Backbone Falls

After having to stay indoors yesterday because of all the rain, Jason and I hit the trails and found another beautiful waterfall in Tennessee, Backbone Falls.

On our way to the falls, we drove past South Holston Lake, where we stopped and climbed down to the water to check things out. There were some people out in their boats enjoying Labor Day, but not many because of the overcast skies.

South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake

South Holston Lake

After leaving the lake we headed on a road that Jason loves  . . .  and, well, me not so much. Today I got a little car sick because of all the twists and turns. The first time we traveled this road it was only a few days after we arrived in Tennessee and I was fine, well better off than today. The Snake has 489 curves to be exact. Thank goodness we did not drive the whole thing and left in a different direction.

The Snake

The Snake

The Snake

The Snake

I was thankful when we arrived at our destination and got out of the car . . . yeah no more curves and solid grounds.  After we parked we headed towards Backbone Rock and hiked up quite a few stairs that took us to the top of the tunnel.

Backbone Rock, a fairly short hike.

Backbone Rock, a fairly short hike.

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IMG_0033I sat on a rock next to a tree as I looked down at the road and creek below us.

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According to a sign posted near Backbone Rock, “Around 1900, the Beaver Dam Railway Company blasted and drilled the tunnel to provide railroad access from Damascus into Shady Valley’s rich manganese and iron ores and timber. Within the next 20 years, the area’s privately owned timber had been cut over twice and ravaged by a devastating fire.”

IMG_0046The railroad tracks were removed in 1924 when the route was opened to cars. The tunnel was then expanded into a two lane road in 1930.

IMG_0048Backbone Rock, as well as 20,000 surrounding acres, were purchased when Congress allowed the federal government to acquire land in 1911, which was formed as part of Tennessee’s National Forest lands.

IMG_0050Backbone Rock, known as the shortest tunnel in the world. It was a great site to see from above and alongside the road.

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We walked across the street and found another trail, a trail that led us to Backbone Falls.

IMG_0051Of course as soon as we arrived at this trail, there were more stairs that went straight up, which were kind of slippery from all of the rain yesterday.

IMG_0052A rather short hike later, which was up hill, we started to hear the sounds of the waterfall.

IMG_0054Jason stood very close to the edge of the top of the waterfall and took some pretty incredible pictures looking down.

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IMG_0058And then we walked down even more stairs . . .

IMG_0062Until we saw this . . .

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At one point Jason and I walked on the rocks located at the base of the waterfall, so we could feel just how cold the water was . . . COLD!

IMG_0078But worth it, I love walking right up to a waterfall, there is no feeling like it, no feeling at all. To feel that rush of cold air, while touching the cold rock and the water, best feeling.

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We decided to walk down the creek a little bit, where of course I found more water to take pictures of . . .

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We then walked back up the stream to where the waterfall was located and got back on the trail, which included more stairs that led us out a different way than we went in alongside the road.

IMG_0102I had to capture one more beautiful sight before we walked back to the car. More water, more incredibly calming sounds to end another fantastic hike.

IMG_0101Backbone Falls was a beautiful waterfall, one we got to witness alone, as we were the only ones on this trail.

The arrival

After a long and stressful journey on the road Tuesday, April 30 … Wednesday,May 1 was almost perfect.

My stress level was completely depleted once we hit the road early that morning all because one my favorite songs made it’s way through the shuffle list on my iPod. What a great way to kick off a morning, a song that means the world to me, a song that reminds me why I love and care for Jason so much.

As the miles passed us by, the thinking began as the iPod continued to go through my playlist. It’s amazing what consumes your thoughts when you’re alone. Tears, happy tears, often filled my eyes as I thought about the journey Jason and I have had, as well as the steps we took to get to where we are now. Anything is possible when you put your mind, heart and soul into something you want to happen.

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We made the choice two years ago, took the chance almost a week ago and so far we are enjoying every moment of the change we put into action.

Although it’s definitely good therapy to be alone, I couldn’t wait for the bathroom breaks or scenery stops, so conversations could be had with others instead of myself and Leo, our cat.

Every stop we lingered a little longer due to all of us – Jason, myself and our friend Lisa – craving a little human interaction.

The rest stop in North Carolina was one of my favorite stops. Since it was so pretty, it led us for a little walk around the grounds to stretch our legs.

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The scenery from this point on was breathtaking, Interstate 26 provide such a beautiful view.

The first time we made it up the first hill, I called Jason to share my excitement … no more flat lands for us.

Unfortunately as our trip went on poor Leo became upset again and went to the bathroom all over the floorboard of the car, which was right next to the litter box. By this point I had enough of driving and wanted out of the car just as much as he.

As we entered Tennessee and continued driving, signs of cities we have grown to know by looking at the map appeared, which only increased the excitement of what was happening.

I remember seeing the sign for Kingsport and saying out load “Yeah” with a huge smile, almost laughing, which consumed the entire car. At that moment I wish Jason and I were in the same car, so he could feel and see how much excitement was felt at that very moment.

When we finally made it to our apartment I got out of the car and went straight to Jason and threw my arms around his neck.

“We made it,” was all I could say, all I could think. Jason’s incredibly long hours, my long days, our tight budget and determination to make it happen came true that day.

I went inside the office, met the sweet lady who had helped us secure a place, and got the keys for our apartment to finally get the cats out of the car. I instantly fell in love with the cute apartment, our stepping stone to bigger and better things.

What a rush, I made the drive from Florida to Tennessee …the longest drive by myself with a cat in the car.

Since arriving we have gone exploring, which included two additional states. In less than a week’s time we drove through Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Kentucky, wow!

One of the adventures we took was one Jason has been excited about for quite some time, two years to be precise.

Highway 421, “The Snake,” has 469 curves, three mountains and two valleys. Jason enjoyed every moment of that drive, while I became green during a few of the incredibly steep curves up and down the mountain.

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I have to say even though I was a little car sick, it was a rush to be so high up. It felt like you could reach up and touch the clouds. Definitely an experience I will always remember.

We also drove to Kentucky, a 90-minute drive, which took us through Virginia, to visit his cousin, which left us saying wow as we drove up the highway.

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Everything is so green, lush and beautiful looking in Virginia.

I am very glad I climbed on board and decided to make this move. I’m looking forward to see what else unfolds as we start to make a living in this beautiful place.