#adventurist

First Hike of 2019!

Atlas soaking up the magnitude of the waterfall.

Atlas soaking up the magnitude of the waterfall.

Today just happens to be Monday the 7th of January and that is only important because it marks the first hike of the year for us. Today is the last day of Christmas break for Atlas and Austin while Jaryn had to start back last week. Atlas and I decided to take advantage of the uncommon warm weather and our itch for adventure and put left foot over right in nature. His growing adoration for hiking and exploring excites me and I love watching him see the world for himself. We wanted to discover somewhere new to us so after a few minutes of searching, we landed on Sills Branch Falls. We packed our bags, his with waters, snacks, his GoPro, and first aid kit; mine with all things camera related and we were off. The directions we used were terrible and led us to the end of Bumpus Cove in Erwin, TN. I was quick to grab my phone and dig unit I found another site with better descriptive directions. It took us longer than we preferred but it was nice to have the morning on the road with Atlas, singing songs and asking questions. This hike is quick and easy. Only has one real climb and even it was short and sweet. You will find yourself at a fork in the trail just before this climb where you bare left, and cross a small stream and up you go. Once you top the hill, you are rewarded by a magical waterfall. The canyon walls are almost round cut out above the fall walls and feels so other-worldly. The walk is short, not even a mile in according to my Apple watch. Almost every step you take from the parking lot at the trail head ( left side of the road ) is accompanied by the melody of the stream that flows from the feet of the waterfall above.

A rare selfie with my hiking buddy. Hes growing up to quickly.

A rare selfie with my hiking buddy. Hes growing up to quickly.

We made our way pretty quickly to the top where we had our snacks that Atlas prepared. We then took some time to enjoy the spoils of our short walk among the trees. I took photos as this is what I do, and he explored our surroundings. I brought the Pentax 645n and shot the last of the pre loaded Ilford Hp5 BW film. I also finished up a roll of 35mm film in the Minolta. The only digital shots I took are below and all shot on my Ricoh GRii. I have a few on the phone as well but I rarely share those the same way.

Fall Break Adventures

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Chimney Rock, North Carolina

Life never hesitates to throw complications and we have two choices. We can roll over and hope it passes soon, or we step up and push threw. This summer has had many highs and lows but so far, this fall break with Natasha and the boys, has been one of my favorite adventures yet! We love to hike as a family, and I long to complete the entire AT someday. This love for nature, and wonder I am blessed to share with my family, so when we stated talking and planning our trip it only made sense to include a trip outside. Natasha and I have backpacked alone, and I have taken Jaryn on a one night trip as well, but Austin and Atlas had never been. More importantly we have never been all together, so it was time to change that. Upon lots of options weighed, tents borrowed ( thanks Simerly ), we had a plan. We decided to hike the Appalachian Trail from Indian Grave Gap, to Uncle Johnny’s Hostile in Erwin. Speaking of Uncle Johnny’s this is were we started our adventure. We hired them to shuttle us up to the trail head. We ended up hiking in to the shelter which was a double decker beauty and was about 4.2 miles in. The boys did incredible, considering the weather was dreary and they were toting their own bags and belongings for the trip. Once we found the shelter we quickly went to work setting up camp for dinner, and searching for dry firewood. An hour later, we have fire, and the jet boil was up and running cooking a much needed hot meal for the day. We were greeted by a Thru Hiker names Patrick, his trail name I unfortunately cant recall as of writing this, and was happy to share the space. He is headed South to Georgia from his home town in PA. Day 2 was much nicer to hike and we easily completed the 4.1 miles out and to our car. We quickly loaded up Valak and grabbed some lunch. Then our adventure continued to Hickory Nut Gap, North Carolina were we planned to visit Hickory Nut Falls, and Chimney Rock State Park. The weather was dark, and power lines were down, and after some driving around we found a place to stay for the rest of the week. The boys were quick to hit up the arcade were we played way to much air hockey per Atlas’ request. Jaryn and Austin shot pool and the pinball machine was a classic. The small town was very close to being flooded and washed away but luckily it was only a scare. We had some hick up’s but we are tough and unified so on the last day we took the boys to the Park for the views and Waterfalls. The rest you can see below. I didn’t take a camera on this trip so everything is a cell phone shot and I feel that needs to be stated. Thanks for reading

PS. Atlas even pulled a tooth on this trip as seen in the photo below, and I apologize for how random some images fell.

A walk in the woods

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see. John Burroughs
— https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/j/johnburrou101053.html

It's not often than you meet someone that shares many of the things you care about and someone that is genuinely a great person all in one. I would like to introduce you, in case you don't know her or of her work, to my friend and fellow photographer- Katy Sergent of Katy Sergent Photography & Design.

Camera , coffee and Chaco's #winning

Camera , coffee and Chaco's #winning

I met Katy through our local chapter of The Rising Tide Society, called Tuesday's Together. She is one of the leaders of the group and it didn't take long to realize she and I were going to be friends. Ok, that may have been one sided at first but who can say for sure lol. She recently reached out to me and asked if I would be interested in taking some portraits of her and even though the thought of working and shooting for a fellow photographer is daunting, I was quick to say Yes! We agreed to meet for coffee and to chat because whats a meeting without coffee? Boring is the short answer! We met up at my favorite coffee house, as I've mentioned in the past called Open Doors Coffee House and worked on the details and set the date for the session.

open doors coffee house- johnson city tn- portrait- candid

 

She and I both share a passion with nature and with the Appalachian Trail, so what better place to hang out and put my Fuji threw its paces? We agreed to meet and ride up to Dennis Cove where we jumped on the upper trail head to Laurel Falls. We took our time, laughed, swapped stories, and drug our Chaco's threw the mug. It was AWESOME!

