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Waterfalls of the Smokies Paperback – April 14, 1992
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THE PHOTOGRAPHS. To find the names of the photographers, you need to turn to page 205. they are Kevin Adams, Kent Cave, Kendall Chiles, Liz Domingue, Hal Hubbs, Adam Jones, Byron Jorjorian, May Kressig, Bill Lea, Charles Maynard, David Morris, Nye Simmons, and Jerry Whaley. The text is by three of these photographers (H.H., C.M., and D.M.). While none of the photographers has the stature of, for example, Robert Glenn Ketcham or David Muench, it should be pointed out that some of the photographers have real artistic merit. None of the photographs in this book are as bad as snapshots taken by the typical cell-phone junkie. Of especial artistic merit are MOUSE CREEK FALLS, which consists of a serious of two cascades, where the two cascades and the stream are surrounded by a carpet of fallen autumn leaves (page 31). Also of enhanced artistic merit is RAINBOWVALLS (page 177). This photograph shows, in the background, a wide sheet of falling water, while the foreground has a serious of small plunge-pools.
THE CHAPTERS. The book is divided into seven chapters: (1) Big Creek; (2) Cades Cove-Townsend; (3) Cherokee-Deep Creek; (4) Clingman's dome; (5) Cosby; (6) Fontana; and (7) Gatlinbug-Mt. Le Conte. Each chapter contains information on about six different waterfalls that reside in areas of the park that are covered by each chapter.
THE MAPS. In each chapter, we find an unusual map. The unusual map takes the form of a slanted line, where the rise of the slanted line corresponds to the rise in elevation along the slope of the hill or mountain. The slanted lines are all named, and usually the name is that of a trail that takes you to the waterfall indicated at one or two points along the slanted line. The elevation and position of the waterfalls are indicated by arrows pointing to a particular position on the slanted line. For example, the slanted line called "TRILLIUM GAP TRAIL" there are arrows indicating the relative elevation and position of Grotto Falls and Twin Falls (page 188). Also, each chapter has a full-color map showing roads, trails (dotted line), park boundaries, rivers, and waterfalls. Also, each map has a ruler showing the distance of a half mile. For example, the colored map on page 152 shows Trillium Gap Trail, Bull Head Trail, Alum Cave Trail, Rainbow Falls Trail, and roads (Route 441 and Cherokee Orchard Road), and elevations of mountains (Mt. LeConte 6593 feet; Mt. Winnesoka 4316 feet).
THE TEXT. The writing is straightforward with little pleasantries here and there. The text refrains from providing any silly poems about nature, and the text refrains from providing any philosophical musings, and I am very glad of this. To provide an example of the fine writing, pages 79-81, which concerns LITTLE CREEK FALLS, reads, "This falls is well worth the difficult walk. Hundreds of small shelves are formed from stratified sandstone of the Thunderhead Formation. The layers of rock are horizontal . . . moss covered logs and rhododendron frame this picture of falling water. Doghobble and ferns are in abundance in the primary hardwood forest . . . it's amazing that such a small creek can create such a large wonder." The next page of text (page 83) provides a half-page of narrative on exactly how to find LITTLE CREEK FALLS. The reader can easily compare the text with the map on page 80.
CONCLUSIONS. Although the book is very small, the physical quality of the photographs, maps, and printed text is high. The paper is high quality semi-glossy paper. The book should make an excellent gift. Please note that the cost of this book is only about twice that of a typical fancy thank-you card. Thus, I suggest buying a few dozen of these books and using them as Christmas cards or as thank-you cards (all you need to do is to add some sort of handwritten message inside the front cover). For people interested in knowing where to hike and where to photograph, this book is likely the best starting point as any.