Categories
Nature Photography

Adventure At Paine Creek

Originally, my intention was to comb the rock bed along Richland Creek. Given low seasonal water levels across the Cumberland Plateau, I hoped to observe interesting underlying geological formations. However, things changed when I arrived.

You’ve probably never heard of Paine Creek. It’s a rather obscure creek streaming down a mountain side along the Laurel-Snow Trail, in Dayton, Tennessee. I’ve visited this park before, and traversed the rocky field of boulders along Paine Creek, though always wondered what was beyond the last waterfall.

Early into the hike, I approached a small wooden bridge over Paine Creek. Built upon stone columns erected in the early 1900’s by the Dayton Coal & Iron Company, the area has many remnants from that era, including old mine entrances into the mountain – one of which is situated directly under a waterfall. Once again, I opted to follow a trail spur uphill along the creek, beginning what would on this occasion become a 7-hour journey.

There are several small waterfalls upstream, each of which becomes increasingly difficult to access. Boulders ranging in sizes over 20-feet pepper the landscape, requiring hikers to go around, climb over, or, in some cases, traverse narrow passageways. It would be necessary at times to backtrack, as ones line of sight forward is often imperfect, routes of which subsequently proved impassable.

In addition to sufficient footwear, physical conditioning, food and water, I would suggest that perhaps the most important element for a hiker in such circumstances is discretion – knowing when to say no, so as to more closely examine secondary options. The cost of bad judgement can be high, and slippery moss-covered rocks were a dangerous and constant concern.


Prints Available

Framed / Canvas / Art / Poster / Metal / Wood / Acrylic / Tapestry

If you’d be interested in a print of any kind, visit my shop at FAA.

Fine Art America

Waterfalls

Here are a few photographs of small waterfalls along Paine Creek –

Waterfall & Mine

The following photographs feature the furthest waterfall which I’d previously visited, until this hike. In this area, high walls of the gorge envelope the falls on both sides, while the ledge above the falls is beyond reach. A particularly interesting aspect to these falls is that, with the exception of high water levels, the flow of water originates solely from the interior of an old mine entrance. As I would later learn, water from the creek above seeps through an underground passage into this mine. Having a look inside, I could see the front edge of a pool of water, and the footprints of a small animal. Fortunately, no bears!

After enjoying this setting for a spell, it was time to move on – what was above this waterfall? As noted, I wasn’t able to climb the front of the falls, and, the gorge walls stood approx. 50-feet tall. So, I backtracked a short distance to the trail and continued uphill.

After a period of time, and with temperatures approaching 90-degrees, I began to wonder how much further I’d need to travel along this trail before reaching the top. It seemed as if I must have already ascended an estimated 300-feet in elevation, far more than I’d earlier assumed would be necessary.

Onward and upward, I continued my trek and would soon encounter a 30-foot climbing rope secured to a tree on the cap-rock above. After evaluating the scenario – assessing surface conditions as being slippery for footholds, as well as my tripod continually catching the underside of protruding rocks – I opted to remain on the trail, shortly thereafter finding a better way to the top.

Top of The Mountain

Finally on top of the mountain, the trail continued beyond where the climbing rope was affixed, to a ledge with an expansive, scenic view across the valley.

The view was great, although, however faintly, I could hear the sound of water in the distance – downhill, beyond the forest. This was my goal, and so I soon continued along the edge of the mountain as far as I could. At a point, though, massive cliffs forced me into the forest without any path to follow, moving cautiously through the trees, vines, and – oh, joy – a seemingly endless quantity of sharp-thorn bushes.

I was constantly having to untangle myself from the plants and trees, often needing to remove my backpack – again, my tripod was an issue – and, at times, both climb over & crawl under downed trees.

Patience. In such situations, it’s easy to become frustrated. However, rather than plowing through dense foliage to save time, it’s important to remain patient, particularly in an unfamiliar environment. Case in point – on two occasions, reminding myself to slow down allowed for an opportunity to observe rock ledges hidden behind bushes…so, heads up!


Albeit gradual, the sound of running water began to intensify as I continued downhill, until, finally, I could see the creek through the trees below! There was, though, one last obstacle – an 8-foot high ledge with no obvious safe path of descent.

