First of all I would like to say that I decided to write this post because life can easily be portrayed as perfect and always happy in our images we post on social media. However, on the other side of the camera and behind the scenes it is rarely as flawless as the lens may make it seem in the split second the image was taken. I wanted to give a behind the scenes idea of how the day went and what happened in order to get to see these amazing views and snap these pictures.
All in all I would rate the day as one of the top 10 I will never forget. But the truth is this was not one of those perfect adventurous days I had dreamed about. I had been planning this amazing fun road trip for Jonathan and I to take as soon as I had graduated from Motlow State Community College and before he started his summer internship. I just knew this trip was gonna be an epic photography adventure. I had planned to wake up in time to make it to Max Patch in order to watch the sunrise and then hang around Asheville until the sunset. It would be the perfect photographer's dream day shooting during both golden hours at an aaaaahmazing location.
Lesson of the day, year, and maybe even in my life: Always be prepared. Make sure you check the weather, and do not, I repeat do NOT forget to bring a heavier jacket when going into the mountains. Wind chill factor can be a tough element to bear.
So I had it all planned out, or so I thought, we would wake up at 2:30 AM and leave Cookeville, TN in time to watch the sunrise at Max Patch, North Carolina. We left in plenty of time; however, the one thing I did not take into account when checking the sunrise time for Asheville, NC was the fact that they are an hour ahead. Whoops! Needless to describe anymore about how we missed the sunrise....
Even if we had left that hour earlier to get to see the sunrise I am not sure we would have made it in time due to the lack of signs providing direction to reach the correct location for Max Patch. When we finally reached the turn off at the foot of the mountains onto the dirt/ gravel road the cell signal was gone immediately.... Which can be nice when you know for sure where you are and where you are going or it can be quite annoying when you have no idea how to reach your destination, because as I will repeat again there was a definite lack in road signs. The problem really started when we reached a fork in the road and I could either veer slightly to the right or make a left turn (once again no road signs!!!!). Jonathan and I agreed the slight right turn would have us continue along on this dirt road. I kept thinking it will be right around the corner, we will surely see this cleared off mountain top just around the corner, we have to be in the right vicinity at least. I had hope the entire time, though we both were losing hope as every turn and curve seemed to lead and wind us further away and back down the mountain.
Now I should note that every review of Max Patch I had looked at was nothing but positive and encouraging about how beautiful and amazing the views were and how it was just a short distance to walk from the parking lot. So I imagined getting to the parking lot would have been just as easy.
However, Jonathan and I did not find the journey getting there as easy as others made it seem. We thought we might never find it when we ended up at the bottom of the mountain at the other side and saw a lady to ask for directions. With her directions we finally made it to the parking lot at the base of Max Patch.
Thankfully we brought a blanket and a blanket mat. These turned into our coats by the end, because what seemed like hiking Mt. Everest at the time, with the breathtaking wind whipping all around us. As I reached the top where the mountain top somewhat level off, I tried to catch my breath through my burning lungs and and breathing seemed a lot more difficult than normal because it was much thinner and more frigid air. We managed to place the mat down and then had to take a breather for a few minutes, still the wind was relentless even over the top of our thin blanket shield.
Moral of the story: always be prepared, you never know what life is gonna throw your way, and you've got to be ready to swing again after missing the curve ball. And when you can't be prepared try and make the most out of it. When obstacles are put in your way you just got to work through them.
Looking back at the pictures I did manage to take while we were there, I realize just how stunning those views are. When you look out into the mountains and all you can see is a sea of mountains that seems to never end, that is a humbling experience. And in that moment you realize just how finite you are in an infinite world.