Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month is a beautiful CROCUS in our Yard. When the Crocus and Daffodils bloom --that means that SPRING 'may' be on the way!!!

Friday, November 30, 2012

Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina

Mile High Swinging Bridge --as seen from the Blue Ridge Parkway
Have your heard of the MILE HIGH SWINGING BRIDGE at Grandfather Mountain in North Carolina?   It is called a "Mile High" Bridge since it is 5280 feet above sea level.  Both George and I had been here in past years, but never together.  SO--this was our first trip here since meeting one another...

We picked a beautiful, clear day ---but I must admit that it was an extremely cold and WINDY day when we were there.  The temperature was in the low 30's ---but the wind made it feel much much colder.  In fact,  that is the coldest that I think I've been in a long, long time.  We only had on our rain jackets ---and even with my hands in my pocket,  they actually BURNED when I was out there...  We loved it--but want to go back in better conditions!!!!!

There's so much to do there (Nature Museum, Gift Shop and Restaurant,  FUDGE Shop (which I didn't even attempt to go into ),  Animal Hibitats,  Overlooks, and lots of Hiking Trails).... If you ever get a chance, visit Grandfather Mountain!!!!

Today,  I'll only share photos of the BRIDGE ---and will share more from other areas in another blog post.  Hope you enjoy the photos.  Be sure to click on them for enlargements.  Above is a picture we took of the Swinging Bridge from down on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 




Here is a picture of the swinging bridge from the parking lot.  This bridge spans an 80 foot chasm at more than one mile in elevation.  The bridge was originally built in 1952--but renovated in 1999.  The first time I went across that bridge,  it was more like an old-fashioned swinging bridge...  Now--it's much more stable --and doesn't really 'swing'....  But--the neat thing is that the bridge should be called a SINGING Bridge since, when the wind blows,  the bridge 'sings' in the same way as a harmonica.  We loved hearing it SING when we were there.




Here's one of the marvelous views from up there on that bridge.  There are fabulous views from EVERY direction!!!!




Here  it is.... We are THERE....  To walk across or not to walk across?????  That is the question!!!!!!  Will the wind blow me off??????  SCARY!!!!  BUT---you know us!!!!  We HAD to walk across it --even if the wind was blowing at 50+ mph......  Dang---it was some kind of cold though!!!!!




Another view from up there!!! You can see some left-over snow on the sides, and one of the lakes below.




Does this girl look cold???????  I'm here to tell you that I WAS!!!!!  Rain jackets are nice ---but not for this weather.... But---we will go back sometime!!!!




Just to prove to you that I DID walk across that bridge,  George took my photo...  You can't tell in the pictures that the wind was whirling all around --and it truly was COLD....

OH---did I mention that it was COLD that day????? ha ha ha




Here's one final picture of some of the views from that bridge... Aren't they marvelous????  For more information on Grandfather Mountain and the MILE HIGH SWINGING BRIDGE,  click HERE.

Have a fabulous weekend ---and welcome to DECEMBER tomorrow!!!!  (Can you believe it?????)  You had better not be naughty this month!!!!  Santa is watching!!!!  I will see you on Monday.

Hugs,
Betsy

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

OLD FALLS RIVER ROAD, Colorado

This is part II of our wonderful trip up the  unpaved mountain road (Old Falls River Road) in the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK in Colorado, on September 17, 2012.   If you missed Monday's post,  go to the bottom of this blog post and click on 'older posts'...

Monday's post talked about some of the things we saw along that road ---as we drove higher and higher up into the mountains...  I ended that post showing you one picture of some snow on the tops of the mountains.  Luckily,  there hadn't been much snow that night before --so all of the roads were opened that day!  However,  we had shorts on ---and I'll admit that it go colder and colder the higher we went up into those mountains!!!!

The picture above shows us standing on a big rock --with the beautiful Fall Aspens blooming behind us!   George set up the tripod for some photos of us since there weren't many people around that day at all (which we loved).




As we got higher,  we could finally see the  Alpine Visitor Center at almost 12,000 feet UP.  See it up there?




This is what our Garmin GPS said when we were getting UP THERE.  See that elevation????




Here's another picture of the SNOW and our road,  as we got higher!!!!!




George caught me taking a picture of the treeless area --when we got up above the 'tree-line'..  Interesting that there was snow in some areas ---and none in other areas!




BUT---it was very cold UP there on the top!!!!!!  Can you tell?  (The wind was one thing which made it feel so cold.... BUT---I will say this:  It wasn't nearly as cold as it felt the day we went up on Grandfather Mountain, North Carolina,  on Nov. 8, 2012!!!)




