Phil Perkins Photography

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Tag: Cades Cove

  • Waterfall


    This 30-foot tall waterfall located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee is Spruce Flats Falls. You can see more when visiting my gallery, where many prints are available. So, check it out…

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Forest Falls

    Forest Falls

    Morning sunlight streams over mountain peaks, through trees and on to an edge of this forest waterfall. Located in the Smoky Mountains along an eight mile out and back trail, this autumn scenery is available on prints in my gallery.

  • On the Trail

    Photograph of the trail in forest leading to Spruce Flats Falls in the Smoky Mountains.

    I recently shot this photograph along the mountainside trail to Spruce Flats Falls and Upper Spruce Flats Falls, located in the Tremont section of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. It’s available on prints in my galleries at Pixels and ArtPal, and I’m sure it would look great on a wall in your home! Check it out…

  • More Waterfall Shots

    After my hike up the mountain, I shot these photographs of Upper Spruce Flats Falls – before, and as the sunrise created a lens flare effect. Though not visible from 30-feet below at Spruce Flats Falls, an expenditure of substantial effort is required in order to visit this site…climbing quite a distance up the steep mountain, and then down along a different track to eventually reach a viewing area probably not more than 8-feet wide. You can see more in my gallery. Thanks!

  • Spruce Flats Falls

    Before hiking off-trail to locate Upper Spruce Flats Falls, I enjoyed visiting the picturesque 30-foot tall Spruce Flats Falls, capturing this image. You can enjoy this scenery on a wall at home or work, when selecting a print from either of my galleries at Pixels or ArtPal. Many print types are available. Thanks for visiting!

  • Upper Spruce Flats Falls

    It had been quite a while since first I saw another waterfall above Spruce Flats Falls. During autumn of 2021, as leaves fell from the trees, I’d caught a glimpse of whitewater through bare branches as I traversed a mountain trail in the Smoky Mountains.

    Of course, I had to find a way to access these newly discovered falls, but, over time, that proved to be difficult. There was no way to climb up and over the 30-foot tall Spruce Flats Falls, as it ran down a vertical wall of slippery, wet rock. On the right side of the gorge is a tall mountain, with several sections of imposing cliffs and no visually discernible route of ascension.

    I’d tried the left side, before, successfully climbing up some distance, though, without seeing a path forward, turned around. Yesterday, however, I tried again.

    The hillside is very steep and always wet, due to both airborne mist from the falls, and given that its proximity is somewhat shielded from direct sunlight. Under wet leaves, the soil remains damp and slippery. This means that, to advance uphill, there are often instances when footing is reliable for no more than a few seconds.

    As such, it’s important to avoid open areas which lack handholds – rocks, exposed tree roots, trees and bushes (especially Rhododendrons, a hearty shrub).

    After an arduous climb, I reached a relatively flat space and stood to rest for a moment. I also laughed, because, as I caught my breath and thought about how strenuous that climb had been, I saw an old tree with many persons initials carved into the bark. Well, I thought…I’m sure they were younger than 59 years old!

    Thus far, stability and continuity of movement were of primary concern; if I’d lost balance and started to slide down such a steep face, I probably couldn’t have stopped. To such ends, I expended a great deal of physical energy, which, at times, included essentially crawling uphill to increase the breadth of my grip, where little was present.

    With this endeavor, challenges were constant, and the need for caution, continuous. In order to access the base of Upper Spruce Flats Falls, I needed to keep climbing much higher before then descending across the mountainside along a diagonal trajectory – I knew where the falls where, but only generally how to go about getting there.

    Looking forward I could see that I first needed to reach higher ground, some 20-feet above my location. To do so, I’d either have to backtrack a fair distance in order to climb up a rocky section; or, alternatively, I could try a route directly in front of me, across a narrow leaf-covered ledge and then up a short but steep hill, also with leaves.

    As I mapped out an ascent in front of me, it appeared that there would be sufficient small rocks in place to establish safe handholds. Well, that turned out to be a mistake.

    Halfway into the process, I realized that the ground was more slippery than anticipated and, while a few fixed rocks had decent edges for gripping, the consequence of slipping would entail a fall of 20 feet. I quickly gathered myself, and, very slowly, climbed down in reverse from whence I came. Once safe, I opted for the other route.

