Welcome to JOYFUL REFLECTIONS. My Header this month is a picture of one of my favorite birds, the Eastern Bluebird. He looks cold, doesn't he????? Welcome to January!!!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Greenbriar Visit to the Smokies January, 2013

Beautiful Mountain Creek
NO---that is not a typo in the heading.  This is a post I never published from January, a year ago.  We took a little trip to the Smokies ---and this post is when we visited the Greenbriar area (between Gatlinburg and Cosby).  Besides Cades Cove,  two or our favorite drives and photo opp places are to the Tremont area (between Townsend and Cades Cove) and this area,  the Greenbriar area. 

Hope you enjoy the photos.  Click on them for enlargements.


George is taking some photos of the water with his special lens.


I can't take good photos of the water like George can,  but this one is kinda pretty!


Our road along the way; See our car?  We park and hike down to the water for photos and enjoyment of the sounds and beauty all around us!


This is what I do when George is taking photos with his tripod.  The area is just so peaceful --even though it was quite cold that day.


Oh --how much beauty is everywhere!!!  I love seeing the moss growing on the rocks.


There's my Cutie Pie---getting up higher for more good photos.


I am always fascinated by the mushrooms and lichen growing on the trees in the Smokies.


Out came the toboggan---as it got colder and colder up there...


The farther UP in the mountains we traveled,  guess what we saw?????  SNOW!!!!


Think these Daffodils will make it?????  They are sprouting a little early!!!!!  Brrrrrr...


Finally,  we always just 'have' to get a picture of the two of us together enjoying the Smokies!!!
Hope you enjoyed these photos from our beautiful Smoky Mountains.. I love going there during all seasons --but in winter,  we have much of the area all to ourselves!

Have a great Monday ---and I'll see you on Wednesday!

Hugs,

Friday, March 28, 2014

Another March Trip/Hike: Amicalola Falls State Park, GEORGIA

Here is the gorgeous Amicalola Lodge, located at the top of the mountain.
I told you that we had a busy March planned... WELL---if you have missed out on my posts, let me just tell you that this is the FOURTH trip we have had this month.  First was Arkansas; second was Ohio;  third was North Carolina;  and this past week,  we were in Georgia!!!!!

We got a great Groupon coupon --so we spent a few days (March 24-26, 2014)  at one of our favorite lodges,  the Amicalola Falls Lodge near Dawsonville,  Georgia.  We have been there before --but this visit was one of our favorites... This time,  one of the things we did was to hike the loop around that HUGE waterfall.

Amicalola Falls is Georgia's highest waterfall and is 729 feet.  It is the third highest waterfall in the eastern United States.   There are SIX HUNDRED and FOUR steps which lead from the bottom to the top of the falls (and back)... The hike is hard since there is about a 1000 foot elevation change---but just being close to that huge waterfall all of the way  either up or down is awesome!!!!

Today I'll share a few photos from Amicalola Falls...  Hope you enjoy them!



From the bottom, looking up at the top of the mountain;  You can see the top of the falls--but they do cascade ALL of the way down the mountain.,... Ready to head up there?????




Betsy on some of the 600 steps!!!!  Pant Pant!!!



Some of the cascades along our way



I wanted you to see some of the elaborate steps they built.



REST TIME!!!!!!



Here's George (carrying his tripod) as we got closer to the top.



George crossed the bridge to get to the other side of the falls.  This is a neat area since they have built a handicapped trail for those in wheelchairs to see the top of this falls up close.



This is the top of Amicalola Falls.  I took this photo from the bridge.



The other part of the hike was away from the waterfall.  AND---it got colder and very windy (as you can tell) ---and we even experienced some  blowing SNOW....   (Crazy us---our coats were in the car!)



The views from the other part of that hike were incredible --on the top of the mountain.
A family of three (lady and 2 children) were hiking this part of the trail also ---and my comment to them was:  "I hope you all are hiking like this when you are 72!"  (Not sure they will be!!!! ha)


Us at Amicalola Falls,  Georgia
We made it --despite the steepness and the horribly cold, windy, snowy weather.  We finished our day having hiked for 3.8 miles.....  This is an awesome place ---and we highly recommend it to YOU.

