Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Feeding a Red-tailed Hawk Mice from a Glove

This young lady is a volunteer at the Clinch River Raptor Center, a rehab and educational center for birds of prey.  I am fortunate to be part of the center because there I have access to the birds and have made good friends of those who operate the center.  I am able to be part of educational programs presented to school children, special groups and the public.  This young lady is still able to do what I do not but have tired: She feeds the large hawk from her gloved hand.   When I tried, the hawk would have nothing to do with me and would not come close or go to the glove to get the mice. This photograph is on Facebook, page Clinch River Raptor Center.

Do you see the tail of the mouse in the beak of the hawk? The mice are presented head first and the head is the first part eaten.  Several mice are given this hawk for its meal.  The volunteer must hold the mouse tightly or the hawk will take the entire body in one large gulp! (These mice are dead and come from a lab mouse supplier.)

For more images from the raptor rehabilitation center, please visit my website. There you will see photos from my works in artistic, entertaining and educational directions.  There is a section on real estate property photography because I am developing that as a business...a difficult task in times of an economy not favorable to a new business formation and growth. Client galleries are private and require a password to view. Other galleries are open for your viewing and enjoyment.  One gallery contains  various photos from this blog and a small group of galleries is devoted to the Clinch River Raptor Center.  You might find  joy in what you see at the website and I put the link here:Thomas Haynes Photography

I have a special and dear friend who lives in Russia. I hope you see this blog post, my friend Sergey. : )

Anyone visiting this blog is welcome to tell others about it and send a link so they may visit this blog or my photography website. 


Remember, all text and photos are ©, meaning copyrights apply and using writings or photos is not  legal unless I license that use to you. Schools and educational organizations may contact me about using photos or information from this blog or the website.

Purchasing Photos:  Most photos on the blog are available for your purchase in a large file sizeYou will get the large high resolution file and then may print as you wish.  You may not sell any image you purchase unless a license is provided (at a charge) for that purpose.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Coopers Hawk Profile and Barrred Owl


 This injured Coopers Hawk is a recent addition to the Clinch River Raptor Center.  I am not certain of the extent of injuries to its wing. You may "like" these photos on the Raptor Center page of Facebook, here: Clinch River Raptor Center, Facebook

The Barred Owl below is an educational bird held by Kris, one of the founding sisters of the raptor center. With an owl and eye is almost expected!  The event is an OWL PROWL at early evening in the University of Tennessee Arboretum.  Birds are shown and hikes go into the woods to listen for owls.  When I arrived the director of the arboretum told me I was number 207 in attendance.  That was a well received event on a pleasingly cool October evening.  The arboretum itself is a marvelous place to visit during normal daylight hours and walk among the many trees and across small fields. The day prior was my first time to recognize a Bur Oak and see the huge acorns the oak produces. Photos of those will be posted fairly soon.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Morning light, lots of fog..and I was there.

Those three elements came together and I was there simply means with camera in hand and the know how to shoot the image...good fortune it was.

Think what you want of this photo.  This has been re-sized and that is essentially it for editing.

The day prior when driving by I saw a large fossil fuel electrical plant with sunlight of a clear morning coming from behind the steam of the scrubber chimney.  I went back to get the same shot, sort of a juxtaposition of energy sources.   The photo here is what was there, a far better scene and one with depth of vision greater than what was planned.  This creation provided me a better photo as if to say, "this counts more".  I agree.

Lake Morning, washed with fog

Saturday, September 8, 2012

FLEDGLINGS IN A STRAIGHT LIFE..transitional home for women needs funding to help residents learn to fly a new, meaningful path

Many people out of jail must return to the environment from where they came and will not have enough support to hold out and make it.  Some will make it and be fine parents to their children.  All out of jail deserve at lease a chance to go right and stay that way.

