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Monday, October 25, 2010

Friends, Fall Colors and Fabulous ELK

George and I joined blog friend NEAL and his lovely wife, Patti, for several days together in the gorgeous mountains of North Carolina, at Maggie Valley. Neal and George/I have been friends for about 2 years --but we had never met until this past week... What a neat couple these two are... The four of us had a fabulous time together ---and found out that we have so much in common. It was such a great trip--and I'm sure we will plan more vacations together.

Neal is a big tease ---so of course, we spent much of the time laughing and joking with each other... George was thrilled because now there are two of them who can give me a hard time!!!!!! ha ha.... Patti (Neal's wife) doesn't blog --but I told her that she needs to start --so that I will have some HELP.... Patti is a tiny little gal --like my good friend, Judy, and is very personable... Like I said, we all had a great time together ---and it's as if we have been good friends for years.

Besides being with these wonderful friends, we all went to Maggie Valley for two reasons: to see the Fall colors, and to see the Elk in Cataloochee Valley. We accomplished BOTH. Today, I'll show you an outline of our week--but will divide them into categories for many more pictures in upcoming blog posts... I probably won't show you the entire group of 600 photos I took (George took 500) ha ha --but I'll show you the BEST ones I hope. Above is a picture of our special friends, Neal and Patti. Below are more.



We started out driving through the Smokies (between Gatlinburg and Cherokee). Even though there were TONS of people and traffic, once we got on 441 to go over the mountain, it wasn't too bad. Once we got to Cherokee, we got on the Blue Ridge Parkway and headed toward the Balsam Mountain Road. The weather was perfect --and the colors were gorgeous... Above is one picture taken in the Smokies.




We stayed at the Abbey Inn in Maggie Valley. Thanks to blog friend DOROTHY for reommending the Abbey Inn. It was a wonderful, little motel. The view was terrific... The picture above shows the view from our front porch... Wow!!!!




The absolute highlight of the entire week was getting up early on Wednesday morning (in the drizzle and fog) and driving to Cataloochee Valley to see the ELK. Not only did we see about 20-30 of them that morning, we also heard them BUGLE.... How awesome is that!!!! I was so very very excited--as you can imagine!!! I will have many pictures to share --but above, here is one for you to enjoy. My pictures were taken from the road --using my 300mm lens.





After seeing the gorgeous elk and checking out the Cataloochee Valley (which is similar to Cades Cove), we drove on the Blue Ridge Parkway from Maggie Valley to the Mt. Pisgah area. The drizzle and fog disappeared fairly quickly --and the sun came out --just for us of course... Above is one picture taken along the Blue Ridge Parkway that day.




On Thursday, we drove over the Cherohala Skyway (between Robbinsville, NC and Tellico, TN) checking out even more beautiful Autumn colors. They were fabulous there also--especially on the NC side.. Above is a picture taken along the Cherohala Skyway. As you can tell, this was our best day weatherwise --since there wasn't a cloud in the sky. AWESOME!!!!




Finally, George and I just HAD to show Neal and Patti one of our favorite waterfalls at Tellico, Bald River Falls. Above is a picture of the four of us on the bridge.... I promise you that Neal is NOT seven feet tall... He is standing on a step on the side of a bridge. That is my favorite picture of us!!!!

Hope you ALL had a great week like we did.... George also is posting pictures from our trip, so be sure to click HERE each day to check his blog.

Have a wonderful day.
Hugs,

56 comments:

Twilight said...

Your photos are awesome and makes me happy once more. I have decided to make a trip to Shanghai next Autumn too! I hope my photos will look vibrant like yours too. Patti looks Asian like me! Is she?

Jane said...

Glad that you guys had a great time! Pictures are awesome as always!

Jane

Ann Nichols said...

Absolutely breathtaking! I mean literally - your photos have taken my breath away!
Ann

Big Dude said...

You sure got some gret shots of the foliage and toured a big chunk of the smokies. Glad to here the elk came out for you - we were there mid day and didn't get to see any. Look forwardto more shots - wow 1100.

Valerie said...

Looks like a spectacular time! Good friends, gorgeous fall color, and music from the Elk! Wow!

Looking forward to your next posts.

A Brit in Tennessee said...

My grandson went to the UT game on Saturday night, and I asked him what the leaves looked like further East, and if they were in their peak, now I know, thanks to your pictures !
The trees are simply gorgeous, it's never a disapointment to see those spectacular leaves of all different colors.
Elk ! Wow......
They are beautiful, I bet hearing them Bugle calling was awesome.
Thank you for sharing your trip with us Betsy, looks like the four of you had so much fun....
You were missed.

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Beautiful scenes.It is so nice to spend time with new friends and have a wonderful experience.
Blessings,Ruth

Kelly said...

...looks like a great time, Betsy! ...and the colors look fab too. I would love to see an elk in the wild. He is huge!!! (We made it to Cumberland Falls this weekend, and we were able to see the moonbow!)

