Over the years, I’ve had the privilege to know many people who share my passion for waterfalls. All are special in one way or another. Some of them impress the hell out of me. I want to tell you about a few of them here. I’ll add other “Waterfall Idols” from time to time.
Phoebe Loretta Adams
The greatest waterfall lover in the world. Period. Even if she was not my mother, I’d still think so. If I have any good character traits related to the environment in general and waterfalls in particular, they were instilled in me at an early age by this dear woman. She believed that waterfalls belong to us all. She felt that no person should have the right to prevent someone viewing a waterfall, even if it was on private property. Her adamant stance may not have won friends from landowners, but it helped teach me the value of protecting the natural world for the enjoyment of future generations, as well as simply for the sake of nature itself. She departed this world on December 22, 2001.
Anytime you feel tired on a waterfall hike and think you just can’t go any farther, think about Bernie Boyer. Well into his seventies, this retired physicist bushwhacks up and down those steep mountain slopes and discovers new waterfalls on nearly every outing. And Bernie makes a lot of outings! He sends regular emails about his discoveries, reminding me that I have a long way to go to catch up with him. You can thank Bernie for much of the information posted in the updates section of this site.
The first waterfall friend I became acquainted with is Forrest Smith from Durham. Forrest likes to pick on me about missing a lot of waterfalls in the first edition of North Carolina Waterfalls and he even decided to name one he discovered as “Adams Mist Falls.”
In only a few years, Rich Stevenson—a.k.a. Waterfall Rich—has become perhaps the most renowned waterfall enthusiast in North Carolina. He accomplished this by spending an incredible amount of his time exploring waterfalls and writing about them for his website. It’s impossible to do any internet surfing for North Carolina’s waterfalls without coming across www.ncwaterfalls.com. Not only has Rich assembled the most comprehensive website devoted to North Carolina waterfalls, he also managed to do what few others have: Present all the information in an easy-to-navigate and pleasing-to-view platform. I’ve learned a lot from Rich and have enjoyed becoming friends with him. But I have to admit I wish he’d quit discovering so many new waterfalls. He’s really making me look bad!
Many people wrote letters or sent emails when the first edition of North Carolina Waterfalls was published. Among the most rewarding and impressive correspondence came from a 70-year-old gentleman who had hand-written a list of waterfalls that he had recorded on video—all 229 of them! (The list has since grown much longer.) I had the pleasure of meeting Tally Williams while working on the revision and although he’s no longer able to hike to waterfalls as he once did, his affection for them is contagious.