No person should be considered disposable.Certainly the ladies at Alpha House are not. God love them..God Bless them, they all have touched my heart and blessed me. That is why I have referred to them as "jailbirds" in an affectionate way with nothing disparaging about its honesty. Today, I will stop using that term publicly and apologize for any who were possibly offended. These ladies have a
piece of life history which happens to be public record of incarceration. Is that bit of history going to shade their lives from now on?  Yes, consequences are to be paid and life experience will shape the approach to life and "how to's" of survival and handling relationships.  Costs are often higher than the "rest of us" can imagine or honestly handle.  Yet, many of the ladies do make it past that anchor of the past and move on to establish straight and productive lives.  There is no better spokesperson about the need for deep healing the entire person and environment than these ladies who have been there, who have been in a darkness the fortunate ones will have difficulty imagining. 

The affectionate term I will now use is fledglings, young birds just free of the nest and ready to apply survival skills they have learned and are learning daily.  Flight will be a tumble at first but soon will carry the distance, with a jumbled landing now and then but better each day.  The path for any fledgling is growth and maturity in a new life.
The women in the Alpha House transitional home come for the most part fresh out of jail and facing long probation. They can gain credit for time in the transitional home and it sure beats other options.  They are not free but have a taste of it, living in a nice home with a bedroom to share with a roommate and call “their place”.  They have a place to exercise and stay fit, a place to have life skills training such as how to use computers…a place to regain or learn afresh self-image, social skills and confidence.

 A block party earlier in 2012 featured a Christian band.  
Those at the party understood the need for helping others get back on their path.

Alpha House is a Christian faith based facility and is a place the women may find faith in our Creator, discover they are God’s children and become sisters of Jesus Christ.  This faith is a powerful sustaining force in helping the ladies develop a new outlook on living in the world and in living with strength and peace in recognition of their own fallen past years.

The website for Tennessee Offender Reentry list various organizations set up to help felons and other offenders in transition to a new and straight life.
You will see Alpha House in Oliver Springs among the listings.

A new smaller residence is open and active as of January, 2013.,
Oliver Springs, TN 37840
Fee: None

 Alpha House needs to exist!  The ladies running it need strength and lots of endurance through this time. Pray for wisdom, pray for donations, help as you personally are able.

The list of organizations set up to help offenders in Tennessee is impressive but a critical aspect of it does not show:  Who pays for it !    Government grants are often not workable in the faith based transitional home like Alpha House. Funding from other sources and maintenance of that funding is difficult. As this blog post was  written during September 2012, edited on December 29 and clarified with a new post on January 17, 2013 to reflect new positive developments, the staff and volunteers of Alpha House are seeking grants and contacting churches and organizations in effort to gain regular monthly funding. Without a substantial increase in funding, the future is not rosy even with a new home being prepared for new residents.

The power point slide show which was here to tell the situation and hopefully draw some interests in funding for Alpha House is no longer relevant and is deleted.  While the slide show was available, a pleasing number of downloads were made and it did reach an audience.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Vultures, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Buzzards, Baby Vultires to Adults

To begin, we have the newbies to the vulture world.  These are babies too young to fly, still covered with baby down.  The ones shown grow a little over the span of the photos. The one above is a couple of weeks later in development than the same birds shown eating below. These babies come out of the shelter of their "box", hissing like some unknown creature and shuffling along the floor like armored tanks from World War I.   But these are not tanks, they are babies who need to grow up to survive.
   A hissssssssss is the sound of baby vultures.  Of course when eating, there is much less hisssssss and a lot more chopping sound of beaks taking in a nice treat of deceased mice. 

Three weeks later, notice the black wings showing as down is lost and wing feathers emerge.

The photo below is approximately 5 weeks later than the first photograph of the black vultures covered with down.

