The entire day was invested in hiking the Big South Fork National River and Recreation Area. Yes, that’s a mouthful. Because the park is in both Kentucky and Tennessee, and I am working on a book on day hiking Tennessee, our hikes were concentrated on the Tennessee portion. We arrived at the park with a fog settled over the Big South Fork, so we headed upwards to Bandy Creek. There, we hiked the Oscar Blevins Farm Loop. I will admit that I was a tad disappointed to find a tar paper farmhouse built in the 50s. When you are born in the 60s, that doesn’t seem like history. But, the farm was beautiful, the trail very scenic, and when we returned to the Visitors Center, we found we had narrowly missed a mama bear and two cubs (sad face).

Blevins Farm

Blevins Farm

Detail of fence by Frank

Detail of fence by Frank

We then drove the rutted gravel roads to Twin Arches to hike the strenuous up-and-down-staircases to and from the arches, which were quite striking. I felt sorry for the four Corgis that that we met on the trail who struggled with the steep steps (with their owners, of course).

North Arch

North Arch

Steps at the arches by Frank

Steps at the arches by Frank

Finally, we ended up at the Big South Fork, itself, walking the trail to Angel Falls. Don’t let the name fool you because it is actually a rapids created when some locals hoped to blast a split waterfall into a better fishing area. Oops. I have to admit that I found the open coal seam on the hike more interesting than the rapids.

The coal seam

The coal seam

We ended the day at Frozen Head State Park only to find the office closed because all the rangers were training. Sigh. Back there tomorrow as we had to flee the quickly approaching thunderstorm.

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