Final Point

Moccasin Bend one last time

Moccasin Bend one last time

I have a few photos from Point Park to wrap up on.  I shot one last look from the overlook with my DSLR vs a panoramic on the iPhone (which I have rapidly become addicted to).  With my 24-70mm lens on the camera, this was as wide as I could go.  If I would have stepped back a few feet, I might have been able to get all of the Tennessee River into the frame as it winds its way around Moccasin Bend.  But then I would have had more crap in the foreground.  Perhaps I will through my 17-35mm lens on the next time we go up to Point Park.

After enjoying the view from Ochs Museum overlook, we headed back up the slightly more rugged trail than the asphalt trail that circles the main portion of the park.  Tisen didn’t seem to want to leave the cool shade next to Ochs museum as we made our way back.  It wasn’t that hot out, but perhaps it feels warmer to someone wearing fur?

Tisen trying to go the wrong way

Tisen trying to go the wrong way

The trail heads uphill on the way back.  When you walk down it, you don’t realize you’re going downhill.  Yet, when you walk back up it, you definitely do notice the uphill.  Fortunately, the entire path is well-shaded so even our hot dog didn’t overcook.

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As we got closer to the asphalt paved and landscaped part of the park, I noticed a crooked tree highlighted in a beam of bright sunlight.  It was perched on the sharp edge of a fallen rock and growing with a 90 degree bend in the middle of its trunk.  I had a sudden vision of the rock having once been part of the mountain and this tree deciding it would conquer this rock some day as it spread its roots into every crack and crevice.  I imagined this bent and tiny tree feeling victorious for having brought down the rock after so many years of patient growing.  I wonder if a tree or water dripping is faster when it comes to carving off chunks of stone cliffs?

The victorious tree

The victorious tree

We made it safely back to the asphalt path that circles the landscaped part of the park.  We walked slowly around the park, allowing Tisen to sniff and explore as far as his leash would reach.  He paused to heed the call of nature more times than seemed physically possible, but you know how male dogs are about marking new territory.

As we waited, a female dog came over with her humans to say hello.  After a little doggy socialization, we headed back toward the park entrance.  Along the way, I spotted Sunset Rock off in the distance through the trees, looking much further away than I remembered.  I smiled sheepishly since I had wanted to walk all the way to Sunset Rock, believing it to be less than a mile from Point Park.  Pat gave me a side-ways glance that said, “Less than a mile, huh?”

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Hipsta Park

I like the rocks Hipstamata-sized.  The first time we saw these rocks, a guy had just fallen off of them and broken his ribs.

I like the rocks Hipstamata-sized. The first time we saw these rocks, a guy had just fallen off of them and broken his ribs.

Sunday afternoon, looking for something fun to do, we decided on an easy, short walk that Tisen could accompany us on.  Pat suggested Signal Point, but I felt the distance we could walk and the view we could see without any physical strain was too limited.  The easily accessible overlook is less than 50 yards from the parking lot.

Coming back up the steps from Ochs Overlook toward the New York Peace Monument

Coming back up the steps from Ochs Overlook toward the main loop

I suggested we head up to Point Park instead.  Point Park has what is probably a half-mile loop that’s flat and affords views from many directions.  Georgia, Tennessee, and Alabama are all visible from Point Park.  The view of Moccasin Bend is hard to beat.  And, there are monuments, canons, and interesting rock formations that would all allow me to continue my Hipstamatic spree.

Pat agreed and we headed up to the mountain.  The one disadvantage of Point Park is that they do charge an entry fee.  I don’t mind paying the entry fee–I want to support the park–but it does add up throughout the year given the number of times we take visitors up there.  When we got there, I stopped in the Visitor’s Center to ask if they have an annual pass.  The volunteer on duty didn’t know of anything specific to the park, but told me about the $80 annual pass to all federally managed lands.  He told me it included access to Yellowstone and gave me a pamphlet.

Looking down the trail at the museum at Ochs Overlook

Looking down the trail at the museum at Ochs Overlook

While it was tempting to get an annual pass for all federal land, when we started trying to come up with a list of places we would use it in the next year, we couldn’t really think of $80 worth of places we would get to in the next 12 months.  We decided to wait and went to the park entrance to pay.  When we got there, there was actually a ranger staffing the ticket booth.  Usually you pay a machine.

