After the incredible road trip through Yellowstone WY and through the midwest, Reuben, River and I made it to the farm in Tennessee. It was hot, humid and had more bugs than poor River knew what to do with. We only had 4 days till Reuben had to be at The Tracker School in New Jersey for his Standard class. To make the most of it, we went to the Waterfalls (Bald River Falls) in Tellico Plains, a short drive to the mountains behind the Farm.
(Remember, just click on the picture to make it bigger if you like)
The water level is usually pretty low in August, but was even lower than normal due to the lack of rain that whole summer. Still, it was nice and cold – you could cool off just by dipping your feet in!
In company, included: Jackie, Lorien, Jerry, Reuben and of course River! The other kids had sports or camp or whatever to attended to. Photo courtesy of Lorien.
Reuben found the water to be much colder than he was originally expecting and seemed to enjoy himself immensely.
River was basking in the cool breeze that carried the cold spray from the falls. She was SO hot with her thick fur (you can see it in this photo above) in the Tennessee heat. Jesse and the kids kept telling me they were going to shave her while I was in Jersey (they didn’t though, seems my threats were enough to nix the thought).
Lorien getting in her ‘River Time’. Lorien – known as ‘best friend’ to River – is probably one of River’s favorite people. Of course, I may be biased since she is also one of my most favorite people…
Jerry looking much bigger than the last time I saw him! ~ All the kids GREW so much since I had seen them last!!!
Ah, here is the Jerry that everyone knows! *smile* Like all of the Miller children, there are muscles aplenty!
One of the many fascinating ways rock erodes, when I was young I would sit in these ‘bowls’.
Lorien looking a little chilly from her swim.
Jackie showing off his (sorta) new tattoo, and farmer’s tan!
With the water level being so low, one can go up on the middle level of the Falls and climb around. In between the large boulders, the water is deep with random logs and trees scattered about. There is something pretty special about being in the waterfall.
Lorien looking like an elemental from a fairytale – at one with the Falls.
Splash war! Guess who is winning? Photo courtesy of Lorien.
Hold on to your pants! Both Lorien and I are smiling and looking at the camera! And yes I know.. I look pale as death next to Miss Tan there… Photo Courtesy of Reuben.
Best friends, Lorien and I are. Photo Courtesy of Reuben.
I always take pictures of the various angles at this waterfall, it’s just so damn pretty.
Some of the moss in the shadier areas was a deep green. Showing this picture to family members and friends, many ask if this is in Seattle because of all the green.
Sadly, the pictures of Reuben riding horses were never actually taken… since someone forgot to put a card back in his camera… So he will just have to go again! Jackie and a couple of the kids were out riding with us, it was very very hot but nevertheless fun.
After our very quick visit, Reuben and I drove to his sister’s place in Maryland where we stayed the night and visited her and her wonderful family. Sadly, River was left at the Farm since no dogs are allowed at the Tracker School. Reuben was pretty busy with his Standard class, during which I helped out around camp and visited with Carmen – my very good friend – and her husband Matt, who both work for Tracker School.
This monument of a classroom is the lecture hall, better known as the ‘Taj’. Basically the only structure at Tracker School from which the students can come and go out as they please. But be warned, it leaks during heavy rain, your butt goes numb from the hard seats, you accustom yourself to the various bugs and smells wafting through… and by the end of the class you’re sad saying goodbye to its rustic charm.
Reuben snapped this of me – proof that I was indeed there! I believe I am cleaning a knife here while listening in on the lectures.
Sunlight coming through the pines after a light rain. Even the Pine Barrens’ sparse landscape holds beauty, you just have to know how to open your eyes.
Some of the coals for Jorge’s mid-week cookout. For the Students, this is the feast of feasts!
It always rains during a Standard (I’m convinced it always rains during any Tracker class, but even the instructors agree it always rains during the Standard). The sound of the downpour is like many small steel drums being played at once, it’s deafening and we always have to put the lectures on hold till it slows down. Which means there are roughly 100 people hanging out, and then someone decides we should dance in the rain and well… the rest is history.
Reuben seemed to enjoy his time at Tracker, though it was challenging at some points. He says he plans on going back and has recommended it to his friends.
The man himself – Tom Brown Jr. Tom still teaches each class himself (with the help of instructors), including the first class – the Standard. His voice is often hoarse from speaking, his demeanor rather surly and yet you can’t help but want to hear what he has to say. Many people have found fault or dislike with him, but I maintain that no one is perfect — and the wiser the person, the more outlandish they are. Also, anyone passionate enough to spend his entire life bettering his skills on the land will be intense and possibly crazy, that is just par for the course! Personally, I am a fan of Tom’s.