This is what you get when you cross tourists and morons, I just returned from vacation with my family from The Smokey Mountains, this was a family vacation so there wasn’t a whole lot of time for photography but I was able to sneak away for a few shots one afternoon.
Being this was the peak of the tourists season I knew things would be bad, I hiked a easy trail up to Grotto Falls, on my way I knew from all the people on the trail that it was going to be crowded. When I arrived I was greeted by 37 other people, all squeezed into a spot about the size of a basketball court. Shaking my head I backed out of there and headed back down the trail to look for something else to photograph. I found this nice little waterfall over a embankment so I climbed down and got this one and a few other images from this spot.
I then climbed back up and sat down to eat some lunch, about this time a group of women, all in their late forties to early fifties approached me and wanted to know what I was shooting over the hillside. I showed them this image on my camera’s lcd screen, they then told me how much they liked it and would love to get a shot just like this on their point and shoot digital cameras, I tried to explain that it didn’t work that way but they would not hear any of that and decided to take matters into their own hands.
Now I am by no means a mountain climber or anything like that, but it was not an easy climb up or down that embankment, and I knew that it was going to be a mistake for them to proceed with this foolish notion of going down there to get this image. But proceed they did, there were 5 women in this group all dressed like they were going to garden party, they made it about 20 feet when the last woman in the group slipped and fell. If you have ever seen penguins sliding on ice and running into each other, this would be the best way to describe what happened next. She slid down the muddy trail taking every single person in her way with her, this mass of dirty screaming humanity did not stop until it reached the creek about 50 feet down the trail.
At this point all the other people at the falls ran to edge to see what had happened, I peered over as well to make sure they were alright, finding them all intact and and in surprisingly good humor I decided I had seen enough. I really didn’t think I would be able to keep a straight face when they made it back up on to the trail, so I quickly gathered my stuff and headed back down the mountain to my vehicle.
I felt a little guilty as I headed down the trail, maybe I should have went down and got them that picture or helped them up back up, but then I remembered how they acted when I told them it wasn’t a good idea to try to go down over that hill. I don’t know if they ever got that shot, and it really wasn’t that great of a scene to begin with, but they all survived and will be able to have a good story to tell when they get home. My only regret was not having a video camera to record the whole thing, it would have made a great bloopers tape.