Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to MAY!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful IRISES from our yard. Meet "Goodnight Kiss"

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Sick Sick Sick

Many of you have been asking and wondering where I've been... WELL---I've been sick.... I won't go into any of the nitty gritty details ---but it's an intestional thing ---and I've been pretty miserable....

Please remember me in your prayers and thoughts---and hopefully,  I'll be back to blogging,  emailing,  Facebook,  calls,  etc.  SOON...  Please give me some time ---and I WILL be back...


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

More from the Smokies 10/11

Hope you saw my photos from our latest trip to the Smokies... If you missed it,  scroll down to the labels on my sidebar and click on Fall 2011.  We went to the Smokies on Friday,  Oct. 14,  and the colors were marvelous once you got up to the mid and upper levels of the mountains...  There are just some times in our lives when we go some place at the correct time... WELL---that was it for us that day.... The colors truly would just take one's breath away.

Here are more pictures taken that day from the Smokies... Above is another photo showing the sun as it pops through the clouds on that early morning.... I love seeing the rays as they shine down in the valley and mountains...  The largest mountain in the photo is Mt. LeConte... The picture was taken from the bypass around Gatlinburg. You can see a little bit of Gatlinburg below in the photo.   (Click for larger photos.)

This is another shot of the beautiful waters found in the Smokies.... Actually,  George found this new little waterfall that day ---as he hiked down to the creek on the Chimneys Hiking Trail...  Isn't this a gorgeous little area?   They built a bridge across the creek here for the hikers...

This shows more of the gorgeous colors along the road that day..  They were truly breath-taking!!!!!

Here is George at one of the overlooks between Newfound Gap and Cherokee.   Except for the cold and HIGH winds,  we could have stayed there for hours --admiring this beauty.

This shows you what a gorgeous day we had...  Aren't the colors ---both up close and at a distance---just beautiful?

There is nothing like being in the mountains on on gorgeous day---especially in Fall when the trees are showing off their Fall colors!!!!

George took this picture of me ---with the sticking-up hair on a very windy day!!!!!  Can you tell how much I loved being there????  It was too windy to get the tripod out --but that would have been a wonderful background for our picture together.

Finally,  here's one more... All of our pictures were taken from different overlooks ---so this will give you another picture showing the beauty in the Smokies...

Hope you live somewhere where the colors are marvelous in Fall....  I read that our winter this year may be very wet and very MILD.   Obviously,  that thrills George since he hates snow...   I myself like snow (as I'm sure you know!!! ha)---so am still hoping for a little bit!!!!!   I 'figured' that the winter may be mild here since our mast crop (nuts) is quite small this year,  compared to recent years..  That is a 'sign' they say!!!!!!  Well---good comes out of bad you know... George perked up and said: "We'll be able to hike more in the winter this year and see more WATERFALLS".... ha ha

Have a wonderful day!!!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Grandview is GRAND (West Virginia)

One place we visited on our West VA trip in April of 2010 was to the southern end of the New River Gorge National River area.  That is when we saw Sandstone Falls (click HERE).   SO, because of that beauty, we knew we wanted to go back and see more of the New River Gorge area.

On our trip last month,  we did go back and visit two other areas of that scenic river...  Today I will feature my very favorite viewing area along that river...  This area is called Grandview ---and we were thrilled at the views we had there...  IF this particular area had a lodge or cabins,  I'd come back here in a heartbeat and stay for a week!!!!!  There are amazing trails to hike and they even built a huge platform at the very end where we could almost see 360 degrees!!!!  Yes---there were lots of steps to climb --but being up there made us feel like we were just a little closer to heaven. It was awesome.

I cannot tell you in words how beautiful this area is... There are miles and miles of pure forestland  and mountains---with very few towns in that entire area..  IF you enjoy being out in nature without all of the other life distractions,  you will love this place... Put it on your bucket list!!!!! I'm not sure I've ever been anywhere any prettier than Grandview.

