Adjacent to the Hiwassee Ocoee State Park (in southeastern Tennessee) is the Cherokee National Forest, which was created in 1920.  It has 655,598 acres and is located in 11 counties.  

Time to do some exploring?  Sounded good to me.

The gravel road was filled with ruts which required driving 15-20 mph, so it took forever to go 5 miles down the road.  

The river and trees were beautiful!

Deciding it was probably time to turn around I thought….”Hmmm…you never know what’s just around the corner,”  so I drove a little bit further. Seeing a tiny beach I thought, “Nice!” and stopped.

I dipped my feet in the water (which was chiily)…

…saw three fish…

…and a yellow butterfly sitting on a rock.

 “This is such a peaceful place,” I thought. And then a magical moment!   Looking down I saw something I’d never seen before – a kaleidoscope of butterflies!!

What an awesome thing to see!

The moral of the story is : when you want to turn back, go just a wee bit more.  You never know what awaits you…

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