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My JOYFUL REFLECTIONS header picture is a picture taken on 10/20/16 on our visit to the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville, North Carolina. I had never seen so many different colors of Poinsettias before... These HOT Pink ones were gorgeous.
Showing posts with label HIKING. Show all posts
Showing posts with label HIKING. Show all posts

Monday, November 7, 2016

Natural Bridge State Park, Kentucky 10/24/16

Four fantastic friends together:  Neal, Patti,  Betsy,  George
As we have done for several years in October,  George and I meet our good friends,  Neal and Patti,  from Indiana for a few days of hiking,  and enjoying each other's company.  This year  (October 24-27), we went to Kentucky.

We stayed at a gorgeous lodge (with awesome food in their lodge restaurant) at Natural Bridge State Park,  near Slade,  Kentucky (east of Lexington).  What an awesome state park.... George and I had never been there before,  so we were amazed to see such beauty not that far north of where we live... We highly recommend this state park IF you are ever in Kentucky.  A link for more info is HERE.

The only thing which disappointed us this year was not seeing much Autumn COLOR at all.. The ranger said that it was because that area had also been dry (like we are here in TN).    BUT---this disappointment didn't stop the four of us from having a marvelous week together...

Patti  had done all of the research for the trip ---and that made it possible to see much more than we might have seen IF we had gone without having the plans already made...  Thanks to Patti!!!!!

TODAY---I'll show you only one day of our 3 days together... This was our first day (10/24) when we saw quite a bit of the Natural Bridge park/area.... Even though we did quite a bit of hiking each day--we could have stayed for many more days in Kentucky.

Hope you enjoy our 'day' in pictures.  You can click on the pictures for enlargements...



We first rode the SKYLIFT up to the top of the mountain.  That is Neal and Patti --who were behind us.



We then hiked to see the Natural Bridge.  George took this picture of Neal and Patti on top of the bidge.  See that overlook in the distance?  That is Lookout Point (which we later hiked to see the bridge from that side of the gorge).  



The hike from the top of the bridge to the bottom was a NARROW one through the rocks... You'll understand when you see the next picture below!!!! ha



HA HA ----Glad I had lost some weight --or I wouldn't have been able to get through this area.... ha ha



We made it down that narrow trail to the bottom of Natural Bridge...  WOW--how gorgeous is this!!!  George was smiling for sure....



We took the Battleship Rock Trail ---and hiked below an enormous rock formation in the shape of a SHIP.  (I'll show another picture of the ship from another overlook.)  The rock formations (everywhere we hiked on that day) were awesome.  I loved the colors and designs in this one.



The one thing about hiking DOWN is the fact that we have to go back UP----way way up ... Pant Pant!!!!  This is called the Devil's Gulch Area.



Beautiful area --but a LONG way up all of those steps to the top



As we climbed those steps at Devil's Gulch --we admired all of the gorgeous rock formations all around us.  Pictures don't do that area justice.  You just have to be there!!!



I just had to post one more picture from the steps at Devil's Gulch --so that you could see some of these HUGE rock formations. 


After getting back up those steps,  we hiked on the Laurel Ridge Trail.  We walked back past Natural Bridge and on to some gorgeous overlooks.   WOW---what a beautiful area and great views.  Love this huge rock!!! 





  From that same area,  we could see the HUGE SHIP where we had hiked beside earlier (on the lower trail)  .. I can see now why they call it a ship. Amazing ---and so enormous!



A Great View from that same area from Lover's Leap  (Don't leap, Honey!!!!!! ha ha )



We kept hiking and got to Lookout Point... This is where we could look back at Natural Bridge (where we had walked across the top --and also down to the bottom)... What a beautiful natural bridge for sure!!!



We took the Rock Garden Trail (and the Low Gap Trail) back down the mountain to our car.  This was a pretty trail since we did see some gorgeous Autumn colors in this area.  



We crossed under the SKYLIFT while hiking back down the mountain...  After all of the hiking we had done,  I was wishing at that time that we had taken the skylift back down the mountain also... ha ha 



BUT--if we had taken the skylift back down the mountain,  we would have missed some of these marvelous designs on the rocks/boulders along that trail...  Love seeing the pattern of CIRCLES!!!



