Just 7 miles from Frozen Head State Park is a National Park I'd not heard of before, Obed Wild and Scenic River NP. The Visitor Center is in the town of Wartburg, TN.
The bridges provide access for rafters, kayakers, and fishermen. The Obed system offers some of the most challenging whitewater in the Southeast ....mostly Class III and IV rapids along its entire length during the rainy season.
There are several trails that begin here, but Thistle and I came to hike the Point Trail.
Approaching the Bluff Overlook.
This Bluff overlooks Clear Creek, one of the major tributaries of the Obed River. Below is the bridge we crossed to get here. One of the trails leads from the bridge up to this overlook. We drove to the upper parking lot and skipped that trail.
Looking back to the point where we took the picture of the bridge.
Reading about the area's history...first American Indian hunters, then fur trappers and loggers. The terrain was inhospitable for long-term settlement.
Lilly Bluff offers a nice view of the river and the gorge in the distance.
A cross-section of the gorge.
Some of the rare and fragile plants protected by the boardwalk.
This is the start of our trail.
Point Trail is more than just a walk in the woods. It has many interesting features, such as huge boulders to walk amongst.
More rock formations.
The arrow on the tree points to the path we must take to get to the top of that cliff where our trail continues.
The path up the side of the cliff.
Want to look down?
You never know what might surprise and reward you for your efforts....this time a Pink Lady Slipper in bloom.
Onward we go along a mountain track.
Another interesting wildflower I haven't seen before. This is a colony of Squawroot, a parasitic plant that makes its living off the roots of oak trees.
I found a great website that helps me identify the wildflowers: http://uswildflowers.com/stateref.php?State=TN
The scratches on this tree are the only potential sign of black bears I have seen on my hikes, and these are old.
I decided that the best way to ford this stream on the stepping stones was to go first and have Thistle follow. So I lined him up behind me. That plan worked well until I took my first step to the stone in the middle which wobbled. Thistle took that as his signal to leap, landing in the stream and up the other side. Fortunately I've been doing my Wii balance exercises and was able to regain my balance. Only Thistle got wet. On the way back I let him go first.
This tree did not develop a very deep root system growing on that rock, so toppled in a storm.
And another Lady Slipper.
These blooms are called Eastern Sweetshrub, aka Carolina Allspice, and Strawberry Shrub. The petals are supposed to be aromatic when crushed, but I didn't try that.
We have come to our first viewpoint of the gorge.
A side trail under the natural arch.
Which leads to another viewpoint of the gorge.
A look up the gorge.
We have come to the end of our trail.
"But Mom, it can't be the end...I see more trail ahead!"
Thistle is not exactly posing for this picture; he's looking at the apple.