I love this picture of George  'on top of the world'.....  Don't you love seeing us with shorts on ---with SNOW behind us????? ha ha




Here's a happy girl admiring the little bit of snow around her!!!!! ha




Here's what the road looked like --looking BACK down the mountain, where we just came from!!!




FINALLY we made it to the top!!!!!!!  It was a GREAT trip ---and I'd do it again and again... IF you ever get to the Rocky Mountain National Park,  be sure to go on the Old Falls River Road.  You will love it!!!!!


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Bay Lee and Brooke at Fall Creek Falls
Here's another photo from our family Thanksgiving week.  This is two of my 5 grandchildren.  The one in white is in college and the other one is is high school... Hard to believe how they have grown up so fast!  They are both such gorgeous and smart young women --and I'm a VERY proud Grammy!

Have a great Wednesday.

Hugs,
Betsy

Monday, November 26, 2012

Old Falls River Road, Rocky Mtn. National Park

On the morning of September 17, 2012,  we headed back from our motel in Fort Collins to the ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK.  We had tried to go up the unpaved Old Falls River Road when we were there in 2011,  but it was closed last year due to snow.  This year,  we had had a little snow the night before we drove up that road ---so we were afraid that the road might be closed again... BUT--luckily for us,  it was open!!!!

This is OUR type of road,  a non-paved road up the mountain with many pull-offs along the way to enjoy the surrounding area.  We don't like crowds --and we love 'back roads'... This was OUR type of road.  For that reason,  I will have TWO posts showing you the area.

Hope you enjoy our photos.  Be sure to click on them for enlargements.   IF you have missed other posts from our latest trip out west,  go to my sidebar and scroll down to Favorite Sites and click on West Trip 2012...

The picture above shows you what the OLD FALLS RIVER ROAD looks like...  More pictures are below.




BEFORE we got to the the Rocky Mountain National Park,  we were driving along one of the beautiful Colorado scenic roads... GUESS what we saw that morning???? Some BIGHORN SHEEP !!!!!!




Of course, we stopped and both of us took alot of pictures of them..  The neatest thing to me was seeing them climb those STEEP rocks/cliffs.... AMAZING!!!!  (It was steeper than it looks!)




Once we got on the Old Falls River Road,  one of the first things we stopped to see was of course a WATERFALL.   "Chasm Falls" is another one of our NEW waterfalls on this trip.  However,  the main trail to the falls is being renovated --so George did ALOT of bushwhacking in order to get pictures of several of the drops of that beautiful waterfall.  Above is only one of several he saw..  I think he called this one  "Lower Chasm Falls".




The views going up the mountains were awesome...  The weather had started out cloudy (since they had had some rain/snow the night before)---but it gradually cleared up so that we could enjoy a fabulous day!




One can get an 'up close and personal' view of the ROCKIES from the Old Falls River Road.  I love seeing those peaks!



We actually took a short hike in this area---enjoying the beautiful Lodgepole Pines and a small creek,  complete with some  cascades... It was so pretty.




George is on the trail where we took a hike.  It was such a beautiful area --even though it was getting cooler and cooler---the higher we got up that mountain!!!!




Look at this pretty MOSS.  Everything looked so green and lush up here.




Higher and higher we go!!!!!!   WOW---look at that!!!  Betsy sees some SNOW on the mountain!!!! WOW!!!  Isn't it pretty behind those beautiful blooming ASPENS????

MORE to COME!!!!!  Hope you are enjoying seeing photos from this marvelous trip!!!!

I also hope that each of you had a fabulous THANKSGIVING.  We ALL do have much to be thankful for... Beauty is all around us!!!!!  Thanks be to God.



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A Happy Mom on Thanksgiving --with son Mark and family at Fall Creek Falls

We had a nice Thanksgiving this year --enjoying FAMILY, FOOD,  and FELLOWSHIP --plus being together with my Sweetheart,  and continuing our wonderful life together.

Hugs,
Betsy

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cantwell Cliffs, Ohio 10/16/12

We've had several trips this Fall  (our Yellowstone trip,  our Asheville trip,  and our Ohio trip)---and I am juggling the photos on my blog... Hope you don't get too mixed up!!!!!  Anyhow---today's blog is from our trip to Hocking Hills State Park near Logan, Ohio, which we took from October 15-18 with our friends Patti and NEAL.   (Be sure to check out Neal's blog.  They were on a trip to Glacier when we were at Yellowstone.  He has some amazing photos.

While at Hocking Hills,  we visited all of the different areas and did quite a bit of hiking.  The weather was perfect and the Ohio Fall colors were TREMENDOUS.  We had a great time together!

