Saturday, February 12, 2005

On Assignment: Franklin, North Carolina-Day Four

"Thumbs Up For Good Ideas" by Wes Aldridge

This shot is proof of a bad decision on my part. My final assignment in Franklin, N.C., was to shoot a new trailway on Cowee Mountain. The sun was perfect and the weather overall was pretty stellar for a winter day. I love to go out into the wilderness, so I was totally excited about this assignment.

I traveled on several forest service roads ascending the mountain side. The crude roadways were nothing more than dirt and loose rock steeply winding up to the mountain peak. I couldn't go more than about 5 m.p.h. in the Impala I rented from AVIS. I creeped along about 10 miles worth of dirt road up the mountain to around an elevation of 5,000 feet, and then I saw the snow. I had been driving trying to find the trail for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, so I thought I should keep going and get my shot.

Stupid. The snow covered the road. If you notice, the road is extremely narrow and a significant drop off is on the side. I kept trying to drive through the snow and the wheels kept sliding a bit. It scared the hell out of me, but I still trekked on because I NEEDED the shot.

I finally got to the last forest service road the trail was supposed to be connected to. Just my luck, the entrance to the damn road was blocked off. So, yes, I idiotically drove through snow-covered, narrow mountain passes to try to get this shot and then the final stretch was blocked off. And I learned a valuable lesson: Sometimes the shot just isn't worth the danger you put yourself in. But, forget that... where is the adventure without a little danger?

Another assignment in the books.