Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Internet is Good?

There are so many stories of the internet being a horrible scary place.  And it is!  But here is a story that shows the internet does know how to do good things as well.

There is a young boy that makes YouTube videos about dinosaurs.  He uses a diorama and posts short videos.  He had something like 20 subscribers and someone on Reddit posted about this kid making cool videos.   That post on Reddit took off, found its way to the front page and today the kid has over 70,000 subscribers to his videos.  The comments are overwhelmingly positive and encouraging him to keep doing what he loves.

Here is a video he made yesterday as his subscribers started to climb:
The next part is that another user of Reddit identified another young kid that was an original subscriber to the first dino-kid.  The internet has now started encouraging and showing some love to this kid.  Here's a video of that kid congratulating his friend on his success:

Like most everything on the internet, this love and attention will be short lived, but it's cool to see these boys getting some positive attention and affirmation for doing what they love - making videos about dinosaurs.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Eye on the Prize

I was invited to join an adventure yesterday and, as luck would have it, I was available to go.

We were headed to see Big Bradley Falls near Saluda, NC.  After doing some reading about the dangers of approaching these falls from the top (several people have died here) Mark decided the lower route would be the best approach.

Before you get to the trail you have to drive down the mountain on this steep road:

We started down the trail and had an easy time on the old road bed.  After about a mile we came across this barn and cabin:
 The green structure behind Eric is a cabin completely enclosed vines and shrubs:

We were all carrying our cameras with us looking for interesting things to take photos of when we came across this sign.  Photographers can't resist an interesting sign in the woods, especially if it has bullet holes in it.

I took a shot of it as well!

We continued on the trail which now followed an old logging road and was headed upstream of the Cove Creek.  We came to the end of the trail along the edge of the water and noticed a yellow flag tied to a tree on the other side of the creek.
I took my shoes off to cross the COLD rushing water and we continued down the trail now mostly marked by flagging tape on trees:

There were some areas where the trail was blocked by downed trees that we had to negotiate our way past.  This isn't a state park where park rangers keep the trail cleared for hikers!

The three of us were looking out for each other and helping each other down the trail, but not until we photographed our buddies struggles:

We came along another portion of the trail where it seemed to end at the creek.  We stopped and explored the area of cascades for a few minutes before finding the trail on the same side of the creek we were already on.

Portions of the trail were now steep and required holding onto tree roots to pull ourselves up.  This photo of coming up the hill does not do a good job of demonstrating the incline we faced.

There was a camp site where someone had built a stone chair near a fire ring as we continued up the side of the mountain.

Shortly after passing the camp site we came to a very steep area where someone had tied ropes to assist your way down (or up).  We decided to head down closer to the water:

We carefully made our way to the water where we had a choice.  The trail wasn't very clear at this point but we could tell we were pretty close to the falls.

We could wade through the water and climb the boulders to the next area or we could try and climb the ropes back up the mountain side.  We chose the water and I again removed my shoes to get back in the water.

After climbing the boulders we found ourselves along the bottom of a cliff and could clearly hear the falls.

 We made it!

We spent some time taking photos of the amazing views and climbing around for various angles.

We also took plenty of photos of each other taking photos of the falls.

In the past I always tried to photograph waterfalls with no people in my shots.  Those are still good to have, but I now always try to get a few photos of the falls with people in the shots because it helps give a sense of scale to what we are seeing.

These falls are listed as 75' high and were impressive to see in person. I made a short video while at the falls which helps demonstrate what it is like at the falls (loud!):

The hike out was quiet as we were all getting pretty tired on this ~6 mile hike (total).  Here is a shot from GPS taken while we were about half way through the trail.  You can see we were following the creek up and to the left fork for the falls.  If you are familiar with topography maps you can see the steep canyon we were in near the falls.
Mark has posted his photos on Flickr where you can see photos of me crossing the creek and on the trail here: LINK

Eric has posted a GPS route on  LINK
*update: Eric has also posted photos to Flickr you can see here: LINK

I was grateful for the opportunity to join Mark and Eric on this adventure.  For every obstacle or distraction that we encountered on our trip, Mark encouraged me with his phrase, "keep your eye on the prize".   The prize was great and so was the trip.