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

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.