Winter at the Falls

Prints are available in my gallery at Fine Art America. This is Upper Piney Falls.

Choose from the following print types: framed, art, metal, canvas, poster, wood, acrylic and tapestry. Also, framed prints may be customized to suit your wishes!


Yesterday, I left Knoxville at 5:50 a.m., driving over an hour through the dark, in order to hike to the 80-foot tall Upper Piney Falls. My goal was to be on the trail by 7:10 a.m., one-half hour before sunrise, so that I could reach the falls near daybreak. On the final stretch of my journey, slowly driving around potholes through a quiet farming countryside, I crested a small hill to see a large cow standing in the road. Safely moving within a few feet of the animal, I rolled down my window to say, “You be careful – go on home, now”. The cow didn’t move, but soon after, I arrived as the only car to park in a small lot near the trailhead of the Piney Falls State Natural Area.

It was only 30-degrees as I headed into the still-dark forest. After hiking nearly 10 minutes, I heard something somewhat heavy moving among the trees, and raised my voice so as to let it know that I was aware of its presence. It was impossible to know for sure what it was…a bear? Sasquatch? Another cow?

Many areas of Tennessee received a few inches of snow on Monday, accompanied by frigid, single-digit temperatures. The cold persisted through Tuesday, though Wednesday afternoon relented to reach a high near 45-degrees. That warmup caused snow and ice to melt, which then froze again overnight. Hence, many surfaces around the waterfall during my hike were extremely slippery! As such, accessing locations downhill from which to take photographs was a strenuous, methodical challenge – for all practical purposes, impossible without trekking poles.

In my third photograph (see above), taken at an elevation approx. midway up the falls, 15-foot tall icicles had melted the previous afternoon along the trail (a popular footpath in warmer weather), before refreezing. This was indicative of all surfaces, including hillsides, as what appears to be snow was actually ice. As such, my efforts to follow the trail behind the falls were thwarted at the edge of ground cover. So, without sufficient footholds, I begrudgingly (but safely) turned around to begin my hike to the next location…Lower Piney Falls.

Thanks for stopping by!


33 responses to “Winter at the Falls”

    1. Thank you, dear Christina 🤗🌹

  1. Loved the backstory of this piece. But where is the photo of the cow, or better yet, of Sasquatch?!😂

    1. 😂😂 Unfortunately, the camera was still in my backpack at the cow sighting. 🐄📷 Have a wonderful 2023, dear Mary! 🤗🌹

  2. Very impressive Phil!

  3. Great journey, even the cow!

    1. haha Thanks, Richard 👍

  4. Beautiful photos and video, Phil! You made the right choice in turning around.

  5. It looks wonderful, but so cold. 😉😊

    1. Yes, and yes 🥶😂 I’m glad you like it, my dear friend Nicole ~ wishing for you a wonderful 2023 🤗🌹

  6. As always, beautiful photos! Happy new year Phil!

    1. Thank you for your kind words, dear Vanessa ~ much appreciated! Wishing for you the same, my friend…happy new year & safe hiking! 🤗🌹

  7. i loved the pix & appreciated the backstory especially! i know what it’s like to hike in those conditions! thanks for the healing dose of nature!🌳🌞🌳

    1. Thanks so much, dear Joy! I’m glad that you enjoyed this post of my hike in nature. Even in the cold weather, there is so much beauty to see and appreciate. 🤗🌹

    1. Thank you, lovely Holly! It’s always nice to see you and I’m pleased that you like these winter scenes. Despite cold temperatures to start the day, it certainly was a wonderful hike. Wishing for you a splendid 2023 filled with peace, love, good health and happiness 😘🌹

  8. Beautiful as always! Thanks for sharing! Wishing for you a splendid and a happy and healthy 2023! 😘🌹🌹

    1. Thanks so much, my friend Inge! I’m glad you like it, and appreciate both your kind words & new year wishes! I also wish for you a year of good health and great happiness ~ TY dear 🌹🌹🤗🙏🙏

  9. Oh, my gosh! You’re amazing! What a trek! Before dawn? With ice? Zowwweeeeee! I’m glad you did – and that you’re OK – because these are extraordinarily beautiful and fascinating! How amazing, the transition from moving water to ice! Gorgeous photos! And I loved seeing/hearing the video.

    (I hope that cow went home to warm up, though!)

    1. Haha Yes, though the cow wasn’t moo-ving very much, mostly standing. 🐄 Thanks, dear Robin! I’m usually so focused on water volume, but really the ice stole the show! I’m glad you enjoyed it, my friend! 🤗🌹 TY

  10. Emotions for the soul, remained for my soul! I hug you with love! Divine blessings and infinite love forever! Magical, loving and beautiful New Year! Happy New Year and Happy New Year 2023! ☘🤗🥂🎄

    1. You are most kind, dear Ileana ~ thank you! Also wishing you a very Happy New Year! 🤗🌹

  11. The falls look even more beautiful in the winter 🙂

    1. I was thinking the same thing, my friend! Hesitant to venture into the cold weather, I finally made the trek and was glad that I did. The snow, ice and icicles really made for a wonderful landscape scene. Thanks for visiting, my dear friend Hannah, and I wish for you and yours a happy, healthy & prosperous 2023 🙂

  12. Nice pictures. I’m working with canvas, inspired by scenery of the world and nature.

  13. WOW! You are brave, Phil! Loved sharing this adventure with you without having to move off my comfy seat!

    1. Thanks so much for reading about my icy adventure! While much different than a summer hike, the snow and ice really was beautiful to see (and watch, so as not to slip). 😂 Have a great week ahead! 😊

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