Butterfly Effect: Pisgah Forest Edition

I love the mountains. I love the air, the way the light filters through the trees, and nothing is better than watching my sweet goober of a dog wallow in a freezing stream. 

While in the Asheville area for work last weekend, my boyfriend and I hiked a fair amount. We try to leave the woods better than we found them, picking up whatever trash we spot along the way. 



We had a tiny bag of litter with us in the car after our Tom Creek Falls hike, and I meant to take a photo of it for a blog post at some point, but then we had to dash off to my next photoshoot for the College of Charleston. 

This shoot was in a stunning of picnic areas right at the entrance to the Pisgah National Forest, with a gorgeous stream flowing through it. There were families picnicking, couples and their pups, and joggers, all enjoying this amazing slice of nature. 



But while I was shooting, I couldn’t help noticing fishing line, a flip flop, beer cans, and a couple plastic cups in the area of the bank where I was working. It made me so sad, so once we were done I snagged the litter bag out of the car and headed down to the stream to grab those trash items that bothered me so much. If you’re not willing to do something about it, you lose the right to complain about it, in my opinion. 


If you’re not willing to do something about it, you lose the right to complain about it

I started picking up those things mentioned above, but soon realized there was so much more than I had initially seen. It was overwhelming, and my heart sank. I fished so many cans, water bottles, plastic straws, plastic bags, candy wrappers, and chip bags out of the water and off the rocks. How was there just SO MUCH CRAP?

A mother and her two kids eating on some rocks had been watching this tiny drama unfold, and as I was about to head out, and she saw the bag of trash and gasped, “Is that all from today?” I told her yes and headed to the car.  The thing was, the scenery was so breathtaking, she hadn’t even noticed the litter in the bushes or caught in the rocks. 



I could have filled 15 more plastic bags with trash, easily, but we had to get back to Charleston. I got in the car feeling more than a little disheartened. I had just started this blog concept, and already I felt so overwhelmed. Who are these people who just don’t care? And how could I possibly do enough good to offset the mess they’re creating, when it’s enough of a struggle to clean up and optimize my own lifestyle? 

I voiced these concerns to Logan, and we sat quietly for a second. Then he pointed something out - the woman I’d spoken to sitting on the rocks with her two children? They had finished their lunch and not only cleaned up their mess, but the two kids were now walking along the pack picking up other people’s litter as well! 



It's not a happy ending, but more of a happy beginning. I guess there is something to the butterfly effect, after all. I hope that anyone reading this - if anyone is reading this - will take this story as their own personal challenge to make a change or do something positive and pass it on.  

Let’s start something here, y’all.