 

hiking- laurel falls- hampton tn- AT

I probably made the mistake of not starting as early as needed because after our hike, we headed off the mountain and were chasing the sun as it was setting trying to grab as many rays as we could for our project. I have driven the road many times and have always wanted to take a portrait at one of the corners ,but its a windy and busy road so I have never had the chance. That is until we came upon the "Spot" and she was a great sport and trusted me to jump out, Chinese fire drill style almost, slap on the hazard lights and get the shot I wanted.

Here is Katy, braving the traffic but if memory serves correctly it was more like battling the sharp edge of that guardrail! LOL

Here is Katy, braving the traffic but if memory serves correctly it was more like battling the sharp edge of that guardrail! LOL

Ok, Ill stop trying to write further and leave you with a few lasting images that hopefully not only captures Katy as I know her but as she also see's herself. That is often times the most important shot you ever take. One that might instill confidence or rekindle a passion for something forgotten about ourselves! 

 

Laurel Falls - Hampton - Adventure Photographer - outdoor lifestyle photography
Cameras where out and firing all afternoon!

Cameras where out and firing all afternoon!

sunset- watauga lake- hampton tn- east tn- lakelife
portrait photographer - intimate portraits - getoutside

What a week!

This week has been busy, hectic, and exciting all at the same time. It was the first full week of owning my new to me Fuji Xpro 2 and as I have said before, its my all time favorite camera. I have owned a few Canon bodies, Sony a7ii, Olympus m4/3 bodies, and some point and shoots too and this one sits on top of them all to me. I also own the XT-1 for those days I want the battery grip. Ok enough about cameras.. lets talk about the events of the week shall we?

 

Who can start the day without great coffee? Not this guy and I love everything about  Open Door Coffee  House in Johnson City.

Who can start the day without great coffee? Not this guy and I love everything about Open Door Coffee House in Johnson City.

sticky bun - roasted pecans - nomnom - foody

YUM!!

Maybe I indulged in a sticky bun while I waited lol. 

I was very excited to be at the coffee house but even more so for the reason I was there. My friend and fellow photographer Katy Sergent and I were getting together to talk about her website, portraits, and future plans. Katy and I met through our local chapter of The Rising Tide Society called, Tuesdays Together and I knew immediately she was awesome. Maybe it was her Chaco's?  She had mentioned allowing me ( not her words lol ) to take portraits of her for her website, and I can not wait to do just that. Is the pressure high to work with someone you respect and who shares many of the passions that you do? NOPE.. no pressure at all. ha! Speaking of portraits of Katy, I snapped this as she walked in and I was scarfing my breakfast down. 

She may kill me for posting this but it had to happen. 

She may kill me for posting this but it had to happen. 

All of the above was just on Monday and that is a great start to my week, but then on Tuesday Atlas had his orientation for Kindergarten. What? Already?  These are the thoughts that raced in my head. It doesn't seem like he is old enough yet -- he was just little yesterday or at least it feels that way. He was so excited! We got to see his class room and meet his teacher for the first time. He even met a few of his upcoming class mates. 
Onto Wednesday: his official first day of school! What a rollercoaster this was for us as we walked him to class. He was so pumped that he didn't care whether we were there and for that, I am grateful. Its a blessing that he is excited about his journey. Austin also started his Junior year on the same day but he was less excited as you can imagine -- early mornings are not his favorites.  Jaryn slept through all the excitement because he doesn't start back for 2 more weeks- slacker.

 

atlas- kindergarten - first day - growing up
backpack- atlasridge - fearless
HOLD IT TOGETHER MOM AND DAD AND DON'T EMBARRASS ME ALREADY!

HOLD IT TOGETHER MOM AND DAD AND DON'T EMBARRASS ME ALREADY!

Jaryn asked that he and I spend some time on our bikes so we loaded them up and headed to Winged Deer Park to ride the trails for some much needed 2 wheel action. I forgot how much I love riding and tackling single track! I am going to have to make this a regular hobby again. We rode up until it was time to pick up Atlas from school and start the weekend! We celebrated his achievement with swimming and trips to Memaw's where we went fishing and there we got caught in a massive rain storm. As I carried Atlas and the rain pounded all 4 of us, his laughter took over -- I was trying not to fall and die while running, and I was reminded by those giggles that these moments are the most important part of this life. The mistakes, the laughter, and getting caught in the rain with my family are indescribably perfect. We came in, dried off and  ate until we could barely stand. When it was time to leave, Atlas asked if we could take an adventure on the way home- he gets it honest- so Austin, Jaryn, Atlas, and I took off in Valak ( our beloved Sequioa) and headed off across Dennis Cove. We drove the gravel rode at sunset and laughed, joked, and took photos along the way. Ill drop those in below to end this post. 

Then as if the week wasn't packed with Firsts and new adventures this happened!

 

atlas- first tooth - tooth fairy

 

The week started off with friends, and ended with family. What else could I ask for? I hope if you're reading this, that your week was great; but more than that, I hope you find time to play in the rain too! 

dennis cove- sunset- east tennessee mountains - appalachian trail - roan mountain
bw- fog in the trees - getoutside -adventurealliance
fog- rollling in - east tn- explore -roan mountain
hampton tn- sunset - easttn- xpro2- landscape