A lot of bears and coyotes call Beech Mountain home so it's always exciting when you discover little cave entrances like this one, hidden Voldemort-style in the base of a knotted tree trunk. Who knows what — or who — might be hidden on the other side of that shady hole? A quick peek won't hurt, will it?
Elk River Falls are located in Western North Carolina, right along the border of Tennessee. The hike from the parking area is super short but there are a lot of smaller game trails heading off in all directions from the Falls. The sound of the falls make it easy to keep your bearings and find your way back to the river.
This is one of hundreds of waterfalls hidden throughout Beech Mountain. In most places, hikes end with a waterfall but they're so abundant on Beech Mountain that several start with one, too. That's the case here. There's even a picnic table at the base of the pond for a little lunch before you set off into the forest.
It's easy to forget just how far drones have come in the last few years. This photograph was captured with a GoPro Hero 3+ Black that was attached to a DJI Phantom 2 drone. It's a bit grainy and the sky is definitely blown out but it's a good reminder of the beginning of fall, which is just around the corner up on Beech Mountain.
This is the Buckeye Recreation Center and Buckeye Lake, which is the recreational hub for Beech Mountain. It has the most amazing playground, made by hand out of giant logs and natural rope. There is also a really fun hike called "Falls Loop Trail" that starts off deep in the forest until you come upon a nice waterfall and then follow the creek that feeds it back up to Buckeye Lake.
You won't find any of my old Phantom 2s reviewed at Kit.com/Spangard but if you want to see what I'm flying and shooting with these days, check it out!
In keeping with my post from yesterday, here's a mid-afternoon drone photo from the mountains. If you haven't watched the short film that I submitted to the 2017 Triple Aught Design Fall Film Festival yesterday, you can check it out here... and don't forget to vote (please!).
Lower Pond Creek Trail follows a powerful creek as water rushes down the mountain from Lake Coffey above. The hike can be difficult when wet because the banks often pitch dramatically into the rushing creek. The creek itself follows a steep pitch as well and is really more a series of interconnected rapids and waterfalls than a creek. While many of the rapids look like inviting slip 'n slides, they are probably too treacherous — not to mention cold — to slide down.
If you would like to hike Lower Pond Creek Trail, check out our rental mountain chalet, located right next to the ski village on Beech Mountain.
This photograph was captured with a Sony a6300.