After a wonderful afternoon,  we came back to our lodge (Hemlock Lodge),  had a wonderful dinner at the lodge restaurant ---and then a restful evening!!!!!   
So---that was our FIRST day--and it was AWESOME....Hope you enjoyed seeing more from Natural Bridge State Park in Slade, Kentucky.....  AND--stay tuned for more from that wonderful trip.

Hope you are having a great November so far.  We still need RAIN (and have gotten none).  We are in an "exceptional" drought now --which is worse than "extreme" drought... SCARY....

Hugs,

Monday, April 18, 2016

Short Vacation to the Smokies (April 6--8, 2016)

Cades Cove ---a "not-to-miss" area in the Smokies!
George and I enjoy spending a few fun-filled days in our Smoky Mountains (which are only about 2 hours from where we live).  BUT--we like to go there during the 'off-seasons' when the traffic is not horrible and when there are not many people.  HOWEVER,  we blew it this year --by going the first week of April... There were TONS of people around (due to Spring Breaks in various states/areas I guess)---and it felt almost like it feels when one goes there during the summer!!!!

BUT--we didn't let that stop us from having a great time... We spent two nights at one of our favorite old Gatlinburg motels (Rocky Waters).   We enjoyed a couple of fantastic dinners while there (one at the Ole Mill in Pigeon Forge and one at the Applewood Farmhouse in Sevierville).... 

We hiked (DID WE EVER HIKE!!!!) for two days.  One was our visit to Cades Cove including the hike to Abrams Falls..  We finished that day with about 7.5 miles on our FITBITS.  Then the next day,  we drove to Cosby and hiked to Hen Wallow Falls.  That day we completed over 6.3 miles...   (Talk about being TIRED once we got home!!!! ha)

On our last day,  we spent the morning at one of our favorite RELAXATION spots in the Smokies,  Greenbriar.  George enjoyed taking his fabulous water shots --and I enjoyed sitting on a big rock enjoying nature all around me.

One last thing we did before heading home was stopping in Sevier County to see the Harrisburg Covered Bridge.  We were on the back roads between Cosby and Sevierville (trying to avoid the traffic) ---so we just HAD to stop and see this historic bridge.

Today I'll share some pictures of this wonderful trip...  Sometimes,  it is just FUN to get-away ---even for a few days!!!  Hope you enjoy this set... The picture at the top is at gorgeous CADES COVE in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.. IF you look closely, you can see deer grazing in the field.


Another picture at Cades Cove;  If/when you visit here,  take an entire day to stop all along the way, and visit all of the wonderful history about the people many years ago who lived in this valley.



Here's one more old cabin in Cades Cove.



The hike to Abrams is pretty--although quite long if you are not used to longer hikes. 



George got "up close and personal" with Abrams Falls.  See him there?



Here is one of George's FANTASTIC waterfall pictures.  This is Abrams Falls in Cades Cove,  Great Smoky Mountain National Park (4-6-16).



Here is a picture of us at Abrams Falls. 



The next day (4-7-16),  we hiked to Hen Wallow Falls.  The trail was pretty along creeks and rhododendrons, but the elevation change is wicked.  I got more 'floors' (stairs/hills) on my FITBIT than I have ever gotten (142) on a single day, since we got our devices in May last year.  The good news was that it was downhill most of the way back!!!!! ha



Again,  I captured George climbing all over the big boulders to get a good picture of Hen Wallow Falls.



This is one of the awesome pictures George captured on 4/7/16  of Hen Wallow Falls, near Cosby,  in the Great Smoky Mountain National Park.



Here's a picture of George and me at Hen Wallow Falls.  There was another family nearby who sorta took over the area --so we didn't have a good place for our pictures... BUT--we had some lunch there and enjoyed ourselves anyhow.



The last day (4/8/16),  we visited Greenbriar in the Smokies.  George turned around when I hollered at him.  He was busy taking more and more pictures of that glorious water in that area.



Here's one of George's terrific pictures from Greenbriar (4/8/16).   We LOVE being there.  My kids used to swim in this area. 



