Farragut State Park is bisected by a state highway, and so far, my explorations have been limited to the area closest to the lake along South Road. Very wooded and full of campgrounds, trailheads, observation points as well as a day-use area, boat launch and swim area. There's a museum in this section too and I had yet to drive over to it.
The Museum At The Brig is housed in the only remaining building from the Naval Base days. Unfortunately, it is closed for the season. I must admit, it didn't look anything like I expected.
On closer inspection, I could see through the grill on the gate that there is a central courtyard which now made the building make more sense to me. I could just spy an old pick-up truck under a shelter so I'm guessing the yard holds other large items from the Navy days.
In front of the brig is a long expanse of grass encircled with shrubbery, the entrance guarded on either side with one of these.
The centerpiece of this area is this memorial to those who fought in the war. It really looks rather odd but is supposed to represent "whale" boats used to train recruits.
The most interesting thing about the sculpture is all these faces covering both the back and face of the sailor.
On either side of the walkway leading to the memorial are these benches, lovely in their detail. To learn more about the memorial and the museum, see here.
Now it was time to cross over the highway and continue along the North Road. This part of the park is mostly flat and open. Essentially, the government bought up the privately held land they wanted for the base and proceeded to clear and level it for the buildings that would eventually comprise "city" of over 55,000 people. Hard to believe that so little of the original base is in evidence on this side short of an expanse of crumbling concrete, narrow roads shooting off through the wooded area hugging the road and this pump house. Now there are camping areas here too and more trails including those for "horses, llamas or any stock animal." To learn more of the history of the training base including an aerial shot and pic of the whale boats, see this link.
Returning along Monaghan Rd I stopped at this large open area where one finds the amphitheater and Friendship Poles. The mountain backdrop made me wonder what those young recruits from other parts of the country thought when they arrived.
This space is divided by a gravel road, and I wondered about this big tree left standing by it. No signs to say it was left there, or planted, for a specific reason. I was intrigued by its asymmetry. The sun's angle made it difficult to get a shot emphasizing how much farther the branches on the right extend out from the trunk than those on the left. Beautiful shape though.
Tucked at the far end of the field to the right of the tree stands the Friendship Poles, part of an effort of the Boy Scouts of America.
This sign tells part of the story.
There are mounds of large boulders around the base of those poles. Here's a close-up of a particularly interesting one for you texture lovers.
And along the gravel road there was an outbreak of this lovely flower, a hold-out from summer.
A little farther down the road before returning to the highway is a model airplane flying field. Again - look at the view the recruits enjoyed, and that is still enjoyed today.
Yeah, I'm pretty enamored of my mountains...
Well, that certainly filled up the afternoon and it was time to head home. Just a 30 minute zip up the highway. Except...about 10 minutes into it, I am at a standstill in traffic backed up do to an accident. As the minutes stretched on with little movement, I thought to kill a little time with my sketchbook. I really couldn't see beyond these two cars, but I could see how many were piling up behind me.
|I got stopped at about point A for an accident at southern tip of that lake|
After an hour, we got to moving a bit and my view showed how far ahead of me the traffic had stopped - literally miles! My thought was that it must have been a terrible accident for it to have brought this two-lane stretch to a total standstill. As I got closer to the site, I could see smoke pluming into the sky - now that's puzzling. And then we arrived with no evidence of a wreck save for blackened highway and about a 1/4 mile of ditch and slope of dry grass and pines that had caught fire and was still being mopped up by fire fighters. That must have been some crash, I thought.
But no, THIS is what held up traffic - I ended up following it back to Ponderay where I got this shot. The news said that one of the 5th wheel trailer's tires failed and ignited due to friction. Droplets of molten rubber were then cast off into the brush on the side of the highway starting 3 separate fires and overrunning the trailer before the driver realized what was happening. No wonder they weren't easing traffic around the site and it took so long to clean things up. No one was hurt but now I am thinking, that sure ruined someone's vacation.