Tag: adventure

  • Story: Wave Runners

    Everyone has a story of something they did once upon a time, which, in retrospect, was probably not a good idea. This is one such tale.

    Flashback to the 1990’s. At that time, I was splitting an apartment in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a friend named Ralph, who also enjoyed outdoor challenges. As such, every now and then, when the weather turned foul, we’d telephone a wave report recording, which detailed conditions present on Lake Michigan.

    One stormy summer day, this report cited waves near Holland, Michigan, as high as 8-12 feet, including a stern recommendation to avoid coastal areas. Well, that was exactly what we were hoping to hear, and so quickly jumped into the car on a road trip to the south pier, demarcating the channel between Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. Thirty minutes later, we parked and continued our trek on foot through strong winds and rain, toward the pier.

    This was a big storm, as whitecap waves crashed up and down the beach, surging far inland along the coastline. As we approached, it became apparent that roughly 20% of the pier was engulfed in waves at any given moment. This observation should’ve served as an omen not to proceed…

    However, after an extensive discussion it was decided that, though obviously dangerous, our individual attributes of bravery, keen sense of observation and quick reactions, respectively, were sufficient to undertake the challenge: which was, to see who could traverse farthest along the pier?

    Note: digital cameras didn’t exist on the market at that time, but I’ve included a few photographs taken many years later, which show the coastal landscape and piers:

    Relative to the second image – which is actually an aspect of the other pier, to the north – the storm we faced was significantly stronger and with much larger waves. In point of fact, unlike the common and predictably wind-driven pattern of waves rolling in uniform rows, what we encountered was less organized and wild, with waves crashing from both the front and side directions.

    Painted blue, bollards were positioned along the length of each pier. Were the situation to present itself where either one of us was unable to elude an oncoming wave, my friend suggested that the best course of action was to drop down onto the pier and secure oneself by clutching on to a bollard for safety.

    And so began the challenge.

    This endeavor was as difficult as it was foolish, as waves broke across the pier at essentially random intervals, all the time of which my eyes were glued on the water. Movement entailed both quick footsteps and brief sprints, scrambling on the concrete both forward and backwards in order to safely create space between potentially hazardous waves. It was a major adrenaline rush, to say the least.

    I’d estimate that I was approximately 50-60% of the way out on the pier when it happened. I glanced back to check on my friend, only to see Ralph hunkered down and clinging for dear life to a bollard…as he was swept away by a huge wave, washing him over the other side of the pier toward the channel, down into the rocks.

    I immediately moved back toward where he was, all the while watching over my shoulder to remain cognizant of approaching waves. From a distance of 15-feet away, I spotted Ralph among the rocks with only his head visible above water, and without a stronghold for safety. Glancing back once more, I then saw him suddenly disappear into a trough of shifting waters, sinking an estimated 5-feet among the rocks and vanishing, out of sight. There was nothing I could do to help him.

    Then, only seconds later, the water crested, lifting Ralph up and out of that den of death, tossing him like driftwood on to the rocks, where he latched-on and was able to dash up the incline to the top of the pier.

    We hightailed it back to shore as quickly as possible, never again to challenge such a storm as was experienced on that day.

  • Lower Piney Falls

    Lower Piney Falls

    Located on the Cumberland Plateau in Grandview, Tennessee, this photograph of cascades was taken at the top of Lower Piney Falls, close to the edge of the actual 40-foot waterfall.

    © 2022 Phil Perkins

  • Focus on Flow

    Focus on Flow

    This long exposure photograph features a close-up view of cascades on Little River, located in the Smoky Mountains near Townsend, Tennessee. Many fine prints and other items are available…

    © 2022 Phil Perkins

  • Cascades on Little River

    Cascades on Little River

    Enjoy the beauty of nature on a wall in your home with my landscape photography, featuring cascades along Little River – located in the Smoky Mountains. See more in my Pixels, ArtPal or ArtFlakes shops!

  • Climbing to the Stars

    Climbing to the Stars

    This digital collage includes rocky terrain from a photograph I shot along Richland Creek, while hiking the Laurel-Snow Trail in Dayton, Tennessee, and an evening sky with stars. You can discover great wall art, gifts and apparel items in my shops at Redbubble, Pixels and ArtPal. Hope to see you soon!

  • Terraced Mountains

    Terraced Mountains

    Fantasy landscape digital artwork depicting several sedimentary, terraced mountains, with fog and a curving waterway passage. It looks great on a variety of products – posters, mugs, tee shirts, device cases, pet blankets, etc. – available in the following galleries:

    Sample products…

  • Little River Rapids

    Little River Rapids

    It doesn’t matter how much water is flowing in a river to see the beauty present along a rocky riverbed. Case in point – Little River, located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. On this visit, the water was shallow but moving quickly.

    If you share this opinion, perhaps you can imagine my photography on a wall in your home? Great prints and more are available in the the following galleries, so come by and have a look around…

  • Sci Fi Landscape

    Sci Fi Landscape

    Welcome to another world, a science fiction landscape of jagged mountain peaks and a mysterious turquoise sphere reflecting in the distance. Guests are encouraged to visit the following galleries for out of this world merchandise:

    Thanks for stopping by! 👽

  • Upper Piney Falls

    Upper Piney Falls

    Located on the Cumberland Plateau in Grandview, Tennessee, Upper Piney Falls carries the Little Piney River over a scenic 80-feet tall waterfall into a gorge. Hikers can walk behind the falls, and dogs (leashed) are welcome in the park.

    Prints are available in my gallery. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Cades Cove

    Cades Cove

    Here’s a photograph taken while on my recent visit to Cades Cove. It shows a southern view, facing away from the Smoky Mountains in the direction to which the peaks taper off.

    Bears are popular here, and I had the pleasure of seeing four cubs. One was in the woods near the road, and quickly ran deeper into the forest. The other three were high in a tree, barely visible as obscured by the foliage, though commanding the attention of a small crowd of 20 cars and passengers, below. Bears are very good climbers and one cub was at the top of the tree, approx. 60-feet in the air, causing the tree to sway quite a bit.

    You can see more in my gallery – thanks!

  • Mountains Beyond

    Mountains Beyond

    This black and white photograph features several trees obscuring a background view of the Smoky Mountains, as seen from the top of Mount LeConte, located near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. You can see more in my gallery.

  • Desert at Night

    Desert at Night

    Digital art featuring canyon walls and a pathway into the desert at night…be careful not to step on any rattlesnakes! Prints, gifts and apparel items are available in these shops: Pixels, Tee Public and Redbubble. Thanks for stopping by!