Neal said...

We had a great time. However, like I told George in an email, he has my deepest sympathy for putting up with you. :) :) :) He is a saint. :) :)

Seriously, it really was nice meeting both of you. You are really a nice couple.

I don't think we took as many pictures as you did but we took quiet a few.

diane said...

What a fun week you must have had. There is nothing better than sharing your fun with friends. How awesome to have met through blogging. I must go and check out Neal's blog and George's too to get some more of those dazzling scenes. The Elk is a super shot and those colours and mountains ahhhhhhh! I would love to visit there one day. It might just happen as our youngest is moving to the States next year.

Tabor said...

My husband and I explored that park and Maggie valley a year or two ago. The elk that have been re-introduced are awesome. We also heard bugling and saw the bull elk herding his females and chasing away the males! Glad you have fun!

June said...

Elk! I thought elk were only in Rockies and points north! Wow!

Neal and Patti look like happy people. It's always fun to be with people who're cheerful.
I can't help wondering how loud tiny little Patti has to yell for Neal to hear her way up there, though...

amelia said...

Nice to see you back Betsy! You were missed!!

Absolutely fabulous!! I have never seen such colours and all we have here are stark pines and bare trees!! It even snowed a little while you were gone!

How wonderful you could share a holiday with blog friends.

Mildred said...

The mountain views are so pretty. So glad that you all had a wonderful trip together. I look forward to seeing more photos!

Peggy said...

Betsy what a beautiful weekend you guys had!!! Can't wait to see more.

Shelley said...

How fun to meet another blogger friend!! And boy - your friend Neal is very tall!!! Glad you had so much fun. Your fall photos are gorgeous and I loved that huge elk.
Hugs to you!!
Shelley

Diane AZ said...

Glad you and George had such a wonderful time with your friends. The scenery truly looks amazing with the fall colored trees covering the hills. The elk is gorgeous. Love the picture of the four of you at the waterfalls! :)

Susie said...

Wow Betsy, how beautiful! As many times as we have been to the Smokies, we have never seen them like this.

Glad you got to meet some blogging friends. Looks like ya'll had a great time!

Amin said...

Beautiful friendship!!!
Wonderful photos!

Arkansas Patti said...

You sure Neal isn't 7 feet tall. He sure towers over his wife in the first picture.
Lovely color you are seeing. We are still working on various shades of brown here.
Thanks for showing Maggie Valley. How many times I drove past the signs but was in too big a hurry to stop.
Looking forward to the rest of the pictures.

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

Awesome photographs, Betsy! I think I need to suggest to Bob's motorcycle club that they should change their rally to fall. They hold the rally in May in Maggie Valley. It rains all the time! The names of some of the places that you traveled bring back memories of our being in the same place. We hope to return to Maggie Valley one day. I love it down there!

Snap said...

Your photos are wonderful. Great color! Love the Elk. (When we made trips back to New Mexico each year, Mr. Dragon would kid me about the elk ... that they never came out until I came to see them!) How wonderful to travel with friends. Well done!

Jo said...

Wow, Patti is soooo tiny, Betsy. And you can see Neal is a tease. Imagine standing on a step when you are so tall already, LOL. Is he a Canon man? What lovely photos of the fall colours. And of course your precious group photo in front of the falls. That just has to be the best photo. I would not see or share things like elks and glorious golden colours if I wasns't a blogger. So good on you for encouraging Patti to start a blog. Look forward to seeing it if she does! Have a blessed day, my friend. (((Hugs))) Jo

Sandra said...

that is a wonderful photo of your two friends at the beginning, first i noticed was she can walk under his arm if he lifts it and the next thing was the camera in his hand. eyes went right to it. the colors in all the photos are beyond maginificent and the elk makes me JEALOUS

Small City Scenes said...

Oh my goodness, Betsy your trip pics are gorgeous. The colors are wonderful, the weather just right---you really lucked out. I am so glad you all had a great time. MB

Dorothy said...

Betsy, these are the most wonderful pictures showing the fall foliage!! It looks like it is at its peak. I'm so glad you liked Abbey Inn! And thanks for the plug! Looking forward to seeing more of your pictures!

LV said...

What a fabulous trip this was for all of you. You never disappoint us with all the pretty,colorful sights of nature. That is such a lovely part of the area.

JKoenig said...

What spectacular color! My favorite of your pictures was the fourth one down. The mountains seem to roll on forever. Loved it!

KathyA said...

BETSY!!! THESE PHOTOS ARE AWESOME!!! I can just imagine what all looked like in person. And that elk!!! MAGNIFICENT!
So did the elk take that photo of the four of you??? :)

Busy Bee Suz said...

What a wonderful weekend for you all.
Love the photos...you picked a great time to see the colors!

Ginny said...

The picture of the four of you is just FANTASTIC, and my favorite. Neal and Patti are so cute! And now I know what another blog buddy looks like! Your pictures are all beautiful; the elk being my next favorite! You really got some defined antlers, lovely and ststuesque!!