  While in captivity, the vultures are given little attention except for feeding and cage cleaning. Why are these birds not allowed to socialize with humans?  Have you heard of imprinting?  There are stories of a newly born chicken emerging from the egg and the first view is a person. The chick then follows the person around  "believing" that person is its mother.   How true are the chicken stories I do not know.  What is fact is that young birds can be imprinted on humans, losing their own identity and considering the human "their type".   Once imprinted, the birds cannot be released into the wild as healthy birds should be.  They become dependent on people, not fearful and have likely lost the ability to socialize with their own kind.   At the Clinch River Raptor Center the aim is to restore baby birds to the wild, where they were intended to be.  Survival depends on not being friends with people and learning to be what they are...vultures.  With the down gone, the vultures grow into sleek, well designed birds as is seen later in this post.

Vulture mantle ornament, black bears with pink snouts...
its madness!  The gloved hand holding the jesses of this black vulture let you know this is a real, living bird.  She was part of a demonstration at Amicalola Falls State Park, Georgia. This bird is imprinted and has no place in the wild. As it is, being social with humans dooms the bird to a life of education for people...and very good care with regular meals topping normal road kill. The whiter feathers on the ends of the wings and the gray head identifies this as a black vulture. The flying vulture photo at the end is a turkey vulture, two tone wings from below without the highly contrasted light wing tips.  Turkey vultures also have a red face.

Obviously, those cute stuffed animals are not black bears and look most like Asian Honey Bears.  Coloring black bears this way is commonplace, not unlike giving all cartoon crows a yellow beak. The colors of the black vulture are real. 

Going bald, a sign of maturity or old age...with vultures going bald is an expected and needed part of getting out of the teenage years. If you are dipping your face into the carcass of a dead animal, feathers matted with last night's supper is not desirable. The bald head helps keep the face clean, as possibly the featherless legs help keep the legs clean of dead animal matter.  Making a meal of fresh carrion is the scavenger way of survival.  Freshly dead is preferred to road pancakes. Stomach acids are quite as is the immune system of which the strong digestive acids must play a part.  You do not want vulture vomit on your skin.

The following two photos show a transition of hairline in a vulture growing up. Note the dates of the photos in the upper left corners. Click to see and enlarged version of the photograph.

And finally here is a photograph of a Turkey Vulture.  This is flying in the wild above Center Hill Lake in Tennessee.  Turkey vultures go further north than do black vultures and the reason has to do with slide. A black vulture will slide down while soaring at a quicker rate than does a turkey vulture. This means the black vulture needs stronger thermals (uplifts of rising air) to help it stay aloft and soar for long periods of time. Southern areas have stronger thermals suited for the black vulture and northern areas have weaker thermals. The turkey vulture does  fine in northern thermals but the air is too weak to help the black vulture stay aloft while soaring...and vultures are known for soaring.  Black vultures stay mostly in southern areas.



The babies were found apparently lost or otherwise separated from their parents. These were raised until ready to be transferred to caretakers who specialize in vultures.  Often, the birds may be united with a  flock of wild birds.  I am not certain where these birds went. They did leave in healthy condition.

The vulture demonstrating "how to go bald" was also transferred.
There are no buzzards in this post.
Although vultures are generally called buzzards in the USA, 
buzzard is the appropriate name for soaring hawks, as used in the United Kingdom. The word has been misused for years.
That being said, I do not call vultures "buzzards".
Still, there is no way I can bring myself to call hawks buzzards. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Vultures, Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures, Buzzards, Post is on the way!

As soon as I gather the photos from around this blog and my hard drives there will be a post on Vultures, everyone's fav bird.  I am slowly circling the files and gathering up the stuff for a fine little post to chew on for a while.   Got a vulture pic, a decent one? Send it to me and get credit in the post.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Fireworks Show, Pyro Shows does well in Oak Ridge, Tennessee with happy viewers but photographer not as successful with fireworks photographs

Each fireworks photograph has a caption with the camera settings. These are settings you may use as a photo guide line or rule of thumb. Read the previous blog post for settings used last year: This year exposure was longer. The same remote(bulb) shutter trigger method was used but more time was spent trying to get the best photo image. What was different? The fireworks show was different, at least it seemed different. This year many more multiple fireworks shots were done with overlapping blasts. Taking a photograph of a single shot and blast was difficult, indeed.