The pictures are good---but this is just one place you have to experience in person to get the real effect...   The picture above shows how well-maintained the paths were to all of the different overlooks..  The morning started out cool--but it didn't take long for us to shed our jackets.

This is from one of the overlooks ---looking north at the river and surrounding areas.  See the rapids on the river below.  In some areas,  people enjoy kayaking and rafting on that river.

Railroading is still very important in West VA ---and we saw at least two, maybe three, trains traveling down there, paralleling the river.

This is George standing at one of the overlooks.   We were there on a very clear and beautiful day.

This photo shows our view while looking straight ahead.  I love how the river winds around the mountains with the railroad beside it.   That is just SO West Virginia.  (Can you imagine how gorgeous that area would be at the peak of the Fall colors????  WOW!)

And this is George standing at the end of one of the overlooks...  Now can you understand why we thought we were on the top of the world?  I don't know for sure --but think our elevation here was about 4500 feet.   I loved seeing these mountains --without cabins and homes and other distractions (even though I'd love to stay here)...  This is 'virgin' land ---and it is awesome.   I'm so glad that West Virginia has claimed this land for preservation.

We met a couple on one of the overlooks who had come back after a few years...  They had been to that exact overlook several years ago to drop his father's ashes over the edge.  The father had lived in West VA all of this life and worked for the railroad... His wish was that he be scattered somewhere over the New River Gorge area...  How awesome would that be!

This is looking south from one of our overlooks.  The views everywhere were great ---but looking into the sun didn't make for good pictures.  Here you can see more rapids below. You may wonder how they keep this area so pure... WELL---it's a national park and it's also so mountainous that there are almost NO roads going into the area, and very few people living around here for miles and miles...

Finally,   a blog post wouldn't be special unless I showed a picture of the two of us together at one of the overlooks... ha ha ha ......

I have more pictures to share from Grandview ----but in a word,  all I can add today is that it is marvelous!!!!!!

Hope you have a wonderful  day.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Horseshoe Falls, Colorado

I don't think I will ever finish doing blog posts from our June trip out west...   Counting this one,  I have done 25 different posts from that trip ---and there's still more to come!!!!!  What a fabulous trip that was... That is one trip we'll be talking about for years and years to come.

Today,  we're going back to the gorgeous Rocky Mountain National Park.  As I think I mentioned in a previous blog,  we entered the park on June 25th from the north entrance (north and west of Estes Park).  We first visited the Sheep Lake/Meadow area.  Then we stopped at the Alluvial Fan area to hike to Horseshoe Falls...  Our elevation here was 8.800 feet.  This waterfall, believe it or not,  is VERY high, probably about 1000 feet... BUT--from this area,  we could only see about 300 feet of it total...   Even that was awesome --especially for us waterfall lovers!

On July 15,  1982,   Lawn Lake Dam (14 miles north of the national park) broke.  This dam which flowed into Cascade Lake caused huge flooding in the park and also in the town of Estes Park nearby. Two hundred and twenty million gallons of water flowed south into that area.   Three people died ---and this flood caused over 31 million dollars of damage to Estes Park. 

After that flood,  Horseshoe Falls was buried under rocks and mud.  It is now a very steep waterfall,  cascading down the scars of the flood....  Here are some of our pictures from Horseshoe Falls.  The one above showed our view of the falls once we hiked to the little bridge crossing the falls...  As I said,  there is MUCH more of this waterfall above our vantage point.

Here is a very happy girl standing there admiring this waterfall from the bridge.

We hiked up to the steep part (I'll call it the crook)---if you look back at the first picture above.  We hiked up on the rocks to get some closer shots.   George took this one... Nice, huh?

George was as happy as I was --to be here. He wandered around all over those rocks taking pictures.... What JOY!!!!

This picture was taken from the bridge where we were standing... You can also see the bridge below (which is where the cars pass over the cascades).   Now--remember these three things:  car bridge,  hiking bridge,  and the crook... You'll see why soon!

