Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. Also welcome to APRIL!!!! Spring is AWESOME. Enjoy some beautiful TULIPS from Biltmore!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Beautiful WYOMING

Day Six on our Western trip from Sept. 12-27, 2012 had us traveling from Colorado through WYOMING (on the road to Yellowstone).   Today I will share some pictures of Wyoming for you.  Above is the beautiful SUNRISE we had when we left Colorado early that morning on Sept. 18. 

After getting into Wyoming,  we traveled at high elevations across the state.  I had no idea that elevations in that state were SO high...  The picture above is something I had NEVER seen before.  It's a SNOW FENCE.  There were many of them in this state as we crossed these high plains.  In order to read more about these special fences,  click HERE.   Above is a picture I took of one of the snow fences.   These fences help by reducing drifting snow.  Interesting!!!

Here's a sign I captured when we stopped at a rest stop along the way.  Hope you can read the sign (click to enlarge it) --since it's quite interesting.

This is what the area looked like.  That scrubby vegetation is food for wildlife--even in those treacherous winters.

I was excited to see my first ANTELOPE (Pronghorn) here in Wyoming.  Beautiful animal, isn't it?

Here's one more picture of a group of ANTELOPES (Pronghorns).

The terrain began to change as we got close to Jackson, Wyoming.  This is the Hoback River --where people enjoy fly-fishing!!!!

Finally,  here's another view of the river --with the beautiful mountains (beginning of the Tetons) in the background.  From Jackson, Wyoming,  our GPS took us into Idaho where we headed north toward our destiny that day,  West Yellowstone,  Montana.   The trip on this day took us 10 hours and 45 minutes.  We were both so excited to get to Yellowstone.  The next several posts will be from Yellowstone --where we spent FIVE days.

Here are a few more pictures from our Ice Storm last weekend...  This picture was taken the next morning (1/26) --and even though the temperatures were still in the 20's,  we were excited because the SUN was out....  Yeah for some sunshine!!!!

This is a 'creative' ???  shot looking straight up at the BLUE sky (YEAH) with the glistening, icy trees....  By noon,  the temperatures rose above freezing --and the ice and icicles were falling off of the trees and house like bombs!!!!!

Ice Storms can be rough and dangerous.  Luckily, ours wasn't... SO, for us photographers,  the ice made for some great pictures... Hope you enjoyed seeing some this week.

Hope you have a wonderful day.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Cades Cove in the Winter

George and I spent a couple of days in the fabulous SMOKY MOUNTAINS last week.  On 1/23/13,  we visited a favorite place,  Cades Cove.   I love that valley --and all of the peace one can feel just by being there...

As I've said many times,  we visit the Smokies during the 'off-seasons' when there aren't very many people around.  Last week was one of those perfect weeks because, even though it was quite cold (30's),  the sun was shining brightly.  AND--there were very few people around.

We have visited the Smokies many, many times---but this time,  we saw more deer (pictured above) than we have EVER seen there at one time... Such gorgeous animals!!!  Be sure to click on the photos and collages to see enlargements.

No matter how many times we visit there,  we still love to stop all along the way and take photos... I took this picture of George as we checked out that beautiful area.

I never tire of seeing the little churches in Cades Cove.  This time I took some pictures to share with you....

When I am in that valley,  I feel a peace unlike any other place we ever visit.  I could live there in a heartbeat!!!

You can tell by the look on my face how happy I was to be there.

George wandered around in the wooded area near the Missionary Baptist Church trying to find a better place to take a picture of the church.  Both George and I enjoy hiking off-trail in the winter...

Finally,  I'll close with a collage showing several different views of the Smoky Mountains from Cades Cove.  If you haven't had the privilege of visiting our Smokies,  add it to your list sometime --and make sure that Cades Cove is on that list!!!!

Rhododendron during our Ice Storm
Hope you made it through the weekend...  We had an Ice Storm here --but luckily,  other than losing our power once (briefly),  we didn't have anymore problems.  However,  it was very very slick ---and we were just glad to be home --safe and sound!!!  We didn't venture out of the house much at all--except when I was filling the bird feeders.

Here's a picture showing how pretty the trees looked --as they turned silver in color.  Wanna come and sit on my bench?????  NO----not on that day, you didn't!!!!  TOO COLD!!!!

