Alone time in nature has the effect of recharging emotions and grounding you to reality. You can absorb some of the calm energy that the natural world emits. A forest is a great monastery. It’s still and silent but you seem to come out of it a lot wiser.
I regularly explore the woods on the family land. I spent this weekend out there and I feel completely revitalized. Found lots of interesting flora, some salamanders, beetles, grubs, spiders, and one snake.
Also managed to total my bike. Apparently riding through uncharted woods is a good way to snap your drivetrain. Mountain bike on the wishlist.
As the Earth rotates along her axis, the stars appear to move across the sky. After capturing over an hour of light, that movement appears as the star trails you see here.
My friend asked me to write about my experience out there to make the photo more magical. So I wrote a surreal one and another version that is far more accurate about my time out there.
Laying under a young spring sky with a cool northern blanket. Nothing between us and the great primal spirits of the cosmos. Their teach us ancient wisdom in silent languages.. We lay under a young spring sky with a cool northern blanket. until wakened by the new dawn
Honest Version: The campfire warms my face. Until the wind is scorn and burns my face with ash. I move my chair, but I cannot escape it. The smoke chokes me, and burns my eyes. Somewhere in the distance a child screams. A car passes by and I’m blinded by headlights. I rub my eyes and I see light spots. Dizzy, I stand. I need to lay down. Flailing, I fall from my hammock and plop onto the ground. It is dirty. Something is piercing my arm but I cannot see it.
I lay down to sleep beneath the infinite stars. A root of a tree feeds on water and nutrients in the soil as it pushes into my diaphragm. The night is perfect. I jump up in a panic when i realize I’ve lost my keys. I search for them frantically through the unkept grass and pine cones. Oh here they are they slipped out when I fell from the hammock. I forget that my camera is still on. I go and turn it off. I swat a bug. Fin.
The trek up to Clingman’s dome was some of the most pleasant hiking I’ve ever experienced. It was about 68 degrees, overcast, and every now and then a very slight mist would past through. The scenery and hiking trails were beautiful and had new sites at every bend.
When we reached the summit, we were higher than every mountain around us. Nothing in any direction could limit our site.
A storm rolled in, and we began to head back down. But not before I took one of my favorite photos from the trip.
This photo captures the namesake of the Smoky Mountains.
We decided we wanted to see some waterfalls. As Louisianians, any waterfall is impressive, and Grotto Falls did not disappoint. The clear pools of water and boulders to climb were plenty to keep our minds impressed.
This abandoned water mill was a nice treat on our way out. I snapped this shot of the tread.
We were lucky to stumbled across what is locally called the Midnight Waterhole.
After a day of ziplining, we made friends with the zipline workers who later showed us this hidden gem off the beaten trail. A cozy little tourist-free waterfall with a pool deep enough to jump off into.
Ahead of the falls I found some nicely flowing water over some rockbeds and snapped a few photos.
I also spotted a timber rattlesnake hiding in the brush.
We’d already seen a few waterfalls but we still wanted to hike. So we took the time to check out Lorel Falls. Along the way I came across a few noteworthy sites.
But my favorite part of this hike by far was seeing a mother bear and her cubs. They were so high up in the tree it was hard to snap a photo, but I managed a few just to prove the story.
Our horseback riding was a fun and unique experience. There’s not much else to say, so here’s some photos.
Ruby Falls is a 145 foot waterfall about 1,120 feet underground inside the caverns of Lookout Mountain. To see it, you need to spelunk deep into the Ruby Falls Cave in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
I really love looking at stalactites and stalagmites are pretty amazing to think about. How incredibly gradual the process is for these formations to occur. The drip drop of limestone deposits built up over millions of years and now here I am with a camera to witness it. Pretty cool to stop and think about it.
Exploring a cave is pretty eerie. Cold and wet, the terrain is completely unnatural from what we’ve evolved to navigate. It’s a thrilling and rewarding experience.
Finally, at the end of our journey through Ruby Falls Cave we finally found the 145 foot underground waterfall — Ruby Falls. It’s lit up by multi-color lights fading into arrays of colors like red, blue, pink and green.
I took a VERY humid day hike on the third weekend of June and there was a lot of cool stuff in the forest this day.
I was walking through some brush where there’s usually rabbits dashing out, and I noticed a little tiny rabbit face. I could tell it was a baby and couldn’t really run away. I decided to ease up to him and pet him a bit before picking him up. Can you spot the little hopper?
When I was done with my rabbit photoshoot, I put him back in his nest and let him relax. Godspeed to you little buddy!
Next I found a few more colonies of Chanterelle mushrooms. Delicious! Here’s my yield for the day from about 5 separate Chanterelle colonies:
Next, I found some scary looking mushrooms. I took photos so I could post them to mushroom ID forums.