At 56 years old, weighing 235 lbs., and with bad knees – as well as experiencing fatigue from the hike – a drop from that height would be ill-advised, potentially injurious.

Hence, I began searching back and forth along the edge of the ledge to assess my options. Of course, this entailed dealing with more difficult foliage during the process, but I soon found what I considered to be a safe means of descent. I determined that if I sat down on an appreciably steep area of the hillside – covered with a thick, relatively dry moss and dirt – that I could control my speed by inching forward to contact a closely situated tree using my feet. Thereafter, grasping the branchless trunk to climb down.

As anticipated, I moved slowly and the process unfolded without a hitch. It wasn’t until I set foot on the floor of the gorge, however, that the thought crossed my mind –

I really hope there’s an easier way to leave when it’s time to go.

Beyond The Last Waterfall

Yes – I’d finally arrived and there was in fact another beautiful waterfall tucked away in this isolated, pristine gorge! My first order of business, however, was to locate a hand-towel from my backpack, wet it in the creek, and wash away the sweat, debris, bugs, and – caused by the thorns – blood on my legs.

Soon thereafter, following a careful walk-around to survey the area, I heard a rumble of thunder. A light rain followed, lasting for nearly one-half of an hour, and so I took refuge under a tree and rested while enjoying a snack I’d brought along. I didn’t mind the rain, but realized that all rock surfaces would now be extremely slippery and that any steps in the gorge must be undertaken with heightened deliberation.

Waterfall

Video

This video begins by overlooking what would be the spillway above the top edge of the lower waterfall, were a high-volume of water present. Next, a view of the upper waterfall is shown. Last, it finishes where the creek vanishes under a rock wall and into the mine below.

As it turned out, there was a 20-foot uphill scramble across the creek to the left of where this video concludes. Fortunately, the water was low – otherwise, access to this return route would not have been possible. I hiked into the forest, and, eventually, down hill and back to the Laurel-Snow Trail along Richland Creek.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this recount of my recent Adventure At Paine Creek. Thanks for visiting & enjoy the great outdoors!

Categories
Nature Photography

Valley of Boulders

I made up the name, but it certainly fits – this trail at Black Mountain, near Crab Orchard, Tennessee, has dozens of gigantic boulders.

If you’d be interested in a print for your home or office, etc., then visit my shop at Pixels – many varieties are available…

Categories
Nature Photography

Little Piney Creek

After reviewing my options and seeing no clear pathway to the base of Lower Piney Falls, I turned and decided to follow Little Piney Creek, with a low water line, back towards Upper Piney Falls. It was a good decision (though I later fell on my keister) and I was pleased to observe many beautiful sights in this remote gorge environment. This photograph highlights an area which was especially appealing, with unique geological outcroppings, shallow water, reflections, and sunshine streaming from around the bend.

Framed / Canvas / Art / Poster / Metal / Wood / Acrylic / Tapestry

Prints and other items are available through my shops at Pixels and/or Fine Art America – a nice accent for your home or office!

Enjoy the great outdoors!

Categories
Nature Photography

Creek Among Boulders

This picturesque photograph features Big Laurel Creek, a cascading waterway which I enjoyed hiking along en route to Virgin Falls. I’ve added it to my gallery at Pixels, where visitors can find a variety of prints – great for the home, office, lobby or cafeteria setting. Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Nature Photography

Return To Northrup Falls

Located on the Cumberland Plateau in the Colditz Cove State Natural Area, is one of Tennessee’s most stunning waterfalls – Northrup Falls.

It’s an easy hike into the gorge along Big Branch Creek, where visitors pass towering rock cliffs leading to the 65-foot waterfall with turquoise plunge pool. The trail meanders through an old-growth forest of large hemlocks and white pines, some of which are over 200 years old, before splitting left or right along the top edge of the gorge. There, the trail becomes a loop and either direction leads to the base of (and behind) the falls. However, traveling left provides an earlier view of several interesting geological sights.

Note: shallow, open cave-like structures – a.k.a., “rock houses” – line the creek gorge. These shelters were used by cliff-dwelling Woodland Indians over 3,000 years ago.

