MEFALLS #3 | Smalls Falls | Phantom 4

Categories: Phantom, Trip Reports
Smalls Falls Rangeley, Maine
.25 | Easy

Before I get started, let me thank the young ladies and gentleman that let me take some video while they were cliff jumping. I didn’t get all the footage into the final video; if you would like a copy of the video you’re featured in please shoot me an email to and I’ll get you the source footage.


I feel like it’s starting to come together a bit better. I’m very happy with the way this video turned out.

Although, there were two near-crashes that got my heart pounding…

During the opening shot I lost eye contact with the Phantom once it got up near the top of the falls. I’ve got the contrast, brightness, and saturation on the camera turned down a few notches while filming so I can adjust all of that in post. However, this causes very low contrast on the phone screen while flying so smaller obstacles can easily blend in with the background. Once I reached the top of the falls I met just such a branch. I didn’t see it until the obstacle sensors went off but at that point, it was too late. I saw the branch hit the camera and the altitude begin to drop. In the time it took my heart rate to jump to 9000 the Phantom recovered and maintained altitude. After this little accident I turned around and flew back to the bridge where we were standing. It is because of this small branch that I didn’t get the single shot all the way from the base of the falls to the top of the falls. Even though my pulse rate had recovered my hands weren’t exactly steady at this point.

The second near miss came towards the end of the day. The shot is the fast and low approach to the falls that you see just before the cliff jumper. I had a small audience standing with me on the bridge and I suppose I was trying to show off. I sped into the gorge and up the waterfall as you see in the video, then I flew backwards towards the bridge at full speed. I thought I’d timed it right to stop before hitting the small trees on the side of the main pool but I did not. The Phantom clipped a few branches and shredded a few leaves. Luckily I recovered quickly and got it out of trouble but not before the shredded leaves painted the Phantom a nice hue of green.

Aside from these two mishaps it was a great day all the way around. When I was a boy my father took us all to Smalls Falls every summer, and now that I’ve got a family of my own, I’m doing the same. We lucked out to get such a sunny day – the water at Smalls Falls is 2 degrees from being ice. It’s so cold that it takes the breath out of you the first time you jump in. Regardless, spending a hot summer day cliff jumping and swimming among waterfalls is hard to beat.

Happy trails,