Welcome to my world. I am a journalist in East Tennessee. My neck of the woods is in the Cumberland Mountains, on the eastern edge of the Big South Fork National River & Recreation Area, where I work as publisher and editor of the hometown newspaper and my wife is an elementary school teacher. We have three children, twins Toby and Rachel, and baby Cooper. Our hound mix, Scooter, lives here too. There are also two cats — Popeye and Chubs — neither of which are very fond of me.
Send me an email, if you’re so inclined, to benwgarrett at gmail dot com. But don’t ask me about my picture. I do not really wear makeup, nor am I a Hollywood star, but this is what an app on my phone said I’d look like if I was. (The rest of the pictures on this page have not been edited. Much.)
Keep close to nature’s heart . . . and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.
John Muir, America’s great conservationist and explorer, knew the way to renewing the soul. It was as simple as getting outside. The world has changed a great deal since Muir (1838-1914) roamed the American frontier. Yet, in some corners, it hasn’t changed much at all.
As you explore these pages, I hope you’ll discover the Cumberland Mountains and the mighty Big South Fork of the Cumberland River. It is from these geographical features that my home is carved, and they’re why I call this place home. Although he was writing about an entirely different land, far West of here, when I stand on the Big South Fork on a summer’s morning as the break of day lifts the mist off the river and the rising sun glints off the cliff walls that tower overhead, I’m reminded by what Norman Maclean said of the Little Blackfoot River: “Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world’s great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of the rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters.”
To learn more about this part of the world, and to see why we call ourselves the Adventure Tourism Capital of Tennessee, visit DiscoverScott.com.
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