Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to JUNE!!!! Enjoy a group of one of my favorite Day Lilies in our yard. Meet "INDIAN GIVER".

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cumberland Gap, TN

When George and I first went to Cumberland Gap last weekend, the first place we stopped was the Visitor Center. That is where we picked up lots of information about the area. Above is a picture taken at the Visitor Center. Below are more.

Here's one more picture from the Visitor Center. I love the little building and of course, the split-rail fence.

We drove to the historical section of Cumberland Gap, the downtown area. We didn't go in this store, but I would have enjoyed visiting the General Store I'm sure.

I loved seeing this beautiful old home... I'm not sure what it is used for now --but it looks like a special place!!!!! I'll ask my special friends NEAL and/or his sister ROSE if they know the history of this home. (Neal and Rose grew up in Cumberland Gap.)

Do you see the rocks sticking out at the top of this mountain---WAY up there???? That's where we were and where the last 3 posts were taken, the PINNACLE.

Another view of the Pinnacle ---taken from below the mountain at Cumberland Gap, TN; Cumberland Gap, known as the "Gateway to the West", now only has about 250 residents ---and is primarily a tourist town. They say that there is a fabulous restaurant there, named Webb's Country Kitchen. There are also craft shops plus an old-fashioned drug store with soda fountain. We ate at the state park --so didn't have lunch in the Gap, but the next time we go, maybe we will eat at Webb's.

Here's another picture of our migrating visitor, a Red-breasted Grosbeak. Yesterday's post showed a male Grosbeak, so today, I'll show you a female. I'm so glad they are back!!!!! I always look forward to seeing them.

Have a great Thursday.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Pinnacle Overlook at Sunset

We were staying at the Pine Mountain State Park Lodge (which is about 10 miles from the Pinnacle).. SO---we hurried through our dinner on Friday night at the lodge restaurant, and headed to the Pinnacle... We 'missed' seeing the sun --as it went down, but we did see a gorgeous sky. Above is a picture of the pink sky ---and the reflections coming from Fern Lake. Isn't that beautiful????? Below are more pictures.

I took this picture through the trees ---and liked it --when I put it on the computer.. It's almost like seeing a beautiful sunset --surrounded by a border!!!

Don't you enjoy seeing pictures at dusk???? From the overlook, we were obviously looking away from the sun ---toward Tennessee and Virginia. Beautiful, huh?

The sky just kept getting prettier and prettier, the darker it got.




Guess what???? The gate to the Overlook is supposed to be LOCKED at DARK... SO---we finally had to hustle back down that mountain and just hope that the rangers hadn't locked us IN.... I wasn't prepared to sleep in the car overnight... ha ha (Luckily, the gate was still OPEN.)

Hope you enjoyed seeing our pictures from the Pinnacle Overlook. What a fabulous place ---and even though I enjoyed being there in the morning, my favorite time was at sunset... IF we go back sometime. I want to be up there and actually watch the sun go down!!!!! WOW!!!

We have had visitors to our feeders this week... I love it when the Red-breasted Grosbeaks visit us on their way south for winter. They stop by here in the spring on their way north, and again in the fall, headed south. They are always welcome here... The males have lost much of their brilliant colors when they stop by in the Fall. But--aren't they just such pretty little birds, no matter how much color they have lost????

Have a wonderful Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Pinnacle Overlook--Part II

If you did not see yesterday's post talking about the Pinnacle Overlook in Cumberland Gap, TN, click HERE. Today I am sharing another set of pictures from the Pinnacle. This sign above is not very good due to the shadows and angle, but I wanted you to see where the three states (TN, KY, VA) meet--on the mountain.

From where I stood to take this picture near the Pinnacle, we were in the state of Virginia... Amazing how we can put one foot in one state and another foot in another state!!!!! ha

Here is a picture of Fern Lake... Above the lake, to the left, somewhere on that mountain is where the three states meet. I'll bet they really struggled finding the boundaries, don't you????

This Ole' Virginia Gal was happy to be here. Since I was raised about 50 miles to the east of here in Big Stone Gap, VA, this almost felt like home. I had visited Cumberland Gap when I was a child, but really don't remember much about the area. I do know that I had a childhood friend who moved to Middlesboro, KY --and I lost track of her. Maybe if I mention her name (NITA CARNES), she will see this blog post and contact me... ha ha

George took this photo from the Pinnacle, of one of the buildings on the campus of Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, TN. This was quite a distance from where we were.

We didn't see much color while we were here, but I did notice some Fall color while we were at the Pinnacle. Pretty, isn't it? I can't wait until we have more color in our area.

