Monday, December 22, 2014

December photo project - First day of Winter

A walk around & about Bass Lake on a very foggy first day of Winter

Cloud shrouded island

 Pond upstream from Bass Lake

Small rock wall across the pond

Bridge at the small pond


Heart Ponds

Beaver dam on Bass Lake

Another view of the beaver dam


Sunday, December 21, 2014

December photo project - Solstice edition

We took a trip to Grandfather Mountain via Linville Gorge to celebrate the Solstice. Our first stop was Wiseman's View, where it was so foggy you could couldn't see much. 

You can just make out the Linville River below through the fog.

Cliffs are barely visible behind Barrie.

We the joined Edwin for a solstice hike up Grandfather Mountain, greeting the Solstice at 6:03 from the Boone Bowl. 

Barrie and Edwin on the trail up Grandfather.

Edwin scampering on the rocks with winter nigh. 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Sunday, December 7, 2014

December photo project - Day 7

Ellie in front of the tree with her toy squirrel. We have a "puppy tree" this year - no lights or decorations on the bottom puppy zone.

December photo project - Day 6

Dawn in the neighborhood, looking northeast from the backyard

Monday, December 1, 2014

December photo project - Day 1

Ah, the darkening days of December. What better time for a daily photo project? Or near's round one for your viewing pleasure. Barrie bought a gorgeous bouquet for the Thanksgiving holidays. I lit it with a flashlight in the otherwise dark kitchen this morning and here you go:

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Easter weekend backpacking trip

Over the Easter weekend we headed off the ol' familiar and much beloved Hunt Fish Falls. As I was describing our pending outing to my intern (his idea of a good spring break is a solo backpacking trip in the Smokies), I had one of those middle-age moments when I realized that I've been coming to Hunt Fish Falls for 40 years.

We reached the trailhead about 3 PM on Good Friday and descended into the forest. Rain was forecast for later in the day so we booked down the trail and set up camp. The crossing rocks had washed away so we had to wade across the creek to the campsite. Here's some photos from our first day, pre-rain: 
Looking up the creek from the crossing, eh, fording place.
Taken from the same spot as the above photo, only looking downstream.  Note Edwin on the rock...

Up on the same rock. Tina looks downriver. Note all the fresh buds on the trees.

Somebody's idea of fun was to melt this liquor bottle in the fire.
Fresh greenery on top of the rock with the creek rushing below.

The campsite. Edwin's pitching the rain shelter.
We piled up the firewood. We started the fire around 6 or so, and it burned brightly until the heavy rain settled in around 9:30, when we retreated to our tents.
Fresh buds near the campsite.
The rain that started Friday evening continued, off and on, for about 30 hours. During the heavier rain we'd hunker under the rain tarp, but during most of the day Saturday the rain was light enough that basic rain gear kept me relatively dry. We hiked up to Timber Ridge above the campsite during the day, enjoying a 3 hour hike in a light rain. The cloud cover really brought the greens out, so the whole place was lush and verdant. I've heard it said that the Appalachian forests are, in some ways, akin to a temperate rain forest, and it certainly had that feel on Saturday. Here's some photos from that day.

Budding lily, getting ready to bloom.

Grandfather Mountain from the Timber Ridge trail.
Moss and running cedar on the moist forest floor.

Mossy, mossy rock.
Crested Dwarf Iris by the trailside.

Another Crested Dwarf Iris.
After 30 hours of intermittent rain, the sun came out Sunday morning and we were able to dry out our tents before heading up the trail. That gave us time to pull out the cameras during the lovely morning light.

Creek beside the campsite.
Dew covered creekside grass
Looking upstream from the campsite.

A lone PBR awaits a thirsty camper. We did not bring the PBR.

Water. Running downstream.
Campsite from an island in the stream.