My Family's vacations growing up were spent camping, hiking and fishing. My parents had a great appreciation of nature and loved to be out in it. One of my strongest memories from when I was very young was visiting this huge waterfall. I remembered staying in a cabin with an old big stump out front. I also remembered hiking along the river and the steep drop offs and then the thundering roar of this huge waterfall. It was Cumberland Falls at Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in Kentucky.
Cumberland Falls My Dad after Hike in Rain My Mom
Back in 2010, I visited the falls again with my Mom and Dad. They were in their low 80's and still loved to hike although the hikes were much shorter. That day as we started hikeing it began to rain. My Dad wanted us to continue on as he thought it would be great to photograph the area with the rain coming down. He was right, the big boulders and the falls through the rain were spectacular. What wonderful memories with my parents!
From one side of the falls you could even see a rainbow sometimes in the mist. After having rediscovered my love of this place, I began stopping there on my way to visit my parents. I always shared with my dad the images I took, as he was a great supporter of my photography. After one of my visits and sharing of images, my dad told me of our family's first visit there. In describing the cabin we stayed in and all the adventures we had, it turns out, it was the visit I was remembering with the huge falls and I was just 3 years old. Wow. He told of the hike along the river and how worried he was taking me and my brother on it because of the steep drop off to the river and falls. This was back before they put up any safety rails etc. It is amazing how I can remember that far back but obviously it made a huge impact.
Eagle Falls Eagle Cascades
My dad also remembered hiking to a little building way up above the falls with a great lookout point. On my my next visit there I searched for it and did not find it. I hiked by the main Cumberland Falls and on to Eagle Creek, which was part of his memory, and discovered Eagle Falls and Eagle Cascades. They were spectacular and provide great photo opps, but no little building.
My Dad passed away not long after that. He had been having health problems and was in and out of the hospital but was feeling much better and was beginning to get some energy back. Because he was feeling better, he decided to go upstairs in his home and carry down some things for my mom. She has Alzheimer and through all this he was also trying to be her primary care giver. On the way back down the steps he tripped and fell into a side table at the bottom and hit his head very hard. He was rushed to the hospital but this ended up being a fall he could not recover from. He had a living will that restricted what he wanted us to do in this situation and a few weeks after the fall, we made the hard decision in alignment with his wishes and moved him over to respite care. I immediately took off to visit him as I live 11 hours away, but he passed away right as I got to town.
I decided to go to the hospital to say my final goodbye and was so pleased to find a great big photo of this waterfall, his favorite Cumberland Falls, above his head in the room they had moved him to for his final days. I would like to think that he knew that it was above him and it helped him find peace at this time. He loved that I was placing images such of these into the healthcare environment and it was absolutely wonderful that this was in his room at the end. This just reaffirmed my strong belief that these types of images need to be in the healthcare environment for the patients and their families. This waterfall was so full of wonderful memories for him. Even if it had not been the specific waterfall, I know it would have brought him the type of peace and calm that only nature can do.
I have been back to this state park many times over the past year and half since he passed away. I even found a side trail to where the old trail used to go and there was the building and overlook. I so wish I could have shared it with my Dad,
but luckily with my camera in hand, I could capture this beauty to share with others and have those special memories for myself. This is a passion for me and I love being able to utilize this passion to make a difference in peoples lives.
So Much More...
I have really enjoyed getting to visit so many places in Kentucky when I travel in that direction. Just one of my many destinations across the US. So many of these wondrous images that I was able to capture can bring healing, stress relief and beauty to any healthcare environment. Contact me about bringing these wonderful scenes of nature and destinations into your projects. Talk to me about destination shots in your area! --Koral