Guaranteed is No Destination by Alison Capra

"It was the straying that found the path direct..."  -Austin Osman Spare

There are two things in this life of which I am quite certain. 

1. The path you think that you are taking will most likely not lead you to your final destination.

2. If it does, it might not be exactly where you wanted to go.

In my early twenties I read a story that helped me process life as I knew it. It was called "Birds.. Letting Life Happen" Now, I don't remember the author, or exactly how it went. But I do remember, that the idea was if you spent your time trying to catch a bird, your hands would be constantly grasping, reaching and closed. And if you spent your time on your tippy toes, reaching for something that was meant to be free and trying to bring it into captivity, you would very well miss much of your precious time enjoying life. IF, However, you simply stood still and calm, enjoying the grass as your feet, the cool breeze, and the path you were taking... Perhaps the bird would land on you, in her own time.

The story impacted me greatly. So much, in fact... I got a tattoo of birds traveling around my arm to remind me to LET LIFE HAPPEN. Does this mean to sit around and do nothing? Absolutely not. But what it DOES mean is that each and every person should spend less time trying to control the circumstances around them, and MORE time enjoying the journey.

STOP trying to force your life forward. As my mom always said "You can't squeeze blood from a turnip." No matter how hard you try, there will be certain people in your life that can truly only give you JUST that... a special time in your life.

There will be people who you can love. But only love so far.

There will be jobs and things you do, that you can only do for a season.

You will GROW past people, friends, and even family. This is is all part of the journey.

I encourage you only to live in the present, enjoy the journey, break away from what you cannot change. Be grateful for the experiences you have had, and remember: WORK HARD and LET LIFE HAPPEN.

-Alison Capra

Camping Catawba Falls by Nicholas Koumalatsos

Whether you're looking for a scenic relaxing get-away or an ass kicking hike and adventure, Western North Carolina's Catawba Falls are the perfect spot to set up camp and take a break from the mundane. Set up camp with just the essentials for a perfect weekend!

A closeup of Lower Catawba Falls with the pool - perfect for wading - at its base.

Catawba Falls is one of Western North Carolina's exceptional Blue Ridge waterfalls - one which is along the steep escarpment where the higher mountain lands drop off to the Piedmont areas below.


It's located on an isolated tract of Pisgah National Forest property near Old Fort, NC, at the southern end of the Grandfather Ranger District, just south of I-40. A new parking area and trail culminates years of effort to provide public access to this special area, which required a variety of legislation to accomplish. Today, Catawba Falls is open to visitors and a highly recommended destination.

Catawba Falls itself is divided into two or three main sections (depending on who you ask), along a stretch of the Catawba River which drops around 600 feet in about a half mile. The main upper part is about 50 feet high and is a free-fall, while the lower (or middle) section is over 100 feet high across multiple falls and cascades. It's more of a rushing creek than a river at this point, and thus shares an attribute with most higher mountain falls: it looks best after wet weather. Still, there is enough area on the plateau above to gather water that it's worth visiting any time, even in periods of lower water. It never dries up completely.

Only pack what you can carry!  Grey Ghost Gypsy Pack  perfect for essentials.

Only pack what you can carry! Grey Ghost Gypsy Pack perfect for essentials.

At this point I only took things with me I really needed with me to the top. I packed some Elysium Adventure Bars, my camera gear, water, a compass, a flashlight, a small knife, matches, a lighter and some tinder. Also have to mention my Prana pants. I searched for hours to find a female outdoor pant. Water resistant, quick drying and lots of pockets. 

The small cascade below the old dam may constitute a third "lower" part of Catawba falls. Much of this cascade - the part most people see - is man-made and will be eliminated when the dam is removed, making them even smaller. The prettiest part of this cascade is natural, but most people don't see it due to difficulty of accessing it. 

Nick at the Upper Falls,   Gerber Ghost Strike  for this adventure.

Nick at the Upper Falls,  Gerber Ghost Strike for this adventure.

Gerber Ghost Strike

Nick brought his Gerber Ghost Strike. It's a compact skeletal fixed blade. Super light-weight and perfect for a long hike. Can be worn concealed without printing.


Catawba Falls, or "Middle" Catawba Falls, if you include the cascade downstream near the dam as the "lower" falls. Opinions vary.

Right now, one trail is located within this trailhead area, and it leads to the falls. Starting at the new parking area, the trail heads upriver on old road beds, crossing the river once on stepping stones. You may have to get your feet wet here, and it may be an impossible crossing in very high water.

The trail technically continues up the right side of the lower falls, and then along a more level path to the base of the upper falls. However, before leveling out, the way is extremely steep and dangerous, and it's right next to the lower falls. It's almost to the point of being technical rock climbing, and sketchy ropes have been tied to trees to help people haul themselves up. It's not easy but it's worth it! Be CAREFUL it's very slippery! And you will most definitely get wet!

Upper Catawba Falls, NC

Upper Catawba Falls, NC


The area around Catawba Falls is designated as a Day Use Area, so no backcountry camping is allowed. However, there are private campgrounds in the vicinity.

Catawba Falls campground right along the water, perfect  TRX  workout spot.

Catawba Falls campground right along the water, perfect TRX workout spot.

Setup with the campsite essentials solar powered    Luci Light  s  are incredible!

Setup with the campsite essentials solar powered Luci Lights are incredible!

We chose the Catawba Falls Campground. This place has a shower house walking distance from each spot, and a small general store. Completely quiet, relaxed mountain setting just walking distance from the falls.

After a long day of hiking it's awesome to soak your feet in the water along the grounds, have a good meal and refresh. I've never seen anything like the MPOWERD Luci Inflatable Solar powered lights. The blow up and last up to 12 hours on a single charge. 

River rat camping. Love that  BRCC Enamel Mug

River rat camping. Love that BRCC Enamel Mug

We don't go camping without the Jet Boil, or with out our Mountain House Meals.  Those things are delicious. If you would rather cook over an open fire, each camp site has a fire pit. The JetBoil is perfect for camp coffee! We brought plenty of Black Rifle Coffee GFC.

This campground is awesome. Definitely the place to stop.

Adventues of Leo   

Adventues of Leo


I never knew such a treasure existed so close to home!

Find out more here

Notes from the Photographer by Alison Capra

“If we are not fully ourselves, truly in the present moment, we miss everything.”                            -Thich Nhat Hanh

Ever wonder if you are truly present in every moment?

For a large part of my life I've felt like I am watching a screenplay of my own life... present only for personal thought provoking commentary behind the scenes (in my head). Maybe that is why I make a pretty good photographer. I still remember the first time I heard the term "fly on the wall" referring to photojournalism. It just sounded right. I can stick myself in the mix of someone else's world, and capture a little bit of their happiness from behind layers of glass.

I love my job. But I don't want to miss anything. I don't want to miss my own life. I want to live VIBRANTLY in every moment. Sometimes it's hard for a "thinker" to keep herself fully involved in every situation of life. Experiencing all of the good stuff. Finding yourself... your passion... your brand... the place you fit.

I believe as the years go by, we can get so caught up with being busy,  social media, the day to day tasks. We forget to be connected with our lives, our relationships, and our heart.

I challenge you, as I challenge myself. Don't forget to connect with your life, your dreams, your passion, your art, your music, your heart, your little people, your friends, your mate and your GOD. Take the time to listen, watch, and enjoy.

One life. That's all we've got. Don't miss everything.