While on vacation in the Smokys we found another great out-of-the-way trail to hike and that was the Chastain Creek Trail. The trail gets its start at the Smokemount campground on the North Carolina side of the Park. The trail actually starts with the Bradley Fork trail and after you travel about 1.2 miles you will come across a side trail which is the Chastain Creek trail, the trail is actually very easy to hike with very little elevation change which is rare in the Mountains.
The hike is very pleasant with most of it being an old roadbed that follows the Bradley Fork of the Oconaluftee River, you pass thru beautiful stands of Yellow Birch and lush moss and fern covered understory, you also share the trail with horses as well so you best mind where you put your feet. You soon arrive at the trail for Chastain Creek which veers to the right, the trail is well marked so you shouldn’t pass it.
After you enter the trail you will hike another mile before you come to an impressive slide in the creek, Chastain Cascade, it is wide spot in the creek where the water slides down a large rock formation for about 40 feet. We hiked it in the Fall which made for beautiful color and also we made the trek in a rainstorm which added to the beauty of the cascade. After taking a few images we made our way back down the trail only to be greeted with another sight I have not see before.
When you hike in the Smokys it is not uncommon to come across many wild animals, I have seen everything form whitetail deer to black bears and turkeys, I have also come across innumerable species of birds and even viewed many of the large number of salamanders which call the park home. But after we had hiked about a half a mile we came across something that I had not experienced before… Wild Boars !!
The rain had softened the sounds of us moving down the trail so when we happened across the boars neither them or us were aware of each others existence, so as you can imagine both species were startled by the encounter. Luckily for us the boar thought we were much more of a threat to them so they quickly vacated the area leaving us a little shaken by their presence, I have seen many bear in the park but these guys just seemed a little more intimidating to me than the average bear.
But no harm was done and of course my camera was in its backpack, were it usually is when I come across an unusual animal sighting. So if you are in the mood for a nice hike in the park give this trail a try you are sure to see a beautiful cascade and if you are lucky you just might come across a pig or two while you are out.
After ten days and countless hours in bed I think I have finally put the worst behind me, if they were right and my son and I both had the swine flu I will have to disagree with the assertion that it is harder on the young than the old, my son struggled with it a bit but it put me down really hard !!
I hope this puts to an end the flu season for me and my family but I know the odds of that happening are slim to none, after a couple of years of relatively flu free winters this could end up being a nasty year !! So now it’s wait and see what next strain will come calling and how bad it will be, it doesn’t help that my son is in Elementary School, my wife works in a hospital and I coach High School Basketball. Can’t run and hide from it when you have that many possible exposures !!
Moving on to something a little more pleasant Scott Thomas at http://stphoto.wordpress.com/ has a monthly assignment on his blog, and this months assignment is what November means to you and to me it means fall color !!
I shot this one a few November’s back and really loved the curve in the creek and the colorful leaves sprinkled all thru out the image. Take a look at Scott’s Blog there is a lot of great shots there and some very informative posts. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look hope you stay healthy and flu free this year !!
Here is a couple more shots from last week when I had a chance to get out before the fall colors were blown away. Both of these shots came within a few yards of each other, the top one on one of the staircases that lead down to Clifty Creek and the other was just along the loop road that travels thru the park. At this point the weather conditions were optimal but windy and rainy weather set in later that day and downed most of the leaves in the park, without this one day my entire fall would have been a bust but sometimes things go right and you can get it right and fill your card with a bunch of images.
There are just a few trees left here and there but I have a feeling it’s going to be winter very soon, one of my least favorite times of the year, and hopefully the winter won’t be miserably cold I can take the snow but the cold gets worse the older I get.
I hope you had a great fall and were able to capture some great images,thanks for stopping by and taking a look.
Well the fall has pretty much come and gone, lots of rain and high winds put a quick damper on the Fall Leaf display, I was able to get a few shots but didn’t even close to what I had planned on getting this year. I was able to make a quick trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I came back with a few nice shots. The leaf display here never really lived up to the expectations that I had for them this year,shows what I know, and the high winds and rain took them out before I even had a chance to really get out and work them.
But all in all it wasn’t a total wash and I got a few shots from here in Madison Indiana, Clifty Falls State Park and the GSMNP, so as time permits I will share them here with you and if you have any time, I would love any feedback you could add to them.
This shot came from Littler Clifty Falls, I had some limbs in the FG that were impossible to move or clone out so I am hoping that don’t hurt the image too much. I also had to shoot from the walkway along the top of the falls and could only get an over the edge type of perspective, which I thought added a neat touch to the scene, we had a lot of rain their night before which stained the water a bit and had knocked many of the leaves down. The light was really nice when I shot this, there was a strong yellow light that seemed to envelope the entire gorge and surrounding woods due to all the leaves that had that as a predominate color.
This was about the best day that I got to shoot, nice overcast skies and very little wind made for idea shooting conditions that day, one upside from all the rain meant water levels were high in the park which added to the fall colors. Hope you enjoy the shot and if you have any feedback I would appreciate you sharing it, thanks for taking a look.
If you click on the image you will get a larger view as well.
Here is another shot from my recent hike, I shot this right below Schoolhouse Falls in Southern Indiana, the color in the forest hadn’t really turned yet but a few early leaves did happen to land on this rock which I thought added a lot of character to the scene.
The great thing about shooting in these canyons and gorges that surround our community is the fact there are just an amazing variety of shots you can get in just a short hike in this area. You can go for your classic large landscape waterfall shots like the ones I posted before or you can do more intimate abstract shots like the above or even work your way down to spring wildflower or macro leaf shots.
Just make sure you bring lenses to cover all your focal lengths and a tripod to work off of and then find yourself a beautiful place to work, I am sure wherever you live there is somewhere close by that you can photograph many of the same subjects I have in my area. Try to get out in the morning and evening or a cloudy windless day also look for the extraordinary in an ordinary world, shoot things other people overlook and you never know what you might find.
With Fall quickly approaching now is the time to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather and surroundings and bring home a few good images as well, thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!
You need to click on this one for the larger viewing size as well.