Down By The Riverbank – Nantahala Forest North Carolina

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The Chattooga River cuts through the lush temperate rain forest of the Nantahala National Forest in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina.

I took this photograph in the Nantahala Forest, in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. This land is one of the only temperate rain forests in the United States east of the Sierra Nevadas. Nantahala means “land of the noonday sun” in Cherokee, which references the fact that the forests and gorge walls are so tall that one doesn’t see direct sunlight until the sun is directly overhead at noon. The Nantahala is also a river, although the river in this photograph is not the Nantahala. The river pictured here is the Chattooga River. Chattooga is also of Cherokee origin, purportedly, but there isn’t consensus on its meaning. But despite the disputed origin, one cannot dispute how ancient it feels when walking along these riverbanks. These mountains and gorges and rivers are ancient even by geological standards. And the Chattooga has only undergone one direction change in its existence — quite low for a river of its age. But the dense granite of these mountains is not easily moved!

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