This is another picture showing the mountain (which we went to later that day)...  You can also get a better view of the car bridge in this picture!!!!!

Here ----from way up on the mountain  (shown above) is a great long-distance photo George took of Horseshoe Falls.... I marked the things I wanted you to remember...  The crook is what I showed in picture 3.   The hiking bridge is where we were in picture 1,2, and 5.   AND ---you can see the road and the 'car bridge'....  Isn't this just awesome  to see a waterfall up close (or at least part of it) and then from far up on the mountain!!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed seeing our photos of  Horseshoe Falls in the Rocky Mountain National Park.  Have a glorious weekend and I'll see you on Monday.


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bearden High School Football Game

Last week,  I posted about our experience attending my grandson, Landon's band play at the football game on October 6.   If you missed that post,  click HERE.

Today,  I'll show you more of what was going on at that game ---besides the band... As you can imagine,  I'm a people -watcher... SO---both George and I (mostly George) captured a bunch of good pictures of the game.  Hope you enjoy this latest batch.

The picture above was obviously the beginning of the game when a big banner which says "Bearden Bulldogs" was brought out on the field... While the band played,  the football team ran through the banner...

Here is a picture of the game itself.   Unluckily for Bearden,  they lost the game...  But --everyone still seemed to have a great time.

This is the dance team.   They did many routines when the band played in the stands.

Here is one of the band's majorettes ---as she twirls using fire!!!!

Here are the cheerleaders cheering the entire time --behind the football team.  NOTE:  The fan cheering section was behind the cheerleaders ---and those young fans really had the spirit...

There was a little of everything offered at this game---including fireworks!!!!   (Note that George took most of these pictures...  I had a hard time getting good pictures since I'm shorter --and was sitting behind a BIG man!!!! ha ha )

BUT---this is the real reason we went to the game...  Landon is a very talented young man --and we are both so very proud of him...

Hope you enjoyed our photos after a great evening at the ballgame.  There's just something exciting about being at a high school football game.  We loved it!

Have a great day.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Oh those Gorgeous ELK

SO --this is my big surprise...  When we left Biltmore on Oct. 4,   we decided to drive to Cataloochie Valley to see the ELK.... (You know how much I loved that!!!!)  Since it was late afternoon,  we thought we'd see some ---and hopefully hear them BUGLE....  It is rutting season ---so we got lucky!!!!!!!   Not only did we see some elk --but we also heard them bugling...  That was SO awesome... Today,  I share some pictures with you from Cataloochie.  Be sure to enlarge them for larger shots.

This  looks like a fairly young one...  Looks like she is taking a nap!

Can you see the one on the right looking at me?????  Being at Cataloochie at sunset was neat... The sun was going down behind the mountains---causing shadows in some spots.

This male looks like he is getting ready to bugle!!!!!  I'm sure he's saying:  "I want me a woman... Anyone out there for me?????" ha..  I love the sun's rays in this photo.

The last time we were in Cataloochie (October of 2010),  we saw most all of the elk in one place.  This time,  they were spread out all over the valley..  This guy is looking at me also!!!!!!

All of the elk are tagged...  The people in charge keep track of them here in Cataloochie.   On the link I provide below,  they even have an update as to the ones who have died --and the new births this year.  Elk were brought into Cataloochie several years ago---and what a great home for them...

We saw quite a few males ---and they had some BIG racks!!!!!!

If you ever get to North Carolina this time of year,  check out the elk at Cataloochie.   BUT--either go early in the morning or late in the afternoon...   To read more about the elk in Cataloochie,  click HERE.    AND to see my photos from last year's trip to Cataloochie,  click HERE.  Besides this post,  there are six more posts.