I am fascinated by rocks/boulders ---and there were some beauties while we were at the Pinnacle. Do you want to stand under this 'leaning' rock????? ha ha

I love to look at big rocks and find shapes... What do you see in this one???? One thing which jumps out at me is the open mouth of an alligator... Can you see the top part of his open mouth sticking up????? ha ha

Tomorrow I will have one more set of photos from the Pinnacle, and they are my favorite ones since we went back up there at sunset.... SO--tune back in tomorrow for more!!!!!

Look what we had at our home last night. This is our first fire of the Fall season.. Yesterday was chilly and wet (although we got very very little rain)---so it was a perfect time to take the chill out of the house. YEAH---Fall is HERE.

Hope you have a great Tuesday.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Pinnacle Overlook, Cumberland Gap, TN

George and I took a 3-day trip north of Crossville into the southern Kentucky mountains--to do some hiking, visit some historical sites and see some waterfalls. The first couple of days were spent in and around Cumberland Gap, TN. Cumberland Gap is located where three states come together (KY, TN and VA).

For those of you who have studied history, you will recall that the Wilderness Road through Cumberland Gap was the primary way to the West. Mid-18th century explorers found their way through at Cumberland Gap. Their discovery opened the Ohio Valley to the first great wave of westward migration.

The route through the gap was first brought to attention by Dr. Thomas Walker, who had been hired to stake out an 800,000 acre grant beyond the Blue Ridge. In 1775, Daniel Boone was commissioned to blaze a road through the gap. Boone's trace evolved into the Wilderness Road, establishing his place in history as a frontiersman and pathfinder.

George and I did experience a bit of history while walking along the Wilderness Road --and I will talk more about that in another blog. First, we will share three sets of pictures of the area taken from the Pinnacle, an overlook above Cumberland Gap. The winding four-mile-long road up the mountain takes us to within a few hundred feet of the overlook, at an elevation of 2440 feet. We went up to the Pinnacle twice --one time at sunset and another time in the morning.

Here are the first of the three sets of pictures from the overlook. Above is a picture showing you where Cumberland Gap is located. You can see all three states (KY, TN, VA) from the Pinnacle Overlook. Below are more pictures.

This is a sign --showing more information about the Pinnacle.

From the overlook, this is looking west toward Kentucky. That is Middlesboro, KY in the distance.

Also taken from the overlook, the town of Cumberland Gap is directly below us at the bottom of the mountain. Virginia is to the east and Tennessee is to the south (top right of photo). (In another upcoming post, I will show you the reverse: photos of the Pinnacle taken from the town of Cumberland Gap.)

We were facing south at the overlook --and this picture is looking into the sun (picture was taken in the morning) ---toward the state of VA. I was born and raised about 50 miles east of here in Big Stone Gap, VA.

This picture was also taken from the overlook --and is looking south toward Tennessee. Can you see the double highway in the lower left corner???? That highway goes into a tunnel which was completed THROUGH that mountain in 1996.

Here's the mountain that people had to cross at one time in order to get through the 'gap'. A lady at the overlook was talking about remembering how trucks would burn their brakes out coming off of that mountain. It was a wicked ride over that mountain before the tunnel was completed. Can you imagine the time and effort which it took to dig that tunnel through that huge mountain?????

Here's a picture of George at the Pinnacle Overlook. We had a gorgeous, sunny day in Cumberland Gap. I have two more sets to share with you from the Pinnacle. All in all, we had a fabulous time!!!!

I will begin trying to catch up with your blog posts sometime this week. Be patient with me please!!!!!! Hope you have had a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Flowers and Fauna in Cades Cove, TN

Many people go to Cades Cove JUST to see the wildlife... Wild turkeys are common in the Cove and many visitors are lucky enough to see them, like us!!!! Other wildlife which can be seen at times are: skunks, squirrels, rabbits, chipmunks, copperheads, timber rattlesnakes, woodchucks, river otters, coyotes, and less frequently-- gray foxes, red foxes, raccoons, or bobcats.

Besides deer, people come to Cades Cove to see the black bears. Since we didn't see any on this trip, I don't have any pictures today... BUT--- we have seen them in the Cove.. IF you drive the Loop Road very early in the morning or late afternoon (dusk), you will definitely see more deer and bears. We just happened to be there in the middle of the day this time.

There are many birds in the park and the Cove as you can imagine. Obviously, the Woodpeckers have enjoyed this tree!!!!

Before the park service took over the Cove, there weren't many deer left in the Cove. But--after hunting was banned, the population grew and grew. If you go to Cades Cove and drive around the loop road, you will probably see some deer most anytime of the day. A virus killed almost 80% of the deer population in the 1970's , but the deer population came back quickly. This one had his eye on ME!!!! ha

Like every mountainous area, there are also predators. Red wolves were introduced into the Cove in the 1990's--but they didn't do well. They were later located somewhere else. The black bears kill fawns and even adult deer, IF they can catch them.