Finally,  here's a close-up of one of the branches on one of our trees.  Interesting,  isn't it????   I do NOT like ice storms --but this one didn't cause us any problems --and it turned out to be kinda pretty!!!!!   Hope you had a great weekend.


Friday, January 25, 2013

More from Rocky Mountain National Park

On September 17, 2012,   after traveling on the Old Falls River Road ---next we went south to Grand Lake.  (If you have missed any of my blog posts from our West Trip this past fall,  you can click HERE to see any or all of those 10 posts.)  The weather was 'iff-y' --but even though there was rain around us,  we didn't have any much that day.  The picture above shows some beautiful sunbeams peeking through the clouds as we traveled along the Trail Ridge Road.

We stopped at Poudre Lake at Milner Pass to check out the lake and Continental Divide.  Here is a collage with some of our pictures.  We took a short hike in that area ---and I took that picture of George standing in front of that HUGE evergreen tree.

Next,  we got to the Grand Lake area ---and took a hike to see Adams Falls.    The photo above is of GRAND LAKE,  near the parking area where we hiked to the falls.

Here is a collage of pictures taken at Adams Falls.   I think George was happy that someone named that waterfall after HIM... How 'bout that?   The picture on the right shows a little bit of the trail to the falls.  It was a pretty area.

George took this picture of me on the trail at Adams Falls.

On the road back up the mountain,  we experienced quite a bit of interesting weather.  That made for some great sky pictures....

Here's one more great picture of the sky showing the Sunbeams which George took.  Isn't it beautiful?

And here is one I took of George at one of the overlooks that day.  We could see all of the rain around us!!!!  Amazing pictures!!

Finally,  before leaving the park,  we had to stop and see the ELK one more time.  They are gorgeous animals.

That is the end of our visit to the Rocky Mountain National Park.  The next day (Sept. 18)--we headed to Yellowstone.  Many more photos and posts to come!!!!

George and I spent a couple of wonderful days in the SMOKIES this week..  BUT--we came home early since our area is expecting an ICE STORM today....  If you don't hear from me for awhile, then just know that we have lost our electricity due to heavy ice.  I hope and pray that it won't happen --but we are home, safe and sound, and we have a fireplace and plenty of food,  if it does.  Please say a Prayer for everyone in the path of this storm.  Snow is one thing --but ICE is something that nobody ever wants.  It can be so dangerous and cause so many, many problems.

Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you on Monday. (I hope). 


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

From the Archives: Winter Birds

Today I will share with you another set of photos from my archives.  These are some of my favorite winter bird photos --which I have taken through the years...  Above is always a winter favorite,  a male NORTHERN CARDINAL.

Above is a year-round bird in our yard who ONLY visits the feeders during a very cold and/or snowy time... I love this photo of the AMERICAN ROBIN since he looks almost regal!!!!!

And,  here's a favorite bird --who comes to the feeders all year long,  but really enjoys the 'heated' bird bath in the cold winter... This beauty is an EASTERN BLUEBIRD.  (The other little bird in the picture is a GOLDFINCH.

Here's another favorite bird,  one of our MOURNING DOVES---just sitting on that cold snow...  They say that Doves are not the smartest of birds --but sitting on the cold snow has to be hard on the 'underside',  don't you think???? ha

Here's another good picture of our NORTHERN CARDINAL in winter.  The red really is pretty beside that white snow...

I absolutely adore this photo of a CAROLINA WREN.  He is sitting on a Rhododendron blossom.  The ice on his face and eyebrows makes him look like a  Grandfather Wren.... ha ha

Here's another cute little bird who only visits us during a snowstorm... This is the little DARK-EYED JUNCO... Isn't he a cute little guy?

Finally,  here is another of my favorite EASTER BLUEBIRD winter photos. Bless her heart.  She looks so COLD.  I love seeing how the birds get puffy --trying to stay warm...

I'm not sure that the winter of 2012-13 will provide us with enough snow in order for me to get some good WINTER BIRD photos.   SO---I'll just continue to enjoy my archived photos...

Have a great day.  I'll be 'out-of-pocket' for a few days --and won't be doing much blogging.  However,  I will post a blog on Friday... Just won't get to do much visiting... VERY BUSY hopefully having some FUN!!!!