Where the Bears Wash
Oconaluftee River, North Carolina.
The Cherokee held parts of this river sacred. One of their legends talks about healing waters where the animals come to wash the wounds that hunters inflicted. The Oconaluftee has a pretty long straight run from this point, having dropped from between the ridges below Newfound Gap in Great Smoky Mountains National Park, through a sea of green forest thick with early summer foliage. A light mist played along the top of the stream, up by the bend in the far distance.