Lessons From The Trail

Spatial Awareness

We walk alone in fields, pass through doorways, stand in crowded elevators and wait in lines. Point being – we’re all familiar with our own presence and girth, in a variety of different settings, and generally don’t give it a second thought. However, to stay safe when hiking, some situations mandate a heightened sense of awareness.

In order to get the shot I want when photographing waterfalls, for instance, I sometimes access areas which are inherently dangerous – such as narrow, elevated ledges. Of course, I don’t do so haphazardly – I first closely observe the environment, width, footing, stable handholds within reach, etc.. Perhaps most important, though, is that I remind myself I’m wearing a backpack!

Few scenarios are more startling than attempting to turn around on a ledge, only to have the added bulk of ones backpack bump into a rock face or trees – creating an unbalanced sensation of being pushed forward. It’s difficult to regain ones composure in close spaces when balance is compromised – understand the space you occupy.

Lessons From The Trail

Don’t Rush


People are always in a hurry. In fact, I would suggest this is more common today than ever. Impatience is a sickness and people can’t wait to be somewhere else – anywhere other than their present location. In many instances, this may be inconsequential. However, patience can be very important in an unfamiliar environment.

Case in point: my Adventure At Paine Creek. During a grueling 7 hour hike on a mountain in near 90-degree temperatures, and without a trail – only my ears to listen for running water through the forest, below – I was struggling to make headway. Frustrated with my pace, constantly having to stop and untangle myself from vines, plants and trees, legs bleeding from cuts…there was a temptation to recklessly plow my way through the foliage – to get out as fast as I could!

But, understanding that such behavior would increase the likelihood of injury, I chose instead to remind myself to slow down and exercise caution. As it turned out, doing so provided me with an opportunity on two occasions to observe high rock ledges hidden behind bushes – use your time wisely.

Lessons From The Trail

The sounds of forest animals, echos of rushing water among mountains, wind through the trees…adventures in hiking and photography contribute to a sense of peace & happiness in my life. Accordingly, in order to enjoy such occasions, it’s important to understand and follow a few simple rules – Lessons From The Trail.


Don’t Be Caught Off Guard

It never ceases to amaze me, that, given I only weigh 230 lbs., my weight can nevertheless cause movement of boulders many times my size, often upward of a thousand pounds. While it’s not complicated to understand – a focal point of balance hidden from view – it can be difficult to react when you find yourself caught off guard.

It can happen as you navigate a field of smaller rocks, sometimes unstable and possibly slippery. In your mind, you’ve mapped out a sequence of steps to safely guide your movement across the area, ending on the surface of a large, flat rock assumed to be safe. As you place your final step, the last rock shifts unexpectedly, causing you to lose balance and jeopardizing your safety – not everything is as it appears.

Rock Climbing

If you hike around various mountains and gorges in the area, you’re bound to encounter evidence of rock climbers – such as here, at Black Mountain in Crab Orchard, Tennessee. Prints available at Pixels and ArtFlakes.

Boats For Rent

If you enjoy the water and would like to rent a boat for the day, may I suggest, at a minimum, wearing a life-preserver and searching for a more trustworthy watercraft. In the meantime, you can visit my gallery to check out some prints. Bon voyage!

20% Off Face Masks

Save 20% off all protective face masks in my shop at Society 6.

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This is a limited time offer.

Cummins Falls State Park

I recently visited Cummins Falls State Park on the Blackburn Fork River. Located near Cookeville, Tennessee, the waterfall has an elevation of 75 feet and is Tennessee’s eighth largest waterfall in volume of water. The park features an overlook, access to the top of the waterfall & a 1.5 mile trail into the gorge.

Visitors should be aware while hiking along the river that, depending on rain present in the watershed upstream, flash floods can occur quickly. Park rules stipulate that all children 12 & under must be accompanied by an adult, and must wear a life jacket while at the falls and/or while swimming.

The Hike

The trail through the forest to the gorge is in good condition, consisting of hard-pack dirt with posted wooden railings along cliffs, and limited stairs (where necessary). Hikers should be prepared to walk in shallow water – it’s unavoidable as, often, the riverbed is the trail. I was up to my knees once, though more commonly wading in only ankle-deep water.

While hiking at Cummins Falls State Park, I observed several different types of flowers, fungus, a garter snake, a small blue tailed lizard, and a mountain crayfish that was approx. 1/2 foot in length.

The Waterfall

Consider A Print For Your Home

Cummins Falls State Park is considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the state of Tennessee. Visitors may swim in the plunge pool, climb under the waterfall on stacked layers of stone, skip stones across the river in the gorge, or peacefully meditate in a natural setting.

Visit my shop at Pixels to enjoy fine prints in your home, office, lobby or cafeteria. There are several print types available to suit your wishes.

Video

Hope to see you soon!