Wild and Scenic

Sky, rope, and rock – a recipe for happiness.

The thunderstorm the night before was disheartening. I was planning on kicking off part II of my journey with some epic climbing at a world class crag in Tennessee. I lay awake in bed picturing rain-soaked sandstone that would hinder upwards movement. Nevertheless, there was some promise of sunshine the following morning, so my brother and I loaded up our gear and headed on our merry way.

The Dean siblings getting ready to hit the trailhead

Though not an official national park, the Obed is considered a national wild and scenic river, falling under the same jurisdiction as my beloved park services. After minutes of hiking along the upper ridge, I began to settle into a familiar rhythm. Outside air, river sounds, soggy leaves underfoot… Home.

The climbing was good, but the day was even better. Sitting on a rock, chatting with strangers, and munching on trail mix brought me into a relaxing sense of freedom. My brother did most of the hard work, leading routes while I belayed at the bottom, watching the birds of prey circle overhead.

And then I thought, “This is only day 2 of part II – there is much more to come. This world is so big and longs to be explored.”

I let out a sigh of contentment before I scarfed down a Clif bar.

Spending time with this adorable lil’ girl (my niece) was the perfect way to end the day.