nice vistas of high bluffs along the way. The overlook surveys the length of the gorge.
5th Stop: Piney Falls
A short hike took us to the falls and a suspension bridge. This waterfall was also full to overflowing with water, hidden, almost, among the trees.
Last stop: Campsite B71 - Finally!! Long and wonderful day.
Hamburgers and potatoe salad for supper. Bill tried to build a fire, but the wood was damp and wouldn't start. We will remember lighter fluid next time. Went to bed with stars overhead. Woke in the night to rain on the roof.
After sufficient coffer we decided to break camp and enjoy the breakfast buffet at the Inn. We returned to the Falls for one last look. It was too muddy to hike down to the base. The floodgate at the lake was opened just as we got there. We watched as the water-flow increased to a roar. The difference is obvious in the picture:
Driving off the plateau at Rockwood Mountain completed our tour.