Recent Photographs

This was my second time visiting Northrup Falls, and I did so during a period of a few hours, between (several days of) rain and an oncoming thunderstorm. Hence, everything was wet – muddy trail, slippery rocks – with complete cloud cover. Nevertheless, beautiful scenery!

My First Visit

I first visited Northrup Falls last summer during the month of July, when I enjoyed warm weather, vibrant colors of nature and dry conditions. Here are a few photographs from that hike…

Prints

You can enjoy these beautiful scenes of the great outdoors year-round with the purchase of a print from my shop at Pixels. Select among these options: framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and/or acrylic. And, framed prints may also be customized to suit your wishes (size, frame, mat, paper and finish). Whether as home decor, at the office, in a lobby or cafeteria setting, waterfalls serve as an appealing, refreshing addition to your living spaces. Enjoy!

Video

Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Nature Photography

Layers of Rock And Moss

Water drips from rocky ledges along the trail to Ozone Falls, located on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee, dampening moss and leaves. Guests may visit my gallery to see prints and more.

Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Nature Photography

Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls

Wow! I’ve hiked many areas in the state, but so far none can compare to the plethora of waterfalls as found along the Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls, located near Dayton, TN.

From the moment I stepped out my vehicle and on to the trail, the sound of running water was loud, present throughout my hike. Though alltrails.com lists the hike at 6.1 miles out and back, a placard at the trailhead cites the total distance as 5 miles. Whatever the case, I definitely added another mile or two exploring off trail – there were photography opportunities around every corner!

The road into the park is filled (no pun intended) with potholes – it’s somewhat of an obstacles course. Thus, drive slowly with caution around sharp turns near steep hills.

Richland Creek was full, with a wonderful blue-green coloration in deeper pools and dozens of small-to-medium size waterfalls visible from the trail. Other water sources – including Paine Creek – were flowing with waterfalls to enjoy while hiking. Also, huge boulders – some 30 feet tall – periodically peppered the waterside.

The trail, formerly a railroad bed of The Dayton Coal & Iron Company, Limited, was mostly hard-pack dirt and flat, though muddy in areas. Though the trail splits (a white blaze leads left along the creek, and, orange ribbons around trees mark a route into the forest, leading to the right), both trails soon reconnect before reaching a new, aluminum bridge. Thereafter, the trail becomes quite rocky, and signs are posted for Snow Falls (left) and the 80-foot Laurel Falls (right).

Photographs

Prints

If you’d be interested in a print for your home, office, or in the lobby or cafeteria of your business, academic facility or hospital, then please visit my shop at Pixels. Thanks!

Video

See Also: Laurel-Snow Trail To Buzzard Point

Categories
Nature Photography

Another Roadside Attraction

This photograph features Cane Creek. I was en route to Piney Falls – located at Fall Creek Falls State Park – when I saw a pullover area and couldn’t resist taking a closer look. You, too, can enjoy this scenic image on a print in your home or office – visit my shop at Pixels for more.

Categories
Nature Photography

Lost Creek Cave

Located at the Lost Creek State Natural Area in Tennessee, Lost Creek Cave is one of Tennessee’s largest caves, with five separate entrances and seven miles of mapped passages! This high-contrast, gritty black and white photograph of the cave entrance is available on various prints to suit your interests. Visit my shop to see more.

Categories
Nature Photography

Rocky Trails

Photographs (left, right) from the trail to Fall Creek Falls, in Tennessee. Prints available.

Categories
Nature Photography

Mountain Macro

Close-up photography in black and white of Black Mountain, as seen along the Cumberland Trail near Crab Orchard, Tennessee. See more.

Categories
Science Fiction Surreal

Scene From Time

Looking out on a barren desert from inside the fossilized jaw of a prehistoric beast. View from the edge of an unusual cave with glowing orange object in water. Desert landscape with reflective three dimensional fractal design duplicated and flipped on vertical axis.

Whatever scenario you choose to envision, I hope that you’ll enjoy my digital artwork! Visit these galleries for more – Redbubble, Society 6 and/or Pixels.

Categories
Nature Photography

Water On Rock

Close-up photograph of stream water running across a smooth rock. If you’d be interested in a print for your home or office, check out my gallery at Pixels. Available print types include framed, canvas, art, metal, acrylic and wood.

