“To Last a Lifetime”

As I am working on compiling a breakdown of images and journal entries to share from my adventure out West, I wanted to take a moment to highlight this photograph from my collection, as it’s been on my mind a lot lately. It does, after all come from right around this time of year…

“It was myself, my brother and our father, in The Great Smoky Mountains National Park for the first time and the first time my brother and I got our Dad out backpacking!  It was truly unique experiencing these beautiful Appalachian Mountains on this grand of a scale and just how bio-diverse these ancient Smokies really are!  

Despite being one of the wettest and dampest adventures overall that I have experienced, and thusly being a bit of a damper for our father, it was nonetheless an amazing experience traversing through different climate zones and such a variety of forest types. From mixed deciduous hardwoods, through rhododendron tunnels (which we dubbed “the enchanted emerald forest”), and up to huge Hemlock realms we hiked. 

This image is, to me, a beautiful representation to sum up our adventure.  The photograph was taken right beside our camping location on a mid-September's late afternoon.  To my companions chagrin (haha!), the fog really made the atmosphere for me, creeping through this dense forest of towering Hemlocks and Red Maples.  As I was setting up my camera, my brother was asking me where exactly I was going to hang my hammock...  “Oh, you mean using that dead tree there?” he asked.  “Ahh I’m sure it’s fine” I responded.  Eeeeerrrrrrrr, BOOM!  About 30 feet to my right, a tree fell over...  No one hurt, laughs all around, and needless to say I reconsidered my sleeping placement.  

We soon got a fire going to warm the spirit and later were serenaded to sleep by the chattering katydids and crickets in a thundering echo like I have never heard before... It all still rings so loud in my mind. Much like the ancients dwelling here, memories were made "to last a lifetime."

“To Last a Lifetime” - Brandon Kline

“To Last a Lifetime” - Brandon Kline