Andy and I spent a total of nine months as campground hosts in Big Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I took many pictures and wrote a journal (or log, if you will) every night and included between ten and twenty pictures in the text. When I put them all together to use as a basis for my Big Creek book, I had 230,000 words and loved every one of them, or , at least, the memories they represented.
But, of course, a nightly journal is not a book. And, no one in their right mind would want to read daily repetitions of how many campsites were filled and how many coolers we dragged to the bear-proof locker, even though that is one aspect of the story I want to tell. Then, Patrica Ross, the publisher/editor wants me to write a series of essays based on the material.
So, I’ve spent the past few days reading through and condensing the material. When I finished last night, it was down to 121,618 words. My next task is to read through what I have left and think about what it tells me about the park, park employees, and park visitors.
This picture was taken from the bridge in the picnic area, looking upstream.