Categories
Nature Photography

Mist At Cumberland Falls

Featuring a column of mist, this photograph of Cumberland Falls in Kentucky was shot downstream using a zoom lens. See more.

Categories
Nature Photography

House Mountain

I recently hiked House Mountain, the tallest point in Knox County, Tennessee, located near Corryton. With an elevation of 2,110 feet above sea level, hikers may ascend 1,000 feet from the surrounding valley on either the blue (Mountain) or white (West Overlook) trail.

Photographs

Prints

Visit my shop at Pixels for a great selection of home decor prints featuring these scenic photographs!

Categories
Nature Photography

Boulder Fields

This photograph of rock structures was taken along the trail in the Boulder Fields of Obed Wild And Scenic River, in Tennessee. See more.

Categories
Nature Photography

Black And White Cliff

This black and white photograph was taken in the Boulder Fields at the Obed Wild And Scenic River in Tennessee. See more at Pixels.

Categories
Nature Photography

Benton Falls In Tennessee

I recently visited Benton Falls in the Chilhowee Recreation Area of the Cherokee National Forest, located in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of southeastern Tennessee.

Note: If traveling on 1-75, I’d recommend access to the falls via US Highway 64, rather than Benton Springs Road – which is a shorter distance, though better suited for four-wheel drive vehicles, or mules.

From US Highway 64, driving seven miles north on Oswald Road affords visitors the opportunity to enjoy several separate scenic overlooks:

The Park

There’s a $3 admission to the park, payable at various posted areas; seal your money in the provided envelope, remove the adjoining stub to hang from your vehicle-mirror, and deposit funds in the designated repository.

The 1.5 mile trail to Benton Falls is an easy hike through the forest along a generally flat surface of mostly hard-packed sand, and passes by McCamy Lake:

Benton Falls

The two photographs below appear similar. However, the first example uses burst shooting, stacking 20 photographs onto one another, while the second image is a single shot with a longer exposure. This difference affects how the water is presented:

a steep descent of water from a height; a cascade.

Prints

Enjoy my photography on a print in your home, at the office, in a lobby or cafeteria setting. Many print types are available – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. Other items, also. Visit my gallery for more. Thanks!

Video

Categories
Nature Photography

Emory Gap Falls At Frozen Head

I recently visited Emory Gap Falls, a 20′ waterfall located at Frozen Head State Park near Wartburg, Tennessee, enjoying a pleasant autumn afternoon along my three-mile (roundtrip) hike. The trail also passed by a waterfall known as Debord Falls – more on that another time.

The trailhead is located at the end of the park, where the road stops at a parking area. It’s a half-mile hike to Debord Falls, and another one-mile until you’ll reach Emory Gap Falls. Initially, the trail is wide with good footing and limited changes in elevation. Follow the signs, and don’t cross the bridge –

The trail follows two streams – Panther Branch & Emory Gap Branch. At one point, it changes direction, leading up hill and away from the water. While this seems counter intuitive, hikers should follow the signs to stay on track –

Here are a few images which I photographed while hiking along the trail –

The trail eventually rejoined the stream, sounds of which grew louder as I approached the waterfall. As seen below, my first views of Emory Gap Falls

Emory Gap Falls

Prints

Visit my gallery to discover a variety of fine prints featuring photographs of Frozen Head State Park. Perfect for home, the office, a lobby or cafeteria. And, great as a gift!

Video

Categories
Nature Photography

Barnett Bridge At Obed

Located in the Obed Wild And Scenic River National Park, Tennessee, Barnett Bridge spans the scenic Clear Creek.

Observing a sign while driving along TN-298 S, I followed a narrow road down a long hill with several steep switchback turns. At the base was parking, restrooms and an old stairway leading toward the water. So, I began to hike along a leaf-covered trail parallel to the river.

After approx. 1/2 mile, I came to a clearing with some wonderful views of a rock-strewn waterway, featuring autumn colors reflecting across the river:

Prints

Many prints available – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood and acrylic. May be customized to suit your tastes. Add to your home decor, refresh your office space, or consider giving a print as a gift to family and/or friends!

And, see my recent Clear Creek At Obed visit!