Pic of the Week 1/22/21
“The Secret Window”
Location: Chickasaw National Recreation Area, OK
Date taken: 1/10/21
We continue with our adventure in Chickasaw National Recreation Area. Since last week, we explored and photographed Little Niagara Falls and I captured an image with bother upper and lower falls visible in the frame. At this point on the trail the more “show-stopping” waterfalls are over, but there are still interesting cascades and streams that run through the trail system. Old wooden bridges provide excellent vantage points on some of these water features, but I prefer a more intimate view of the landscape.
I followed the trail westbound echoing the shoreline of travertine creek keeping my eyes open for anything interesting. Occasional offs chutes of the trail would lead to an overlook or an embankment for me to explore. Between these side trails, there are treasures hidden behind the thick brush, vines, and thorns. Not literal treasures, but visual treasures in the form of interesting shapes and subjects to photograph. As I walked past a side trail, I noticed a peculiar tree along the shore. This tree’s exposed roots formed an unusual shape. It almost resembled an elephant’s trunk. Sadly, it was back in the thicket and the only way to get there (or so I thought at the time) was to traverse the muddy shoreline.
I’m used to hiking off trail. Pressing forward, blazing my own path through bushwhacking and sheer willpower. After all, the obstacles can be challenge. Normally, its something like a canyon wall or massive boulders I must get through. But in this case, I had to carefully plan each footstep so I wouldn’t end up snared in the volatile cornucopia of Virginia Creeper and thorny vines guarding the area. I must admit, I felt a little overconfident and didn’t pay attention to my footing, when I lifted my leg up to take the next step a vine caught it and I stumbled forward landing my knee directly on a thorn on the vine. Ouch! The thorn had gone through my hiking pants into the fleshy part of my knee forcing obscenities and expletives to be released in the air. Its not a hike unless you bleed.
The Secret WindowLooking through a uniquely shaped tree along the banks of Travertine Creek.
© Ben Jacobi
I made my way through the tangled maze and arrived at the old tree. As I got closer, the elephant-like shape of the root system began to disappear. I did discover however, that I could position myself in such a way to use the tree roots as a natural arch or window to frame the creek. After some finagling and making small adjustments to my position I had my shot lined up. Some “white water” fit perfectly into the arch of the tree roots and I thought this could add some more interest into the scene. Now you get the impression the creek is flowing and not stagnant.
The last thing I did before taking this shot was attach my circular polarizer. This eliminated most of the reflections off the rocks and water surface adding even more contrast to the creek. It also helps to bring to out those lovely emerald colors just below the water. Satisfied with everything, I shot off several frames to capture the best design of the water flow. I did enjoy fighting against the land to find this “Secret Window” but was a bit discouraged to learn there was a much easier and safer path to the tree. I showed Ashlee the images I captured and lead her down to the tree through the much safer and less thorny passage.