It only took a single night’s stay to see not one, but three National Parks in the Chattanooga, TN area. However, to visit them all we needed to navigate no less than three states across two time zones within a few hour period. Such is the pain that comes with wanting to see as many National Parks as one can visit, reasonably.
After dropping the trailer at the Marion County Park we immediately took off to visit the Little River Canyon National Preserve (#85). The Preserve is located in Alabama, about an hour to the south-west of Chattanooga. We stopped in at the Little River Canyon Falls, one of the prime destinations in the Preserve, and met on of the chattiest volunteers who spoke to us in the completely different language that Alabama folks speak. I think she was telling us about kayaking in the river, because she spotted the two large kayaks on our truck, but that is only a guess. After five minutes trying to get away from her, we finally got to snap a few photos of the falls. After, we took the 12 mile drive down the Little River Parkway that follows the river to the South.
The following morning we left early to visit the Russell Cave National Monument (#86), also located in Alabama, in the heavy rain. Actually, it was barely sprinkling when we arrived at the Monument, but the very moment we set out to hike he short boardwalk to the cave itself, the sky opened up on us. We were prepared with rain jackets and hats, but neither really dealt well with the deluge that hit us. Still, the short hike out was worth every drop that soaked into our clothing.
The people who lived here might have known just how good they had it here, with fresh water flowing directly into the cave, many natural resources all around, and fantastic protection from the elements. For those reasons they lived here for many thousands of years. The cave was amazing, and seriously made me wish I was a cave man 10,000 years ago.
Lastly, we drove to Chickamauga & Chattanooga National Military Park (#87) which is in Georgia and in the Eastern time zone. The minor issue of the change in time zone got us to the park just after Visitor Center hours. We did get to take an auto tour of the park, which was an extremely well maintained park and a great destination for bicyclists. Here the Union and Confederate armies clashed in late 1863. Here the Confederates won early battles but the Union army eventually pushed the Confederate army further south.
And that is if for Tennessee for us. We picked up the trailer and hauled it 90 minutes into Georgia, not far out of the Atlanta area. Here we get to meet up with some friends, who neither of us have seen since the week Kerri and I met back in January of 2015.