Living in this great country we often take for granted the magnificent natural resources we have at our fingertips. The beautiful landscapes that adorn the Tennessee Mountains are among the many and have been calling our name for months. We were itching to get in a ride before winter fully set in and experience some of the bright fall colors while at it. The Appalachian Mountains in all their glory have many secrets and we set out to discover as much of it as we could in a short three-day trip. A tent, sleeping bag, limited survival supplies and two off-road vehicles would be our only connection to modern conveniences on our venture. On a whim, we packed the 16-foot trailer and made the haul to Windrock Mountain in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, that connected to Coal Creek mining and ORV land.
It's fascinating to think that only a few short hours from home lies such a beautiful parcel of mountain land waiting for us to explore. Along the drive north, I pondered things such as the weather and the creatures that lurk in the mountain woods at night. It began to sink in that bear, coyote, as well as skunks and raccoons prowl the hollow wooded areas where we'd be camping. I couldn't get the idea of the frigid nights out of my head and honestly, I was really anxious to get the tent set up before the sun went down. Pulling into the small town of Oliver Springs, we all began to become anxious. We drove up into the Windrock Park and campgrounds to check in and immediately excitement filled the truck. Each one of us were surprised at the awesome views from the bottom of the mountain and knowing that the next day we would be experiencing the incredible view from the peak.
Stopping in at the campground office is mandatory and we wanted to meet the fine folks who worked the park as well. Before we knew it Ms. Julie had given us all the proper documents and permits for the next day's riding, and up to the primitive campsites we flew. As we were setting up our Cabelas Big Country tent, we had no idea that we'd be the biggest house on the block as our tent was massive. After a little grunt work we had a fine tent, and using our Tool-Logic SL-3 fire starter, we had a raging fire and pre-seasoned hamburgers flaming on the grill. Finally we began to relax and the thought of being this close to Mother Nature was getting clearer in our minds. The crackling of the fire and the whispering winds flashing across the hillside was truly peaceful. The stars were bright and with no cloud cover, it meant the night was going to be chilly. That's when the first of many really strange noises started to reveal from the dark tree line. It seems coyotes roam close to the campgrounds and during the night the possums and raccoons love to grab any souvenirs they can while unsuspecting campers lie asleep. The first little scavenger was spotted while trying to creep along the wood line and escape the flashlight. The yelps of the coyotes began to grow closer echoing through the trees from across the valley and I decided slip into my sleeping bag and crash out in our temporary mansion.