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

Hugs,

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Cashiers, North Carolina Visit

Laurelwood Mountain Inn,  Cashiers,  North Carolina
This week (March 18-20, 2014)  we finally got to take our Valentine's Trip (which had to be postponed in February due to heavy snow in that area).  We visited LAURELWOOD MOUNTAIN INN in Cashiers,  North Carolina ---and loved this inn!!!!  The entire area is fantastic --especially for waterfall lovers like George and me. 

I'll start my blog post showing you a little from Laurelwood Inn.  Above is a photo of the building where our room was at the inn.  We had a nice room which included a king bed, microwave, frig,  full bath,  TV with cable and an internet connection...  This inn offered all of the comforts of home!!!!



Little waterfall/cascade outside of our room
Can you believe that there was a little waterfall/cascade right outside of our room????  How's that for waterfall lovers like us?????  We could sit on the porch and hear the water!!!!  SO NEAT!!!



More of the little waterfall outside of our room




I loved sitting in the swing on the porch --and listening to the waterfall.  Tis the LIFE!!!




George enjoyed the porch also for his reading!!!!



One more photo showing the building we were in at Laurelwood Inn
We highly recommend this little inn.  If you want more information,  click HERE for their webpage.  We went there using a Groupon coupon (which saved us quite a bit of money).  We use Groupons alot --and have only had ONE bad experience.  This one was awesome.




Beautiful CULLASAJA FALLS (along the Scenic Cullasaja Gorge Rd between Franklin and Highlands) 3/18/14
While in North Carolina this week,  we visited TWELVE different waterfalls and got in some great hiking ----so you can imagine how happy we were being there. The weather was good --other than one very foggy day (when we had to change our plans 3 times in order to see waterfalls).  Plan C worked out to be perfect for us that day --so no complaints at all!!!!!   Here are a few more photos taken at some of the various waterfall areas we saw this week...



Us at QUARRY FALLS (along the Cullasaja Gorge Rd) 3/18/14;  Do you like our new purple sweatshirts???  We bought them when we were in Hocking Hills last week.




DRY FALLS was definitely not dry!  I am standing behind the waterfall. (3/18/14)




George got wetter than I did since he walked the entire distance behind DRY FALLS!!!!




This is BRIDLE VEIL FALLS  (along the Cullasaja Gorge Road, near Highland,  NC); 3/18/14;  This is not a big waterfall---and we could not drive behind the falls (like we used to be able to do).  BUT--we loved walking behind them.




GLEN FALLS (2nd drop) near Highlands,  NC 3/18/14
This was our big hike of that day ---and it was very drizzly/cool/foggy when we hiked to Glen Falls.  We  hiked down to see two different drops/levels of that gorgeous waterfall.



TRIPLE FALLS  (Top two drops of the three--noting the name of the falls) at Dupont State Forest,  near Brevard,  NC  3/19/14
Just had to share this funny photo.. I don't know what joke George told me here --but it must have been a good one!!!!! ha.... The two of us have so much fun together whatever we do.  We loved the three waterfalls we hiked to at Dupont Forest (High Falls,  Triple Falls and Hooker Falls)--but this one was definitely my favorite one.



HOOKER FALLS at Dupont State Forest,  Brevard, NC 3/19/14
Here is the smallest waterfall we saw at Dupont --but we enjoyed it just as much as many of the others.  I'll have to share a funny photo sometime that I have when George first sat down for these photos.  He missed the jagged rock---and almost sat on the ground...  Funny photo!



WHITEWATER FALLS,  Lake Toxaway,  NC  3/20/14
As you can tell by the beautiful blue sky,  this was our prettiest day in North Carolina.  We hiked down alot of steps in order to get this great view of a fantastic waterfall.   Beautiful,  isn't it?

I have tons and tons more photos ----and will publish more blog posts from this area I'm sure.  As I said,  we got to do alot of hiking and we DID see many beautiful waterfalls.    It was a great trip ---and probably worked out much better than it would have if we had have gone in snowy and cold February...

Since we have had 3 trips this month (Arkansas, Ohio and North Carolina),  we are WAY BEHIND on our work here.  I'm taking a week off ---and hope to be back with you next Friday,   March 28,  if possible.   IF not,  I'll definitely be back on the 31st.   Can't believe that March is almost over --and that we have been SO busy...

Hugs,