• Roger W. Downes

When Nature Gets In the Way

I had started out to see a downed cessna plane but ended up with some amazing views instead...

One evening in late September I was scrolling through Instagram when I stumbled across the wreckage of a downed Cessna plane from the 1980's just off the Blue Ridge Parkway near Waterrock Knob.  The images fascinated and I just had to see it for myself.  I packed up my camera gear, set my alarm for early the next morning and went to bed with dreams of capturing the plane in my own photos. 

When my alarm went off early the next day, I was less than enthusiast about getting up but the images of that downed plane ran through my mind and that drove me out from beneath the covers.  As I drove slowly through some dense fog along the Blue Ridge Parkway to Waterrock Knob I suddenly broke through the clouds to an amazing view of the Blue Ridge Mountains lit but the late morning sun, which I had to stop and capture.

After capturing the shot, I continued up the Parkway to the Waterrock Knob parking area. It was a balmy 45 degrees and as I stepped out of the truck a shiver ran up my spine.  I was determined however to hike in to see this plane that had captured my imagination.  So up the steep path I started, camera gear on my back and walking stick in hand.  

As I turned several corners, one in particular captured my imagination and that was the above image of "Pine In The Path".  That lone pine tree in the middle of the path with the golden rays of the sun beaming through the leaves of the trees behind it made me stop immediately.  I just had to capture it, it was so beautiful and I felt obligated to tell it's story. 

As I setup my tripod I wondered how many people had sat beneath her shady branches on a hot summer day, or laid their hands upon her to steady their trek up the trail.  I wished the pine could have talked, I am sure she would have had so many stories to tell.   

After capturing her beauty and elegance, I continued up the path to Waterrock Knob and took a minute to enjoy the amazing view.

But now it was time to go see the prize I had travelled so far to capture...

As I started down the steep path to Browning Rock Knob and the plane wreckage, I became a bit fearful.  Sadly a hurricane which had recently drenched Western North Carolina with large amounts of rain had badly eroded the path to a slimy and slick slope of death.  After falling badly several times and skidding down the slope toward an ultimate doom I decided I would not join the poor pilot and passenger of that Cessna on the list of casualties from the Browning Knob location.  

However, I was able to capture some beautiful shots before that, so the trip was ultimately worth it.

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Thank you for taking the time to read about the adventures I take, the people I meet and the places I see.  

Please get out into the natural world and enjoy all the beauty and spender that is God's artistry...

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