All photos were taken with manual settings: ISO 100, f/9, shutter controlled with a remote release(bulb). Times are given with each fireworks photo posted.
 4.1 sec. Fireworks Chaos

The multiple pyrotechnics shot rapidly together created a spectacular light of color and combination of fire forms in the night sky. The above photograph is one I call “pyro chaos” to describe the rapid fire shells and color blasts. The show was effective but proved difficult to photograph single, well defined pyrotechnic blast forms.  The ones show here are  exceptions to the normal photos of that evening.

2.1 sec

3.9 sec, a favorite blast photo---note the second tail indicating
a second display was just missed and would have 
overlapped and obscured this fireworks "angelic palm tree".

The company presenting the fireworks is located in La Follette, Tennessee, an easy 40 minute drive from the city where these photographs were shot.   Pyro Shows  presents smaller shows like the one we saw and huge spectacular pyrotechnic events in major cities across the USA.  Many shows are custom designed to suit the event and may contain custom made pyrotechnic display explosives. I wonder how a person becomes a fireworks designer or engineer?
 1.4 sec, wonderfully beautiful pyrotechnics

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


The great American holiday of The Fourth of July is next week. At the local fireworks show, you will see people taking photos with what they have including flip phones, smart phones, iPADs and point and shoot cameras(turn off the flash). A few photographers will have cameras set on tripods and will look seriously ready for the show to begin. Others will be fumbling with the tripod, fumbling with camera settings and moving around to find the best place to stand. A few might embarrassingly trip in the dark. I know how easy that is to do 

This is a short tutorial how-to on taking photos of fireworks displays at night.  If you have a camera with manual settings you will do much better than using settings such as “P” or automatic program which lets the camera choose what to do.  Bright light against a dark background will often confuse the camera’s control and you will not get the photos you want.  This tutorial on taking photographs of fireworks tells the methods and camera settings which worked for me last year.  Other photographers will use different settings that  add up to about the same overall exposure.

First, use manual on the camera.  This means you set the shutter speed and set the aperture (lens opening also called “f stop”) and go with that for most of the photos.  You definitely need a tripod or very sturdy support.

If your camera has a “bulb” or “manual shutter” setting, use that.  What this does is allow you to open and close the shutter when you decide enough time has passed. The camera must be very, very steady for this procedure.  With more advanced cameras, there will be a means for using a remote switch for opening and closing the shutter, making it much easier to do without concern that you will shake the camera.  If you do not have bulb or manual shutter controls, then set the camera to manual using one of the settings shown with the photos in this fireworks tutorial.  Go easy when you push the shutter and you should get good photographs of the fiery display.

Here are the photographs from July 4, 2011.  The information is in the caption to each photo. Note how more or less of the tail and blast of the firework device shows in the shot, depending on the shutter time.   Since I had a remote shutter control, the times were what I wanted right then and I did play with the time somewhat.  I suggest without a remote shutter control that you pick a shutter time from the sort of photo you like from that shown.

Camera Settings:  These settings were used for all the fireworks photographs shown. The only setting changed was shutter speed. See shutter speed with each photo caption. 

  • ISO(considered digital film speed):  ISO 100
  • F Stop, the lens aperture: f/9
  • If your camera does not go down to ISO 100, you may try a tighter aperture, maybe close to f/16 with ISO 200.  Experiment with the situation to find what is working for you.

This is a relatively long exposure with a shutter speed of 3.6 seconds.
You will notice how the smoke shows in the light and some of the
local terrain is lit enough to barely show up.