Then there are the wild hogs/boar. You can see from the pictures above and below --that they are trying to capture some of the wild boar and get them out of the park. These predators came to America from Europe to a game preserve in Graham County, NC --which is south of the park, in 1912. They found their way into the park about 1950. They have expanded their territory to nearly every section of the park.

This is the trap used to capture the Wild Hogs. They root up large areas in search of food, and they damage small high-country streams by wallowing in them. They compete with native animals for sometimes-scarce food. Because of these destructive habits and because the hogs are non-native, the Park Service has been trying to hold their numbers as low as possible. Their damage has been lessened in recent years.

Wildflower lovers love to come to Cades Cove. They say that exotic plants in the Cove outnumber exotic animals. I didn't take time to look for many wildflowers during this trip---but did take pictures of a few along the way... I like this picture because of all of the bees and bugs enjoying it also!!!

Isn't this a pretty white flower? I'm sure that some of my blog friends know what this is --so if you do, please let us know!!!! Thanks!

Finally, here is a butterfly I captured a picture of. I had to ask my butterfly-expert friends to tell me what this one is... First, we thought it was a Silvery Checkerspot --but then realized (since this is a SMALL one) that it is a Pearl Crescent... Isn't it pretty?????

Hope you enjoyed seeing the "Flowers and Fauna" in Cades Cove... The neat thing about Cades Cove is that everytime we visit there, we see different things!!!!! SO--I'm sure we will go back --and take pictures of many more beautiful things in the Smokies.. What a fabulous place!!

We found our favorite EATING apple in the produce market today.... I have talked about it before --but if you like crunchy, tart --yet sweet apples, try a HONEY CRISP.. They are delicious!!!!!

Hope you have a great remainder of the week and weekend... I am taking a Blog Break beginning today... I'll blog again on Monday....


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Little Cabins in Cades Cove, TN

I have included the map of the Cades Cove Loop Road again in this post -so that you can see where the cabins are that I have chosen to share in today's blog. If you have not read any of the history of Cades Cove (which is in the Smoky Mountains), please click HERE. You can read some great information on that site.

This is the Dan Lawson Place (No. 14 on the map). Dan Lawson built this house in 1856, on land bought from his father-in-law, Peter Cable, whose home stood to the west, across the stream. The brick chimney, unusual for the time and locale, was built of bricks, made on the site.

This is the Carter Shields Cabin (No. 16 on the map). A wound suffered in the Battle of Shiloh left George Washington "Carter" Shields crippled for life. Shortly after the war, he married and moved to Kansas. He returned to Cades Cove in 1906 and bought this property in 1910. One would think that an old soldier could find contentment in such a lovely nook. But Shields lived here only 11 years before leaving again.

I love seeing Split Rail Fences --and the Smokies have alot of them... The Pioneers marked their property by using these fences. This particular fence was at the Carter Shields Cabin.

This is one of the most popular tourist places in Cades Cove --since this property contains a Grist Mill. I will have an entire post on this property. The house above is called the Gregg-Cable House (No. 11 on the map). Lawson Gregg bought an acre of land from John P. Cable in 1879, and built a small house on it with lumber sawed at Cable's mill. He later enlarged the house from time to time. He and his family lived in it, and operated a store on the first floor. This house is believed to be the first all-frame house in the Cove.

Here is the inside of the Gregg-Cable House. Looks like at one time, they had a fireplace --and then replaced it with a stove.

In 1887, Rebecca Cable and her brother Dan bought the house and an acre their father had sold to Gregg eight years earlier. They operated the store for about 8 more years, and then turned the house into a boarding house.

Rebecca Cable was a strong woman, and she operated the home and took care of her sick brother's children. She took care of the farm and cattle-raising chores and lived a long and successful life. She owned more than 600 acres of land. She died at the age of 96 in 1940. After her death, the house was moved from its original site on the Forge Creek Road to this location... (WOW---I like that woman!!)

I showed you this cabin in another post --but wanted to show you the cabin again. This is the John Oliver Cabin (No. 2 on the map). IF you haven't seen my other post talking about this cabin, click HERE.

Here's another Split Rail Fence... Do you really think that I like these fences???? I love them!!!! This fence is found at the Gregg-Cable House.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of the little cabins at Cades Cove. My favorite is STILL the John Oliver Cabin since it is secluded at the bottom of the mountain....

Have a wonderful Wednesday. We're just doing what we can to stay COOL here.