It will take several posts to tell you about that one day in the park, so let's start with the water features, specifically the creeks. There are designated places along the auto trails where people can pull off the road, park their cars, stretch their legs and indulge their passion for photography alongside a rock-strewn creek. The air is fresh; the sound of the flowing water is musical.
There are no rocky creeks here in Southeast Louisiana. Water here comes in large expanses like the Gulf of Mexico or Lake Pontchartrain, swamps dotted with cypress knees, or muddy bayous. The rocks in the mountain streams pictured here remind me of days spent long ago on the James River, near my hometown of Springfield, Missouri. I admire these Tennessee rocks for both their beauty and for the tender memories they evoked.
I wonder how many feet have waded across this narrow creek throughout its history, how many animals have stopped to take a drink. In my mind I see them, one by one, deer, raccoon, black bear, heads bowed as they take a drink, then raised as they slowly turn around and ease back into the woods.
The water looks freshest and coolest when it runs white and fast in its course downhill...
...but even in the flatter areas it bubbles as it flows.
I think we would have been happy to sit in one spot all day and watch the movement of the creek...
...but then we might have missed this little waterfall, the biggest one we saw. According to the guide books, there are several large, beautiful waterfalls in the park. Unfortunately for us, those are accessible only to hikers.
This is my favorite creek photo. I love the shadows cast by the tall trees, the sunlight that shines though those very trees to highlight rocks and leaves, and the clear, sparkling water that reflects the whole scene back to the heavens.