Minister’s Treehouse and Fall Creek Falls

A few friends and I recently roadtripped to Crossville Tennessee to see the world’s largest treehouse and few state parks.

If you know me at all, you know how much I hate getting up early. I’ll rarely even talk before 10am. However, the invitation to a go on an adventure is the one chance I’ll break my weekend snoozing habits, pretend to be sunshine-y (when I’m actually storm clouds inside), and hop on the trail to a day of fun and picture taking.

This particular Saturday, we left Chattanooga before the sun even had a chance to peek from behind the fog filled fields of rural highway 127.

About an hour into the trip and we had already gotten lost. We ventured down a dirt to turn around and I couldn’t help hopping out to snap a photo of this perfect farmhouse.

 

We arrived at the treehouse around 11am and I instantly knew it was everything I hoped it would be. The treehouse is more than just a unique landmark that belongs on HGTV’s Home Strange Home. In 1993, Horace Burgess was praying when God told him that if he would begin building a treehouse, He would provide the materials. Flash forward 14 years and only $12,000, and the 97 foot tall treehouse was finished and open to the public.

Here are some of my favorite shots from this trip-

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The full 9 story building

 

The crow’s nest on top of the belltower

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Kayla was pretty excited to get in and explore.

Because it was built under divine instruction, the treehouse has a church sanctuary in the middle. Time and vandals have taken their toll on the interior, but you can still feel that it is a holy place.

The creepiest part of the treehouse is a room near the 8th story that is filled with wood statues like this one.

There are porches that wrap around the entire house. There is no real floorplan, so as you wander around, you’re never quite sure where you will end up.

I was so sorry when it was time to leave that beautiful home. Someday I’ll go back with more time to spare.

*Please note, because it was not build to commercial code, the treehouse is now closed to visitors and it is illegal to enter without the owner’s permission. It is not a commercial property, so it is trespassing to sneak in.

 

On our way to Fall Creek Falls, we made a quick pit stop at Cumberland Mountain State Park. It is a beautiful park, but we wanted to make it to the falls before evening, so we moved on fairly quickly.

 

Photo taken by Kayla

 

 

 

Finally, we made it to Fall Creek Falls State Park. The view from the first overlook is absolutely breathtaking.

 

 

ok, so maybe I added a fake lens flare, maybe I didn’t… I do what I want to.

 

 

 

Enjoying the view from a closer overlook.

 

Alex prepping for a shoot at the base of the falls.

 

At 256 feet tall, Fall Creek Falls is the tallest waterfall east of the Mississippi. There are several other waterfalls at the 26,000 acre park, but because we got there late and hiked down, we only visited the main attraction this trip.

Of course, when you’re with a group of photographers in a beautiful place, you simply have to do a photoshoot. The rest of the photos from here down were not taken by me, they were shot by Kayla Dalusong or Alex Ciaramitaro and edited from RAW by me.

All american

 

I wasn’t about to leave without a photo inside the falls, but MY GOODNESS it was cold!

 

With how high the falls were, the water was surprisingly shallow. I’m actually sitting down in all of these shots.

Classic b&w

Behind the scenes bonus material! After I came out of the water I couldn’t stop shaking. Like, literally 10 minutes later and my teeth were still chattering. So being the wonderful people that they are, my friends covered me with every little bit of material we had so I could change. Alex even gave up his jacket to wrap me up afterwards (even though he was soaked from sitting by the water to shoot). They’re basically angels.

 

All in all, I count this a one of my favorite days of 2015. After dreaming about giant treehouses and scenic cities, I got to experience both in a 24 hour span… I guess it was worth waking up early.

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