    After an exhaustive hike up the mountain, than across and back down again, through dense shrubbery and vines with thorns, my legs were gashed and bleeding in several spots. Nonetheless, I’d finally arrived at the approx. 25-foot tall waterfall!

    Prints available in my gallery.

    Lessons From the Trail

    A note about trekking poles. Walking sticks provide hikers with the capacity to achieve better balance, and I surely could not have reached this waterfall absent such aides. However, more commonly, I used my trekking poles continuously to brace myself from sliding downhill, as push-points for upward locomotion, to test surface footing underneath leaves, remove debris from underfoot, and, on my return, as points through which to gather my weight during descent.

    A note about leaves. Leaves can be deceptive, as often a flat blanket of leaves does not accurately represent an underlying surface. There may be crevices or a hole. Also, leaves accumulated on a hill against the upside of a log may simply be stacked in suspension. Either way, it’s important to always check for stability before trusting your step.

    A note about handholds. For safety, every handhold should first be tested whenever possible. One should never assume, for instance, that a tree will support ones weight, particularly when its the only point of stability being relied upon. In such situations, grasping the base of the tree near the ground increases the likelihood that a tree won’t break.

    A note about focus. The cost of weak moments can be significant and, just as the physical demands of such a climb left me exhausted, so too did the need to retain focus. Herein, in order to remain safe and to accomplish my goal, each step had to be considered, and each movement methodical. Furthermore, as previously noted, it’s always better to err on the side of caution and take the time to be thorough when weighing options to proceed; to recognize a diminished state of mental acuity, and not allow oneself to hurry.

  • Black and White Landscape

    This black and white photograph features a valley field with fence post at Cades Cove, an historical region located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. In addition to many wooded-trails, waterfalls and vintage structures, the park also offers a very popular 11 mile scenic drive. Prints and more are available in galleries at Pixels and ArtPal.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  • Indian Flats Falls

    Indian Flats Falls

    Located in the Tremont section of the Great Smoky Mountains, near Cades Cove in Tennessee, Indian Flats Falls features a beautiful four-tiered series of waterfalls, totaling nearly 60-feet.

    The trek is approx. 8 miles out and back through a scenic, forested landscape, and hikers commonly have the area all to themselves to enjoy a peaceful visit.

    Prints are available in my Pixels and ArtPal galleries. Thanks for stopping by!

  • Vintage Cooking

    Vintage Cooking

    Hey, thanks for stopping by! I’d planned to serve lunch to guests, today, but my new stove is back in the shop and this older model simply won’t suffice…alas. I’ll see what I can do about getting a fire started in the fireplace…

    In the meantime, you can visit my gallery to browse through a variety of prints offered featuring my photography. This old wooden cabin is located at the Grist Mill in Cades Cove, a verdant valley of the Smoky Mountains near Townsend, Tennessee.

  • Shots from the Trail

    Prints available in my gallery → Savage Falls, Cades Cove and Clingmans Dome.

    Select from framed, art, canvas, metal, poster, wood, acrylic and tapestry. Plus, other categories – home decor, puzzles, lifestyle, stationary, phone cases, beach, coffee mugs, face masks and apparel.

  • Vintage Farm Wagon

    Vintage Farm Wagon

    This black and white photograph was taken at the historic John P. Cable Grist Mill, located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee at Cades Cove, a community established by European settlers within a verdant valley, in 1818.

    You can find prints and other items available in my galleries at Pixels and ArtPal.

    Thanks for visiting!

    Country Road, by James Taylor (1970) – see lyrics here.

  • Rafters in Barn

    This black and white photography features the interior of an old barn located at Cades Cove, an historical settlement in a verdant valley located in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. You can visit my gallery for prints. Thanks very much!

  • Shots from the Trail

    Prints available of photographs from Twin Arches, Cades Cove and Cane Creek.

  • Black and White

    Photo One This is the Savage Gulf State Natural Area, located on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee – prints available.

    Photo Two This is an old wooden barn photographed while visiting Cades Cove in the Smoky Mountains – prints available.

  • Cades Cove

    Please visit my gallery for prints. These autumn photographs were taken at Cades Cove, an historical settlement of early European immigrants located in a verdant valley of the Smoky Mountains, in Tennessee. It’s a beautiful area and a print would make a wonderful gift. Thanks for visiting!