Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The South's Grand Canyon

Maybe it's me. But when I read that Breaks Interstate Park is called "The Grand Canyon of the South," I imagined gorges, steep cliffs, and expansive vistas. And I have to see it.

So, after settling in to our new home base in Big Stone Gap in southwestern Virginia, we headed to Breaks (VA) and the park which straddles the Virginia-Kentucky border.

After passing through the Park's entrance, we stopped at the trailhead of the first trail we came to. The trail, measured in yards instead of fractions of a mile, was flat and well-marked.

We tried to imagine ourselves accompanying Daniel Boone, who is credited with being the first person of European descent to discover the Breaks, which he first saw in 1767.

(This apparent "trail" did not lead any further than the few feet shown in the photo.)

At the end of the short trail, this was the view that greeted us. We were unable to capture the entire view in one photo--even with a wide angle lens. The view below shows the left side of the U-shaped bend in the Russell Fork River and

this is the right side of the bend in the river. In the center of this U formed by the river are The Towers (shown in the three photos).

So Breaks Interstate Park had provided a 5-mile gorge, with cliffs plunging to 1650 feet in some places, and expansive vistas, but it was missing the appearance of a Grand Canyon comparison.

We found this flash of color set against the solid green of the forest, and then

headed back up the trail.

A short drive along the Park's route

and a short walk along another trail brought us to Pinnacle Rock.

Along the way, we saw a number of rhododendrum blossoms.

On our way out of Breaks, we passed Splash! water park with its pool, a current channel, four waterslides, and a spray ground among other water and reacreatioal features.

We left thinking that had we done some white water rafting, horseback riding, and had taken part in some of the interpretive programs and attempted more extensive hikes we would have experienced the comparison with the Grand Canyon.

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