I mentioned to him we’d thought about buying the park pass, but had decided to wait and he informed me that there is a $20 annual pass for just Point Park.  He called the Visitor’s Center volunteer for us and sent us back to pick one up.  When I got back to the Visitor’s Center, the volunteer was still on the phone with the ranger who was giving him instructions on where to find the pass.  We made it through the process, got our shiny new pass and headed back to the entrance.

View of Moccasin Bend from Ochs Overlook

View of Moccasin Bend from Ochs Overlook

The same ranger was still on duty.  When I handed him the new pass he had facilitated, he looked at it, looked back at me, and said, “We don’t take those here.”  Gotta love a ranger with a sense of humor!

We took a nice spin around Point Park, walking out to Ochs Overlook at the point and enjoying the spring weather.  The bright sunshine created an interesting haze in Hipstamatic.

Mocassin Bend doesn't actually fit in the iPhone frame from Ochs Overlook.  This is the "bend."

Mocassin Bend doesn’t actually fit in the iPhone frame from Ochs Overlook. This is the “bend.”

Afterwards, we headed home.  After a shower, Pat did a little more work on the computer with assistance from Tisen.

Tisen helping Daddy on the computer

Tisen helping Daddy on the computer

Winter at Point Park

We had the wonderful experience of having dear friends come down for a post-Christmas visit (a little more post than planned due to a blizzard hitting the midwest the day they were planning to leave).

We picked a couple of highlights to share since they only had a day and a half after the storm cleared out enough for them to come on down.  Of course, we took them to Point Park.

It’s one of those places that meets many criteria for many different people.  For those who want an outdoor adventure, there are dozens of hiking trails through the woods to spectacular overlooks.  For those who want a nice easy stroll, there’s a ¼ mile paved loop around the top of the point that doesn’t even require climbing a step.  And it still offers spectacular views.  The list of increasingly challenging things to see goes on–basically, any level of physical activity or lack there of can be achieved and all levels are rewarded with amazing views of Chattanooga, Moccasin Bend, and even down into Georgia.

Pat and George pose for me in front of the overlook above Moccasin Bend

Pat and George pose for me in front of the overlook above Moccasin Bend

For the history buff, there are lots of Civil War memorials and information about some of the events of the Civil War related to this location.  I’ve come to have a new respect for the Civil War living down here–I find myself growing more and more interested in the battles in the area.

Georgia, Paris, and Bonnie pause briefly in front of the memorial at Point Park

Georgia, Paris, and Bonnie pause briefly in front of the memorial at Point Park

Our visiting friends included my bestie, Georgia, her equally wonderful husband George, (yes, George and Georgia) and two of their fur-kids, Paris and Bonnie.  We were also sitting for Twiggy, and, we, of course, had Tisen.  Having 4 dogs created a few logistical challenges, but it actually worked out quite well.

Twiggy and Tisen spent a day at doggy daycare together (which Tisen enjoys much more with his buddy Twiggy to play with) while Paris and Bonnie went exploring with us.  Having 4 dogs and 4 humans in one mini-van just seemed like a bit much.

Remainders from the war, these canons still stand guard over Moccasin Bend

Remainders from the war, these canons still stand guard over Moccasin Bend

The last time we walked the loop at Point Park it was about 110 degrees.  This time, it was in the 30’s, the sky was spitting at us, the wind was whipping us around, and the sun was no where to be seeing.  I liked this weather better than the 110 degree day.  But, with no umbrellas and the sky looking increasingly threatening, we walked quickly and skipped the jaunt out to the point.  It was still beautiful–I never know if I like this park so much because of the views of because of the special people I’ve had the pleasure of taking there?

Returning to the car, we all had the same thought on our minds–we were uncomfortable in our high-tech winter coats with fleece and down and our warm, waterproof boots.  We tried to imagine living through the war in wool coats and boots full of holes (if you had either).

I just like this image--the boys having fun together

I just like this image–the boys having fun together

We went home feeling more than a little spoiled.