ryan stufflebam

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Posts Tagged ‘TN

Stone Door in color

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I think it was last winter, but it was unseasonably pleasant that weekend.



The sheer amount of vertical space never gets old. I realize that this is just in a TN valley. But you’ve got cliffs and stairs and climbing paths and streams that flow rather than wind around. Or flood. Rocks move here – because of water and wind. There aren’t even any rocks to speak of where I grew up, let alone hills for them to collect at the bottom of. I couldn’t really wrap my head around it. I think we sat atop the Door for half an hour in the morning, then 45 minutes at the end of the day.




Leah climbed around a good bit. Went out to all the outcroppings. I mostly sat. My knees were shot by the end of the day. Not that I would venture out to the edge like her, anyway. I actually fought with her on our honeymoon after she climbed down onto a jutted rock over some incredibly turbulent surf. I still don’t like it. But I just sweat it out. Have a private coronary, no harm done.



There are some b&w prints from this trip somewhere, too. I’ll get around to finding those sooner or later.

Written by ryanstufflebam

October 6, 2014 at 9:58 pm

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A weekend at Buck’s, p3

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As I said in the first post on Buck’s property, he’s a true Southern host. “Please make use of my finest stallions (4-wheelers), drink from my wells (actual spring well), fly through the air at my expense.” That last one there is a zip-line he installed over a creek not too far down the road. My niece and nephew were really excited. Everyone else was, too. But I think the opportunity to zip through the air over the surface of the water is a special thing for a child — an adrenaline-riddled fulfillment of every anthropomorphic children’s book ever.

The first couple photos are from that afternoon – I spent all my time zip-lining. Not photoing. Because, honestly, zip-lines.

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The last night we were there, we feasted with Buck. We got to talking about photo stuff and he ran off. He shortly returned with a photo in hand of his daughter’s wedding. It was up on a massive lookout over one of the valleys in the area. He said he’d drive Leah and me there if we wanted. Well, of course, we wanted. He picked us up at 6am. That was a little rough for Leah, I don’t think I ever actually fell asleep. But he picked us up in some of the densest fog I’d seen in a long time. We knew it’d be a good while before it lifted, so we stopped by the zip-line creek to take some photos. Long exposures in the fog with water and no wind? Sign me up any day.







So we eventually get to the lookout. We were basically in a cloud. Buck was pretty disappointed, felt like he was a bad guide. I couldn’t have been happier. How often does a Midwestern boy get to sit on a mountainside leaning into nowhere and watch the fog wisp and curl between us? Still, Buck was really apologetic. He and Leah drove to McDonalds and grabbed breakfast and coffee. I stayed and waited just in case the fog lifted enough for any kind of photo. It was so calm and quiet, not even the birds were out. Normally when it’s silent like that, my ears will ring. Or I can hear them ringing. But not that morning. I rocked on the back legs of a porch chair and stared at nothing.

Leah and Buck got back with a coffee for me. We might have waited for another half hour or 45 minutes. The fog started to break up during the last five minutes, so I shot a handful of frames before we left.



We got back to the cabin and everyone had eaten and packed the car already, so we grabbed up our things and headed home. I like Buck. I don’t think I know anyone that joyously receives guests like him.

The fog didn’t break until we were an hour and half down the road.

Written by ryanstufflebam

September 23, 2014 at 10:14 pm

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A weekend at Buck’s, p2

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So there’s not a lot going on in Pall Mall, TN. But if you’re gonna get away, might as well get away. Even still, there are a few community staples that we visit every time we get the chance. The Forbes General Store being top of the list. It’s under new ownership now, but when we were there last year it was most definitely still the same old general store. There didn’t seem to be much “general” about it – mostly just tourist stuff. I’m sure the hwy 127 yardsale kept it afloat. Anyway, here’s some of it.




Leah got to show our niece and nephew around the store. I don’t think anyone thought sampling the fudge was a good idea.




I don’t know who that is. But one of the other places we stop at (but never eat at) is the Possum Trot diner/auction house. Normally the guys sitting out front are at the General Store just a whittling away. Maybe playing Pig (card game). But if there’s an auction, buddy, they’re there. I stuck around for a few minutes of the auction, but then just went back to the cabin. I can’t do it. Ebay is even a struggle for me, let alone real life. Yard sales, though. I’m at least comfortable haggling over this thing you’re trying to sell me. But why would I want to actively compete with the guy sitting next to me? Nerve wrecking.




I do believe the whittlers mocked me a bit for taking their photo. The sacrifices I make…



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September 21, 2014 at 10:15 pm

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A weekend at Buck’s, p1

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Every year along the Hwy 127 Yard Sale, we all stay at Buck’s cabin in Pall Mall, TN. I’ve taken a few photos during those stays, but we’re usually pretty beat from being out in the heat all day. But this past year the in-laws drove down and we went and visited Jim & Sheryl Buck for a long weekend in October. Hospitality is a big thing to Buck, so he let us (encouraged us, threatened us if we refused to) traipse all over his property, use his ATVs, he cooked delicious meals for us  – just an incredibly gracious host.


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I woke up earlier than most everybody, except maybe my mother-in-law. She’s one of those people that just always seem to be awake. But I hiked across the road and up a hill across from where we were staying to get the next few shots right at dawn. Can’t decide if I like the headlight-trails or not. And always take an extra pair of shoes if you plan on taking photos is East TN. The mornings are wet. “Dew” doesn’t even come close to describing how much moisture is on the ground. I think it took two days to dry out my shoes.



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That red dot in the middle-left of the next photo, right in the little valley, is a big red bow on a stick. Buck puts those out as markers for sink holes. I think he might have lost a tractor to one, once upon a time.

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So the bows are out in the fields, but in the forest along the trails Buck hangs bird houses and gourds to indicate caves, sink holes, or cliffs that are nearby. So on one of our ATV outings, we stopped at as many signposts as we could before it got dark. Just to see. Leah always gets too close to the edge.





There are no photos looking out from the caves. You don’t know what kind of animals could live in there. Buck told us about his handful of bear sightings this past year. Let us never cross that bear’s path. Ever.

Written by ryanstufflebam

September 14, 2014 at 10:10 am

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