AS with all the photographs of fireworks display, the ISO was 100
and the f stop was f/9.
Shutter exposure time: 1.6 seconds

Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.4 seconds

Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.2 seconds
Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  1.0 seconds
Fireworks Shutter exposure time:  0.8 seconds
You will easily see how the relatively short shutter speed of 0.8 seconds(above) does not show the tail of fire from the fireworks shell prior to the blast of color.  I will likely be using a shutter opening time of 1 second to 1.5 seconds on the night of July 4 to take fireworks photos.  Try what you like and experiment during the show!  Best results wished for you with your photos of July 4 fireworks displays.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

New Photo site, temporary name:! Thomas Haynes Photography

I am working on a photo gallery website and although not finished I need to announce that here.  The site is Thomas Haynes Photography  a gallery hosting website.   I hope to be using a more marketable name in the not too distant future, one not relying on my personal name and also better in search engine location. The new name name is not yet chosen, considering the one I had selected is taken already. However, the new name will end with less emphasis  on "Thomas Haynes". Our intent as photographer has always been to take the desire and vision of the client..perhaps you..and combine that with our creative perspective and technical abilities to produce an image capturing the vision of the customer with remarkable clarity of meaning.  We are not speaking of photos simply technically on the mark because it is more than that:  The photograph ideally will relate what the customer sees in  personal vision combined with our rendering of that vision in a most appropriate manner: We want you to see the image and feel, well, "Oh my, that is it!"

Of course, some photos are simply fun, fill the memories of the moments and record the faces of loved ones on a rare occasion together...that sort of photo..the kids in the pool or the cat hanging from the curtain.  These are small events in the scheme of life but important in a box of little joys and smiles of memory.

 For now our host is Zenfolio and each day we add a touch here or there to improve the presence of Thomas Haynes there. As galleries are added with more photos, will the more complete and newly named version stay on Zenfolio? I  do not have all the answers yet and it is much too early to judge any success I might yet have in being seen by search engines. That does not happen without much effort and certainly not this soon do we reach our goal.
 Rowing Through Silver..posted previously in this blog but appropriate for now.

All is in the works.  Guests and users of the present website will be notified when any change takes place.   For now, please visit and take a look. Yes, some photos were first published in this blog and others are more recent, including private viewing galleries for clients.  Sign the guest page.  Every visit and guest comment is encouragement to reach for the full realization of photography with Thomas Haynes and get that going strong, renamed and branded.

Monday, June 25, 2012


 Christian Band from a recent "block party" at the Alpha House Transitional Home
This band is a special story of healing from addiction.
A post on fix-up efforts at Alpha House will be written and illustrated fully with photos.  If you have a heart for helping others through personal or organizational efforts, you will need to read this story.  The author and photographer has promised to do his very best on this one, using the fix-up day to tell the story of the organization and the needs they must regularly meet to stay operational..  What a way to put myself on the spot!  

The event is Saturday, June 30, 2012, a day for volunteers and residents to fix-up, paint, landscape, shine and repair the home occupied by the Alpha House organization and ladies in transition.
Fun at the party at Alpha House.

Find it here:  Alpha House     This is a transitional home for women who are recently out of incarceration. If you are not sure what that means, they are now freed from jail and are trying their best to make a transition to a normal and straight life.  Hear a testimonial and you will quickly realize the transition for most is a daunting task and often more difficult once they are back fully in society. Will the old "friends", and for some their own dysfunctional families pull them right back down that hill?  These girls pray for endurance and strength. Alpha House is God based, Faith based, Jesus Christ based.  The strength of faith and prayer has been proven in these women.  It works.  Yes, some do not do well after a time facing life all over again, a new way of life.  Those who share faith with them and close support may be far away. These ladies may face ridicule and temptations alone. Believe me, they will give it all they have to stay well and faithful to their God and to the new life they intend to accomplish.  When this story is written about "one day of volunteer work" at the Alpha House home, I believe it is to be read and shared. Remember, the author and photographer promised me his best.

