Last month we took a long drive to leaf peep. We'd heard the leaves were bright and the view from on top of the mountain, glorious. You can imagine expectations being high. Then again, you know what they say, Be Careful What You Wish For, the results can be skued. You see, Mel had been there. Mel left a mess. Mel robbed me of a tower climb. A climb which was guaranteed to appeal to my leaf peeping, picture taking heart. Instead, I got roped-off areas, a blocked-off tower and the remnants of spent movie magic.
Mr. Mel Gibson filmed on that mountain. He turned my experience on its ear. Instead of being in awe of the color palette that is nature, I was presented with a bit of illusion and man's ability to use a color palette to create what doesn't exist.
Of course I took pictures. It was what I'd come to do, never expecting to capture something more elusive than fall foliage. Unlike trees which will once again unfurl leaves to recreate their colorful glory next autumn, this sight will never be repeated.
The following picture looks good BUT, the foreground has bushes. If I'd been able to go where I expected to go, the only thing I would have captured and you would have seen were uninterrupted panoramic views of the valley from high in the air. As it is, all I got were pictures close to the ground. I had a mammal's view when I wanted an eagle's.
This next shot is perfect to illustrate just how dramatic movie magic can effect the landscape. See the foreground? Looks like six feet at least of concrete, right? Did you notice the RADIATION warning?
See the grey ridged wall formation that surrounds the building? Do you see the field stone square on the upper left with the white pole sticking up? The ONLY thing original is the field stone square up there because THAT is the tower. That is where I was supposed to be, had expected to go. The cement was actually WOOD. Wood and paint and putty created an impressive and impenetrable cement bunker. They even had used paint and putty to create aged, rusted and weather beaten iron tracks for what I can only assume was a trolley system. The glass is not a part of the original building. In fact, this building is twice the size as the actual building. It's quite impressive, isn't it? And it's not real.
The next one is a clearer example of movie magic. This is what you will see in the movie...somewhere.
This next photo is what it really looked like.
Did you notice the pretty tree stump with the flowers inside? They built the scenery around the natural environment. I laughed when I saw that.
Next is proof that they filmed at night, or dusk or in bad lighting. There were quite a few pieces of equipment left. The lighting looks kind of sad and neglected, doesn't it? Then again, I like the pretty color - like a lizard.
Just think, everything, and I do mean everything, constructed in this next shot is fake. There is nothing in view that is part of the original building. Doesn't it look like metal? Doesn't it look impressive? It's all wood, folks. But look beyond to the view of the mountains. Isn't it gorgeous???
All in all, I guess Mel did provide me with some unexpected, picturesque and unusual once-in-a-lifetime opportunities and for that, I thank him.
The view from the bridge at the bottom of Mt. Sugarloaf.