Burnside Photographic "The question is not what you look at, but what you see." – Henry David Thoreau

November 11, 2013

GSMNP – Moving On

Smoky Mountain

They call them the Great Smoky Mountains for a reason!

This phase of my southern safari comes to an end, with a drive through the main road of the National Park on a grey morning.

The next stop on this trip will be something completely different, but as I leave this region and head for the coast, I am reminded of my initial thoughts as I began the trip on the Skyline Drive.  I suppose there are equally inspiring places in the world, but for the last few days, there has been nowhere I would rather be.

November 10, 2013

Out and Back

Moss on Log

When I’m walking an “In and Out” trail such as Henwallow Falls, as opposed to a Loop Trail with no back tracking, I make it a point to do one of two things.  Not looking back, when you’re walking in, gives you a whole new set of things to look at when you’re walking out. In this case, I used method #2, in which I make it a point not to look down when I’m walking in, but saving that for when I’m walking out.  Again, a whole new set of things to appreciate.

Looking down also gives one a more intimate view of his surroundings, reminiscent of the work of the great photographic poet of nature, Eliot Porter, whose work I much admire. Some times you have to look at the little things to get the big story.

n.b.: This show is much more effective in full screen, which you can see by clicking the little square icon at the bottom right corner of the frame. Hit “escape” to return to the normal screen. 

November 9, 2013

Henwallow Falls Trail – GSMNP

Henwallow Falls Trail

Henwallow Falls was a popular destination well before the formation of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and it’s easy to see why. It’s a relatively easy day hike – 4.2 miles (round trip), but challenging in spots. It is a little hard to find the trail head, if you’re not familiar with the territory, and one gets the impression that it’s more popular with the “locals” than interlopers like me.

Having parked in the only logical place, I wandered around looking for the trail, and came upon a picnic, of sorts, with a handful of really good bluegrass players, maybe 50 people, many of whom were kids, and a guy grilling up a storm, who was nice enough to offer me “the best burger you’ve ever eaten.” I declined as politely as I could, explaining that I wanted to get my hike in first.  Perhaps later. I asked where if he knew where the trail head might be and he directed me about 50 yards down the road on the opposite side.

It was a wonderful walk both in terms of its degree of difficulty and distance, as well as offering a perfect sampling of the wonderful topography and woodlands that make this park so special.  More on that later, but right now, here’s the “traditional” view of Henwallow Falls Trail.

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