Excited, nervous, and stressed. Three words to describe my first day on the road. When I first left my house, I was very excited to finally be doing what I had only been planning and imagining for the past several years. It was invigorating! As I made my way towards East Tennessee I was blasting music with the windows down. The perfect start to any trip. I had plans to head straight for the Obed Scenic River, but that didn’t quite happen. Instead I ended up stopping at Falls River Falls State Park for lunch and a short hike. However, I almost bypassed it. In Alabama many state parks have an entrance fee, and considering I’m trying to travel on a budget I didn’t want to pay entrance unless it was something I specifically wanted to do. Lo and behold all Tennessee state parks have free admission! They’re also incredibly well maintained, so don’t be deterred from visiting one in fear of cost. Unfortunately, though, it had been too dry for the Falls River Falls to be running, but the scenery was still breathtaking. With the leaves changing color, it was definitely a great stop.
After leaving there, I stopped at yet another state park – Cumberland Mountain. I took a short two mile stroll around the lake before heading off towards the Obed. Once I finally got to my campsite of the night, Lily Bluff Campground, it was already very dark out even though it was just a little after 7pm. Cell signal was nonexistent in the area, which seemed to be a theme for the trip thus far, so I ended up backtracking a bit so that I could update all of my friends and family back home of where I would be. While it may seem unnecessary or troublesome to constantly update people, It’s definitely important for someone to know where you are when traveling. After the goodnight texts and phonecalls were made, I headed back to my site and spent the rest of the evening settling in and watching the night sky. The Obed is considered a National Dark Sky Park, so the stargazing was absolutely incredible. Even though I was in a campground with plenty of other people around, it was so silent and peaceful. Overall it was a pretty great introduction to my coming time on the road.