This was the end of a marvelous trip ---both Biltmore and Cataloochie in the same day!!!!  Nothing but AWESOME!!!!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Antler Hill Village at Biltmore, NC

Today,  I'll show you more pictures from our visit to the Biltmore House and Gardens in Asheville,  NC on October 4.   If you have not ever been to Biltmore --you may not know that this is a HUGE estate... Not only can you visit that gorgeous home,  or all of the many gardens,  but there's also a winery, several nice restaurants,  a huge inn,  many shops for 'shop-til-you-drop' shopping,  and an entire area called the Antler Hill Village which includes a farm.   There is just ALOT to see there!!!  It's impossible to see everything in one day...

SO--on the day we were there,  we chose to visit the Antler Hill Village (or at least part of it).. On this day,  we visited the old barn (built about 1902),  the woodworker shop,  the smithy shop,  etc.   It turned out to be a GREAT day at Biltmore...

The picture above was taken BEFORE we got to Antler Hill Village.  We were still at the lagoon area.  George took this great Autumn photo of the French Broad River --which runs through the Biltmore grounds.  Isn't it pretty?????

AND---this is where George stood to take that previous picture.  They say that photographers will do most anything to get a good picture.  Ya think?????? ha

Now we are at the Antler Village.   This is a picture of what used to be the old barn on the working estate... As I said above,  this barn was built in 1902.  They showed an awesome video inside the barn about life for the family in the early 1900's   If you ever get to the Antler Village,  be sure and watch the video. 

Look at Farmer Adams on that wagon...  All he needs is a corncob pipe and a straw hat,  don't you think?????  OH---I guess he will need a horse to take him on his way!!!! ha ha

I liked this 'grass' horse...  Neat, huh?

Now---George switched  over to the tractor...  That is an old Ford tractor---and he thinks that his Dad's neighbor may have had an old one similar to that one once...

I am standing behind a sculpture of Cornelia Vanderbilt (the only daughter of Edith and George Vanderbilt) with her 'best friend'--Cedric, a 200 pound  St. Bernard dog.

We enjoyed our visit to the Antler Hill Village at Biltmore...  BUT---there's more to come about our experiences that day!!!!  Just wait until tomorrow to see what else we did on this day!!!!!

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall in the Smokies --2011

This past Friday,  George and I went to the Smokies to check out the Fall colors there.... WOW---is what we found!!!!!!  We left home VERY early ---to see some good sky/sun/fog pictures in addition to the gorgeous Fall colors... AND--we weren't disappointed AT ALL.

The day before had brought rain to our area... But --this day was supposed to clear up and be a gorgeous, clear day.   As you'll be able to see from the photos,  the day started out cloudy--but it didn't take that sun very long to pop through!!!!

Here are just a few of the photos we took on that beautiful day in the mountains of Tennessee and North Carolina.   Above was a great picture I captured along the bypass around Gatlinburg.   I think God was smiling down on us ---and that sun was saying "Good Morning, World!"    (That is fog glistening below the rays.)  Click on pictures to enlarge!

We stopped at an overlook as we headed up the mountain on Highway 441 (between Gatlinburg and Cherokee) and captured this photo of the fog below us in the shadows.

About halfway up the mountain (north of the Chimneys hiking area),  the colors got more and more vivid... Here is an example of some of the beauty we saw along the road on that ride up the mountain.

And since George and I love waterfalls/cascades/creeks,  we stopped along the way to check out this great Smoky Mountain creek.

When we got further up the mountain (on either side of Newfound Gap),   the colors just got more and more beautiful... I'm going to show you ONLY three of the many photos I took... Fall is always pretty---but this particular Fall day just seemed to be extra special!!!  I think we got there at the EXACT right time...

Oh the gorgeous Smoky Mountains!!!  We are so lucky to live close enough to enjoy them---all times of year, but especially in Autumn!

Finally,  here is one more for you today..   We are so blessed to live in such a magnificent world that God created for us...  I hope we all learn to take better care of it!!!!!

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of our photos from the Smokies.  I'll share more at another time because we managed to take a big bunch!!!! ha