Sunday, November 10, 2013

Private Property

My dad instilled in me an almost total respect for private property. If I see a property boundary and I know it's privately owned, I will do whatever it takes not to cross over that line. When I was younger I thought that this was something peculiar to my father, but I later learned through various reading that it is a cultural phenomenon widespread in the area from which he hailed--the southern Georgia, north Florida border. When those poor white folk told you to stay off of their fucking property, they by God meant it. Violating such borders could result in injury or death, and the Law would generally side with the property owner.

These days when I'm hiking in National Forest land I will sometimes come to the boundaries of private property, often with "Keep Out" and "No Trespassing" warnings. When I used to hike with my Yankee pals, they would scoff at my perceived paranoia in avoiding crossing over onto private property. Apparently such things are not an issue where they were raised.

And often I will happen upon some areas that I can see from public property that are absolutely heart-stopping gorgeous, but which lie on privately owned lands. I will do my best to admire such places from a distance, but I will never trespass to see them. Many times I have seen fantastic waterfalls that are on privately owned real estate and wished that I could get a closer look. At such times I wonder why eminent domain has not been declared to put such places into public hands where everyone can enjoy them.

Recently I stumbled upon just such a spot. I won't say where it is, respecting the owner's right to privacy and their right to have their property and not be unduly bothered. But this waterfall was amazing. Probably close to 100 feet in height, it lies completely on private land and is not accessible to public viewing. I got these shots because I paused very briefly along a gravel road just long enough to try to get a usable image. And I was reminded of my past frustration at wanting to see places like this, wishing the government could exercise eminent domain so that we could all spend time admiring this amazing waterfall.

But, at the same time, I wish I had the funds and opportunity to own it myself.

So it goes.

House, staircase, viewing platform. All on private property.

The photo does not do this waterfall true justice. I would estimate the total height of this amazing falls to be about 100 feet.

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