Breaking News--December 19, 2012: Due to a dire shortage of funding  through October of 2012, Alpha House was forced to close.  With renewed efforts to streamline the money flow and start in a new location, the announcement was made that a small house was found in Oliver Springs, Tennessee. This will be able to take in four women for the program. Hopes are to continue at the new location and from this now smaller new beginning to reach up to God and renewed effort to grow in to again a larger facility.  Determination and prayer is at work here.  One woman remains in the program and is housed in specially provided location so she may complete the program soon.  We pray for income to sustain the Alpha House program and wise decisions by all involved.

Now, believing Internet technology will work, this post should show on the blog feed from here to there on the new website, Thomas Haynes Photography

Friday, June 1, 2012

Fledgling Eastern Screech Owls..Real Cuties

Screech Owls are the quite small owls with a baneful screech, a sound that has frightened many visitors to unfamiliar night woods. To imagine what creature was calling out would not bring thoughts of the small Eastern Screech Owl.  Once heard and recognized, there is no fear in the sound but rather an appreciation of nature around you. Follow the link to  hear sounds of the screech owl.

There is a new group of fledgling screeches at the Clinch River Raptor Center and also a group of young Kestrel falcons.  The owls came from different places and vary slightly in growth and development of feathers. In these photos, you may see a reddish coloration.  Otherwise, the color is mostly gray.  In the wild the owls are seen in both red and gray versions. Full color will develop as the owls mature.

 Notice the talons: Owls have four toes, with three front toes and one in the back just as do hawks. However, when owls perch they put two toes forward and move one to the back.
Is this owl saying you almost deserve a wink?

Fledgling birds are those old enough to leave the nest but still developing their feathers. They fly but not easily or with expertise and generally would be under the watchful eye of parents for a while longer. They are not really grown enough to be out on their own.  The birds shown will be cared for and assisted in learning to hunt for food.  All of this must be done without allowing the birds to become trusting of humans.  They must remain owls in all aspects and know they are wild and not closely associated with people.  If all goes well, when ready and able the screech owls will be released into the wild.

I was with these owls about a minute, not longer. With five youngsters in the area they each had found a place to perch and did not try to fly with me present. They made soft little owl sounds and no screeches. 

Thomas Haynes is a photographer working out of Clinton, Tennessee, a city just north of Knoxville. His photography is often of a fine arts direction but as in this post, his love of nature takes him again to the Clinch River Raptor Center, a rehabilitation and educational not-for-profit organization.. Visit Thomas and see more of his photography at  Facebook

 Contact Thomas to discuss photography you want done. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Amicalola Falls State Park, Snakes, Moonshine Whisky and Appalachian Trail

This post is about two short hikes in Amicalola Falls State Park and the interesting critters and objects seen along the way. One interesting object spotted in the woods is said to be a remnant of the moonshine business in the north Georgia mountains. Photos of that are at the end of the post. Amicalola Falls State Park is near the southern start of the Appalachian Trail in the state of Georgia, USA.

The AT (as hikers call it) is the 2,184 mile trail mostly through wilderness areas of the Appalachian Mountain System from Springer Mountain, Georgia to Mount Katahdin, Maine. Springer Mountain and the southern end of the AT is just outside the state park. The Wiki link below goes to a sketch of the Appalachians on a map of the United States and the second link shows the Appalachian Trail as a line along the mountains. At the bottom end of the trail line is Springer Mountain. Go 8.1 miles (13km) south and you will be at Amicalola Falls, the ending point of the two hikes combined in this post.

Appalachian Mountains System
Appalachian Trail, Wiki

Amicalola Falls, top two thirds

Top of waterfall as seen from vantage
point of the previous photograph

While every trail in these mountains has a particular character, much is seen in common where altitudes and general weather conditions are close to the same. Hikers moving northward into the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina would notice the higher altitudes bring different conditions and other forms of plant and animal life. While mostly deciduous trees such as Tulip Poplar fill the area around Amicalola Falls, the higher Smoky Mountains graduate into evergreens and mountain laurel shaded streams. Going to lower altitudes the evergreens are again replaced with hardwood deciduous trees.