This post is at one of the areas we visited on 10/16,  called CANTWELL CLIFFS.  The trails at Cantwell were 'interesting'...  To say that we got lost is not totally correct.  However,  I think we walked to the moon and back before getting back out of that area!!!! ha.... BUT--we did see lots of pretty Fall Colors (as in the photo above) along the way... Be sure and click on the photos for enlargements.




The trail led us down some stairs!!!!!  (Glad I had lost some weight before going down there!!!!) ha ha




Here's a picture of some of the steps (there were many more), as we went down into that canyon.




I took this picture of George  (and Patti --who was tiny enough to easily get through these rocks) after I got down that rock trail...




Here is a picture of the big cliffs --after we got down into that canyon.




We hiked down into the 'bowl'....  The rock formations were SO neat!!!! (That is Neal on the right.)




Here is a 'waterless' waterfall...  But you can see where water does come down during the rainy season.




I like this picture of our TRAIL--as we hiked down into that canyon.




We hiked and hiked and hiked --once we got down in the canyon area.  The trail was supposed to be a loop trail --but somehow,  since it wasn't marked well,  we missed the loop.... At least,  while we were hiking,  we did get some great pictures of the trees above and around us.




Here's another beautiful photo of the Fall Colors that day.




AND---here's ONE more!!!!!  Did I say that the Ohio Colors were fabulous when we were there???




On the way back up that canyon,  Patti and Neal took off on one trail, and George and I went back another way....  I looked at that picture above and said:  "Yipes... We have to go up there through that???????"  ha ha .... We made it --but Neal said that THEY had chosen the better path!!!!!  Oh Well---we got lots of good exercise at Cantwell Cliffs.

Hope you have a wonderful week and THANKSGIVING.  We are taking a blog break and will be back next Monday,  Nov. 26...   God Bless each of you during this wonderful Thanksgiving Week.

AND---please take a minute to read this fabulous blog post (click HERE)  which is what Thanksgiving and our country is all about.  Thanks, Brenda, for this post.  Brought tears to my eyes.  

Hugs,
Betsy

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weather Changes in the Smokies 11/7/12

IF you enjoy changes in weather,  you need to come to TENNESSEE..... George and I traveled over the Smoky Mountains (between Gatlinburg and Cherokee, NC) on Wednesday, 11/7/12,  headed by way of the scenic route to Asheville,  North Carolina.

It was a fabulous day to be in the Smokies ---and we captured LOTS of great pictures along our way.... Sit back and take the trip with us!!!!  Remember to click on the photos for enlargements!!!

The above picture was taken from the bypass overlooking Gatlinburg ---with Mt. LeConte in the distance (covered with FOG)....  There were still some beautiful Fall colors in the lower elevations also...




Here is a great photo of some of the colors still showing off for us on this November day.




Late Fall is one of my favorite times to come to the Smokies.  Many of the trees are bare--but the ones left with leaves are still showing off their beautiful colors... Do you like this photo as much as I do????




Now you surely are not surprised as to what we encountered on our way UP the mountain!!!!!!   Lots and lots of FOG.... Oh how I love fog photos.  Do you???




Another picture showing fog along the creek;   There's just something magical about fog (or mist--or whatever you call it)!!!!




The higher we went,  the colder it got ----AND guess what we encountered next????? SNOW!!!!  (This old woman was a happy girl!!)    OH--how I love seeing snow around the Rhododendrons...




We even had to stop and talk to Mr. Snowman (which someone else had left for us)!!!!




After that came the beauty of snow..... There's just nothing more beautiful than seeing snow clinging to evergreens....  Wish you could have been there.  (Roads were clear!)... The scenery was marvelous!!!!




I love seeing snow clinging to the tree limbs like that.... It was AWESOME.




The higher we went in elevation,  the more snow we saw.   They had gotten this snow the night before, so we got there at a perfect time!   AND--it was 'spitting' snow when we were there.  Beautiful photo,  don't you think?




AND---when we got to the top of the mountain at Newfound Gap,  here is what we saw. That tree is really weighted down with the snow!!!!




FINALLY,  we got over the mountain into North Carolina....  Soon--all of the snow was gone!!!!  AND---the SUN was even trying to come out....  Isn't that an interesting picture---especially when comparing it to the snow pictures above??????

OH MY GOODNESS..... Life in the Smoky Mountains is ALWAYS enjoyable --no matter when we are there.... This particular day,  we were treated to all kinds of weather....  Hope you enjoyed our day!!!!

Have a great weekend, and I'll see you on Monday...

Hugs,
Betsy