Of course,  we just had to take our picture together in Greenbriar.   After those long hikes on the previous two days,  it felt good just RELAXING and enjoying nature.



The Historic Harrisburg Covered Bridge,  Sevier County, TN
After leaving Greenbriar,  we stopped to see this beautiful covered bridge (which they still use).  This bridge was originally built in 1875...   Amazing!!!!





Here's one more picture of this well-kept Covered Bridge.  It's not far from the hustle and bustle of Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg.  SO---if you are ever in that area,  do not miss this beauty!!!!

Well---that was our little trip in a nutshell!!!!  We accomplished everything we had intended to do:  lots of hiking,  seeing waterfalls,  good food and just relaxing and enjoying one another...

Have a wonderful week.  Can you believe that it's almost MAY?  And --we are headed out soon for another short trip!!!!

Hugs,

Monday, August 3, 2015

Pictures from our Nightly Walks along the Golf Course Cart Path

Thanks to my son and his wife's encouragement and information,  George and I bought FITBITS the middle of May --and have been working hard at our exercise and overall health since then.  We've always tried to be 'fairly' active --but not on a consistent basis.  NOW---we both try to get over 10,000 steps each day six days a week (taking one day off--usually Saturdays).

We now follow a fairly regular routine ---walking about 30 minutes each morning,  then working in the yard or in the house during the afternoons,  and then taking a 2.5 mile walk each evening just before dark.  In fact,  it is usually dark by the time we get back home,  but we take our little headlights with us for the last part of the walk if needed. 

Because we live on a Golf course (NO--we do not play golf---ha),   we have a perfect place to walk AFTER the golfers finish for the day.  We walk the back nine holes along the cart path --and it is a gorgeous place to walk.  It is very hilly---but even our morning walks are up and down steep hills.  We live in the mountains --so there's not many 'flat' places around!

One thing we love to do is to take pictures along the way when we walk.  We've taken a bunch since we began about 2.5 months ago ---so tonight I will share some of them with you.  Hope you enjoy our walks as much as we do!   Don't you love the sky in the picture above,  with the reflection in the water?


This blue line shows you the path that we follow along the golf course.  Where you see the words,  "recorded track"--that is our home,  where we begin.  Sometimes we walk to the right and around and sometimes,  to the left....  The area looks flat,  but believe me --it is NOT... ha



This is a beautifully landscaped golf course!



Sometimes we stop and pick some wild blackberries to put on our breakfast yogurt/cereal.



This PINK cloud reminded me of my two great friends,  Susan and Reida.  Both of them are gone from this world now --but they told me that they'd be watching from a pink cloud.  Oh how I miss them both, but I smiled when we saw this cloud knowing that they were up there watching down.



This little area is called Sneads Canyon --and a little creek flows through this area --especially after a big rain!



We see gorgeous sunsets ---and every night is DIFFERENT.



This was taken one of the FEW times we got up at the crack of dawn and walked in the morning.. It is pretty that time of day also --but since we stay up late at nights,  we prefer walking in the evening. 



We have watched two little fawns grow QUICKLY the past couple of months.  I love the deer --as long as they don't feast on our flowers!!! ha



We even walk in the rain and FOG ---as long as it is not storming!!!



Another beautiful sunset picture



Sunbeams behind the clouds;  I love skies like this!



Then on July 30,  we had the gorgeous "NOT-BLUE" but Beautiful FULL MOON to follow us all along our path.... How awesome is that!!!!!



This is how dark is was that night (July 30)--as we made our way home.  See the moon glistening in the water????   Made me think of the song: "By the Light of the Silvery Moon"!!!!!




Then on Friday,  August 1st,  we enjoyed that full moon for one more night... Sorry the picture (with my iPhone) is a little grainy/noisy ---but I wanted you to see how beautiful it was that evening.
Hope you enjoyed seeing some of the things we see when we walk each night.  As I said,  we are both working hard on staying healthy.  I am maintaining my weight (since I don't need to lose much more) ---but I am 'firming' up some of this crazy old-lady-flab.... ha... George wanted to lose some weight --and he has lost over 25 pounds just by eating healthier and exercising... Thanks be to God.

Hope you are all well and staying healthy also!

Hugs,