This post does not venture north of Amicalola Falls but does provide a lot to see without going deeply into the woods.

 Steps were constructed fairly recently from the falls top to the level shown in first photograph, 426 steps down and slightly over 200 more to the fall base.
Warming up is recommended prior to going up.

The hike into Amicalola Falls at the level shown is more of a short walk than a hike. Approximately 0.3 mile long, the trail gently descends and is paved with recycled rubber from tires.  This very gentle pathway makes the falls accessible to most everyone. Still, the woods surrounding the walkway is the same woods found on the moderate and strenuous trails and will allow you to see many of the same features if you look around at the large and small provisions of nature.  We had seen the falls and did enjoy that. We went up the steps to the top and back down again. On the walk out other visitors stepped quickly passed us as we looked for surprises and found a few.

 Can you identify this egg case?

The most damp part of the trail edge revealed a lot of snails almost hidden in the foliage. A granddaddy long legs walked across
this snail and stopped to "take a drink" from the wet back of the snail's head.  At least, it appeared to take a drink...

Its web under an outcrop at the woods edge, this spider has a tunnel web.  It would sit in the doorway and wait for insects to be caught in the web away from the tunnel.

The Appalachian Approach Trail begins at the park visitor center then to the base of the falls.  At the onset and along this trail we saw the snakes.  Following the trail on and upward past the falls is the trail to Springer Mountain and the official southern end of the Appalachian Trail.  Those hiking the AT would generally begin at the trail access above the waterfall.  We took the trail toward the base. 

The trail passed a developed pond where visitors fished for trout.
Sunning on the pond edge was this stout water snake. Keep in mind, killing snakes or capturing for pets is illegal in most states. Georgia imposes a $1000 fine for killing snakes.

Copperhead! It is amazing how seeing a snake in the wild and only getting a partial view will lead to a mistaken identification.  This was on the trail edge in downed trees and bramble  We could not see its head clearly at the time. The back pattern should have been enough to tell us it was not a copperhead.

Copperhead and timber rattler are the two venomous snakes in northern Georgia. This snake was neither. The pattern on the back is that of a water snake. The darker markings are the opposite of the copperhead: Copperhead  darker markings become narrow along the back and not wide as in this snake. It took seeing this photo to know what we had really seen. The head appeared clearly only for a split second and we did not see it neatly while on the trail.  Still, the practice is not to approach the snake or ever reach for it, even if you think you know what it is. Thinking back, we were fairly close to water at the time.  Who knows, I believe it to be a water snake but may yet be wrong. I do know it is not a copperhead.

All in all, Amicalola State Park in northern Georgia makes for a fun and  pleasing long weekend. This is not a large park with trail after trail after trail. It does offer trails enough for the weekender and is quite pretty and resting to the eyes and spirit.  

 From our accommodations in the park lodge, this is an evening view of foggy clouds coming over the mountains nearby.  

The Secret seen by those who take the time to look into the woods, something most folks did not do and simply missed seeing...

Those familiar with old time history of moonshine know the mountains of North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia were home to a few inventive folks who made white lightning.  This illegal "whisky" was almost pure alcohol.  How did it get to town? Sometimes the transportation was tanker trucks or cars, ordinary vehicles with hidden tanks or storage areas to carry the moonshine.

Most of us have heard of moonshiners in souped up cars running from the law. As I was told by the locals, this truck we spied in the woods was a tanker truck.  To be where it was meant a long drop..a crunching roll down several hundred feet of very steep mountain side.  The photos do not do justice to the steep grade of the mountain.  The road runs on up to above the falls but at this point we were on a trail below the falls.  What happened really? Was anyone in the truck when it tumbled down the mountain? No one knew the full story but all said it was a moonshiner's tanker.

Notice in this closer view how the poplar tree has grown 
around the front of the truck.  That is the hood against the tree
and the smashed remains of the roof bent down and onto the hood.

The end of this post