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

Monday, October 26, 2015

West Virginia Trip with Good Friends 10/19-23/2015

Four Special Friends along the Highland Scenic Highway 150
George and I had a fantastic trip last week with good friends,  Neal and Patti from Indiana.  This is about the 6th trip we have taken together over the past several years.  The four of us have so much in common and always have a good time when we are together.  This year was no exception.....

George and I have been to West Virginia several times ---and suggested this trip this year because we wanted to see the Autumn Colors in West Virginia since we had never been there in Fall;  AND also because we wanted to take them on one of our favorite rides,  a ride UP UP UP the mountain on an old steam train at Cass,  WV (from Cass to Bald Knob)...  Always a JOY for me/us!

All of us took lots and lots of pictures all week long---so I'll just show a few of my favorite places with you today.  Be sure to click on the pictures for enlargements.

Honeycomb Rocks off of the Highland Scenic Highway 150;  Don't you think those rocks look a little like a honeycomb????  Neat, huh.

The Trail to Honeycomb Rocks:  The Fall Colors in this area were SO pretty and I loved hiking along this trail.   To me,  there's just nothing better than hiking through the rustling leaves in Autumn.... I love the colors AND I love the 'smells' of Fall... SO NEAT!

This is Grandview,  part of the New River Gorge National River area.  This was one of the first places we visited ---and all of us were disappointed that there weren't many Fall Colors all around the mountains.  BUT--we did see Autumn Colors many other places we visited. 

You knew that George and I would just HAVE to take Neal and Patti to visit some waterfalls while there!!!!   This was the day we did the most hiking (first at Grandview and then to see these 3 beautiful waterfalls)....  This waterfall is Lower Falls of Hills Creek.  We all enjoyed all of the steps down into that canyon, and then back UP.  Needless to say, I finished the day with over 18,000 steps on my FITBIT!!!!!! I was VERY TIRED that night.

This is Beartown State Park ---and it's definitely a place that one needs to visit in order to grasp the beauty.  Pictures just don't show the real beauty there. Someone had built a wonderful boardwalk throughout the area ---and from that boardwalk,  we saw some amazing rock formations, boulders,  ferns, moss and more... This turned out to be one of my favorite places --and George and I had NEVER been here...

We took two loop hikes at the Cranberry Mountain Nature Center.  This was another favorite for me since again, I got to hike through the rustling leaves of Fall.  SO SPECIAL.  This picture was taken at the Stamping Creek Overlook along that trail.  The trees were gorgeous in this area.

We had some extra time one day so we checked out another beautiful state park,  Watoga State Park.  Here we are taking pictures of the Fall Colors and reflections at Lake Watoga. 

Neal took this picture of George and me at the T. M. Cheek Memorial Overlook at Watoga State Park.   Again--as you can see,  the colors there were awesome.

Cass Scenic Railroad:  Here's my FAVORITE part of the week (no surprise if you know me well)... I loved the ride WAY UP the mountain to Bald Knob from Cass, and back down,  on an old steam train...George and I have taken this ride 3 different times --but this was the first trip in Autumn.   LOVED it.....  (My Dad worked for the railroad --and as a child,  I got to ride on occasion in one of those engines.  Such fantastic memories.)

A View from the Train!!!!!   Going up that mountain on the train and also our time at Bald Knob gave us many opportunities to check out the views...Since the colors were so pretty and since we had a very clear and beautiful day,  we were able to get some great photos.

Finally,  on our way home (taking the back roads through West VA),  we just had to stop and take some pictures of this beautiful Covered Bridge... This bridge's name is the Indian Creek Covered Bridge.  Isn't it pretty?

AND --along that same road while on the way home,  we saw a little cemetery named BALLARD CEMETERY.   Of course,  we just had to stop and check it out.  I took pictures and also made some notes about some of the Ballards in that cemetery.  My mother was a Ballard and I have done quite a bit of Genealogy work on the Ballard side of my family.  However,  I'm not sure if any of my direct line of Ballards moved to West Virginia.   I didn't recognize any of the names --but will definitely do some research...
Well---that is just a tiny bit of all of the wonderful things we did last week with our friends.  It was a tremendous trip--and I highly recommend a trip to West Virginia during ANY season... We love it there --and I'm sure we will go back again --and again.

