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Picture of the day - September 9, 2006

Rappelling From Atop Backbone Rock

A mountaineer rappelling from the top of Backbone Rock.
Click photo to enlarge

The Backbone Rock National Recreation Area in Sutherland, TN is one of my favorite places to take pictures. During the last two years, Cheria and I have photographed Backbone Rock Falls, Mountain Laurel blossoms, a mossy log and a huge boulder in the Jefferson National Forest. We have even captured people rock climbing up the side of "the rock".

Well, today we were lucky enough to witness some folks going the other way... rappelling down the past-vertical face of Backbone Rock! They tied their rope to the base of a gigantic pine tree growing out of the top of the rock approximately 75 feet above the ground below, then one-by-one they rappelled down the side of the rock. After resting for a couple of minutes they took the steps back up to the top and rappelled down the long snake of a rope again!

I remember how nervous I was back in my Army days when our instructors made us rappel from the top of sturdy wooden towers, so I can't even imagine sliding down a rope from atop Backbone Rock with its thousands of sharp, loose rocks just waiting to cut the rope or break loose and conk me on the head. The guys we saw today surely must have nerves of steel!

You never know just what you'll see when you visit the Backbone Rock National Recreation Area, but it's sure to be something you'll never forget. Just be sure to take a camera along!

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