Diane said...

It looks like a wonderful time, Betsy. Beautiful, beautiful picture of the elk! We're fortunate to live two blocks from the city park where they have elk in the pasture. I did not hear them bugle this year (don't know why) and I REALLY miss it. Such gorgeous and magical creatures!

The Incredible Woody said...

I am so jealous that you got to hear the elk bugle!! What a wonderful trip:) And the colors were spectacular!!

Sharon said...

What beautiful pictures! Sounds like a wonderful trip!

The Farmer's Daughter said...

What spectacular photos, Betsy! And to get to share that scenery with friends...what fun! I have enjoyed looking at the photos so much, thanks for sharing.

Have a great day,
Cheryl

Tricia said...

So that's Neal! He's very tall! LoL!
That's a great group pic & that elk has one magnificent rack... WoW!!!

wildlifewatcher said...

Hi Betsy, So glad you had a great trip. You picture of the Elk is fabulous! Have a super day today! I think we will get more rain today and tonight : )

ladyfi said...

Wow - those autumn colours are delicious! And what a gorgeous shot of the elk.

Glenda said...

These are magnificent shots of the colors of mountains!! Some of the prettiest photos I've seen! We, too, loved seeing and hearing the elk in Cataloochee a few weeks ago! It's an awesome experience!
I'm glad you all enjoyed your days together in that beautiful location.

carolina nana said...

Looks like you all had a wonderful trip. The elk in Cataloochie are on my list of things to see. That is a beautiful picture of that one with the huge rack.
Have a blessed day
Marilyn

thesouthernlady64 said...

I just knew you were going to get a waterfall in there somewhere before this post was over. lol. Your pictures are just awesome. The colors are so beautiful. I know the four of you really had a good time together. Have a great week.

nanny said...

Beautiful pictures and awesome elk!!! You sure do see some great parts of the country!!!!

Rose said...

I bet you guys did have a blast together! The trees sure are pretty in your photos...I think I am going to miss getting to come home in time for fall color...so I am going to enjoy seeing your photos.

Kay said...

Beautiful Fall photos Betsy. Isn't it fun to go on trips with friends? I remember one of my most favorite trips was when our friends Karren & Wally went with us to Northern California. We'd been there several times, but they had never been there. It was so much fun sharing our favorites places with them.

Jen said...

Wow is right= what an awesome view you had from your hotel!
Of course Rob loves the elk. Their bugle is really cool. Rob videoed one for me on his recent trip to WY, but of course I'm sure it's not like being there and hearing it.
So Neal is really really really tall or we are all munchkins. ;) Glad you had a good time.

Colleen said...

Awesome & beautiful. How wonderful to meet good friends & see Mother Nature at her best. The Elk is so majestic. Thank you for sharing. I'm off to visit George's blog for more pictures.

Pat Tillett said...

Beautiful photos Betsy!
It looks like you had a great trip...

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

Welcome home Betsy! What fantastic sights you've shown us! The trees autumn colors rival any in New England this year (the weather has made for somewhat less than usual color thsi year).

It must have been fun to meet blog friendds and explore the area together.

The Retired One said...

How GORGEOUS is THAT??? Love your new header from this breathtaking trip...and that Elk is awesome...you must have felt like we do everytime we see a moose up here..keep those stunning fall pictures coming, Betsy, I can never get enough autumn pictures to look at!!

Daisy said...

Looks like you had a great trip, Betsy! Love all those reds in the trees full of Autumn color. How fun that you got to meet up with blogging friends too! :)

Life is good! said...

amazing photos! you photographed my favorite time of year wonderfully! thanks for sharing!

Loren said...

Came to meet you from Mildred's! You have a wonderful blog and I look forward to knowing you more!!

SquirrelQueen said...

How wonderful that you and George got to meet blog friends, it sounds like a fantastic week.

The autumn colors are gorgeous Betsy and it looks like the weather was perfect. Our tress were just beginning to turn when the wind and rain arrived this weekend. Hopefully we will still have some leaves after the rains pass.

Thoughtfully blended hearts said...

Stunning photos Betsy!!!

Ruthi said...

I am so jealous of your photos especially the valleys at the peak of foliage. i don't get the time and the chance to do that due to my hectic schedule. but i am glad that you share these.

Lynn said...

Betsy, Don't know if you even see comments way after the fact, but just had to tell you how beautiful these pictures are of the Foliage! They should be in a magazine. We were in Colorado back in 2006 and saw Elk and heard them bugle. So I know the thrill of that. Loved your Elk story too. Laughing here so hard. You are born story teller too! If you do see these comments can you help me find your trip posts. That is why I am here, have been lurking around enjoying your blog. I really need to wait until Friday because we have appts again tomorrow and I need to do some laundry and stuff tonight....but ah I do love awesome photography, NC and MTS. I am hooked and don't want to leave! Big hugs.
Lynn