I discovered the biblical Garden of Eden

Into Eden

Discovering Laurel-Snow State Natural Area near Dayton, Tennessee, was like finding the doorway to the Garden of Eden.
Prints Available

Laurel-Snow State Recreational area is heavenly

OK, so maybe I didn't actually discover the Garden of Eden — but what I did find was a landscape that brought the biblical paradise to mind.

Laurel-Snow State Natural Area is, in a word, heavenly.

I found it pretty much by accident while waiting to start work on another Bassmaster Elite Series event. I was cooling my heels in Dayton, Tennessee, and pulled up Google Maps just to see what was nearby.

I saw a green patch on the map that normally denotes public land, so I zoomed in and saw the name "Laurel-Snow State Natural Area."

Turning down the access road, I was soon parked at the trailhead. I could hear water roaring down Richland Creek, but my stated goal was at least one of the two waterfalls found on the property.

I never made it that far.

As I walked, I could see the amazing beauty of Richland Creek as it raced toward Chickamauga Lake downstream. And the roar of the water seemed to call to me.

However, I was determined to make it to one of the named waterfalls and doggedly hiked along the trail deeper into the Cumberland Mountains.

Until I just couldn't stand it any longer.

I finally walked to the edge of the trail and took a closer look at the creek — and was stunned at the beauty I saw. So I sat down and pulled on my boot spikes before scaling down the embankment and onto the water-slicked rocks.

My first thought was, "This must be what the Garden of Eden looked like."

I was standing on a the banks of the creek at calm pool of turquoise water. The fog that shrouded the entire region was hanging in the trees above the creek in the background, creating a wonderful glow up the creek.

So I stopped and created the gorgeous image at the top of the page. I titled the print, "Into Eden" because I felt like that's exactly where I had stepped.

Crazy beauty everywhere I looked

Henderson Creek Rapids

Farther into Laurel-Snow State Recreational Area I found this beautiful scene of Henderson Creek racing toward its junction with Morgan Creek to create Richland Creek.
Prints Available

I continued upstream, and I promise I could have stopped every 100 yards. Laurel-Snow State Natural Area is just that beautiful.

A postcard photo awaited around every bend of the creek.

I managed to make it past Morgan Creek, where the racing water became Henderson Creek. I was finally drawn deep into the scene of the print I titled "Henderson Creek Rapids."

The photo encapsulates the rushing water that courses through the heart of Laurel-Snow. The low light caused by the fog and low clouds really provided a wonderful glow to the scene.

It was simply jaw-droppingly beautiful.

I finally turned back, knowing I would never make it to the waterfall that afternoon and satisfied with the two prints I had created.

However, back at the headwaters of Richland Creek I saw another peaceful pool. So I decided to make a final stop.

There was a massive, rectangular boulder standing in the middle of the calm pool of water, and that offered a great focal point.

So I set up and created "Richland Creek Tranquility."

There's just so much more to see and photograph in the 2,300-acre park, and I can't wait to return.

Richland Creek Tranquility

This was the final print created during my first visit to Tennessee's Laurel-Snow State Natural Area. It will not be my last time to work in this small but beautiful park.
Prints Available