Have a wonderful week.


Monday, October 12, 2015

October Autumn Colors in our Neighborhood

I took all of these pictures with the iPhone on several of our walks in the neighborhood between October 4-8, 2015.    Amazing how much more color I see when I'm out WALKING and LOOKING.   Now that George and I aren't walking the golf course at nights (since it is getting dark SO early),  we are taking two daytime walks,  one in the morning and one in the afternoon.

Our area had been extremely dry here until the week of September 28th- October 4th---when we had a very dreary/cloudy/foggy/rainy/drizzly week.   And until October 4th,  we didn't have too many Autumn Colors here yet...

BUT---after the 4th,  we saw more and more colors popping out on our trees.... We are still not nearly to 'peak' here yet ---but I did manage to find some great colors to share with you today.   I'll post another group at the end of the month --for comparison...

Hope you enjoy the Fall Colors today.  Be sure to click on the pictures for enlargements.

Hope you enjoyed seeing some of our colors here in Fairfield Glade,  Tennessee... It has amazed me how much the leaves have changed as we progressed through the week....

Do you love Autumn????  It's definitely one of my favorite seasons --although Spring is almost a TIE.... I really enjoy all of the seasons --but Summer is my least favorite time of the year.

Have a great week.


Friday, October 9, 2015


BIG STONE GAP--the Movie opens TODAY at Theaters; Big Stone Gap is my HOMETOWN ---so please go and see the movie and think about ME. Big Stone Gap is a small mountain town in the southwest corner of VIRGINIA.... I have terrific memories of my childhood there... Go and see that little funny and romantic movie!!!!!!


Monday, October 5, 2015

What We Saw while at the Tetons and Yellowstone -August, 2015

Beautiful female ELK
I have so many great memories from our latest Western Trip to the Tetons and Yellowstone in August, 2015... With so many pictures to go through and so many wonderful memories ---it is HARD to pick and choose what to feature on my blog.

Today I will share some of the wildlife we saw along with a few more 'purdies' for you.  Hope you enjoy!  Be sure to click on the pictures for enlargements.

Lots of pretty wildflowers in bloom, and this one also included a BUTTERFLY

BISON/Buffalo---having a 'staring contest' with ME!!!!  I think he won!

A MAGPIE --dancing a jig for us!

A close-up of some of the 'wheat-grass'-looking stuff!

Some PRONGHORN Antelopes

Some kind of fancy Dragon-Fly

A zoomed-in photo of a OSPREY nest --high on some rocks in the Canyons area of Yellowstone;  A man pointed it out to us since it was hard to see with the naked eye.

I don't know what this wildflower is/was --but the colors reminded me of Autumn (even though it was only the end of August).

A Beautiful Mountain Bluebird;  I love 'my' Eastern Bluebirds here at home,  but seeing these guys in Wyoming was a FIRST for me.

BISON-TRAFFIC-JAM;  On two different evenings,  we drove on this road (Mormon Row Rd) to see the HUGE herds of Bison (at sunset).... On this evening,  we also enjoyed a gorgeous evening sky!

My favorite capture of the entire trip:  a MOOSE
I saved the best 'til last since seeing a MOOSE was my goal before taking this trip... Not only did I see one Moose---but I saw two!!!!!  I was a very happy camper--as my Facebook friends can tell you!

WELL---I could go on and on --with more pictures... BUT--I'll stop for now!  Compared with our September trip here in 2012,  seeing the Moose was great --but we didn't seen nearly as many Elk as we did in 2012.  We did see more Bison --and getting to see the Osprey and its nest and the Mountain Bluebird were very special this year.  BOTTOM LINE:  Each time we visit,  we make more and more great memories.

Have a wonderful week.  After lots of rain and gloom here,  we are finally getting some sunshine this week.  YEAH!