Monument Valley

February 27, 2018

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

A highpoint of our trip out west in 2017 was our visit to Monument Valley. We had never seen this beautiful place before (except in movies) and we were amazed by the beauty of the place. It took the picture above of the two of us at a pullover along Valley Drive. That’s West Mitten Butte to the left of us with East Mitten in the far background. A part of Merrick Butte is on the right of the photo.

Although we drove a short distance along Valley Drive, most of our time at Monument Valley was taken up by the Monument Valley Backcountry Sunset Tour. We signed up for a public tour, but since Betsy and I were the only people registered for that particular tour we ended up with a private tour led by a wonderful Navajo guide, Hope. She took us off the beaten path and provided us with much fascinating information.

The picture above shows Totem Pole, the tall spire on the right. The rock formation on the left is Yet Bi Chei, (Navajo spiritual gods).

The last stop on our tour was the North Window overlook, which provided a panoramic view of the valley and the buttes scattered across it. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if we visit this beautiful area again in the future.


Morning in the Mountains

January 30, 2018

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

Betsy and I traveled to the Pisgah Inn on the Blue Ridge Parkway of North Carolina in October to enjoy the autumn colors. We found colorful trees, although there was not as much as we had hoped there would be. Mother Nature, however, more than made up for any lack of color on the trees by providing gorgeous color in the morning skies.

We got up at dawn each day to enjoy the show. The morning started with a single star shining down as the horizon turned a brilliant orange and red.

As the light increased we could see fog in the valleys below and mountain tops in the distance peeking through the fog.

The eastern sky slowly filled with yellow, orange, and gold colors, silhouetting some trees along the ridge line.

Yes, we definitely found some gorgeous colors in the mountains of North Carolina!

Bald River Falls

January 16, 2018

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

In October of this past year Betsy and I headed to North Carolina in search of some autumn colors. Along the way we decided to stop by Bald River Falls near Tellico Plains, Tennessee. This is a beautiful waterfall we have visited several times, and we’ve never tired of seeing it.

The curtain of water falling over the rocks made beautiful patterns along the face of the falls.

Betsy added to the beauty of the falls by standing on the bridge over Bald River with the falls and vibrant autumn colors in the background.

The Tellico River was also a gorgeous sight as it flowed past its conjunction with Bald River.

Bryce Canyon National Park

December 19, 2017

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

Utah is a beautiful state containing many state and national parks with gorgeous scenery. On our western trip in September of this year Betsy and I visited 13 state and national parks or monuments in Utah, and we enjoyed our visit to each and every one.

With so much spectacular scenery, it’s hard to pick a favorite Utah spot to visit, but if I had to pick a favorite, it would probably be Bryce Canyon. We visited Bryce several years ago, and I’ve wanted to go back ever since. The hoodoos are spectacular in both form and color as the picture above, taken at Sunrise Point, shows.

We hiked from Sunrise to Sunset Point, enjoying the views of the canyon as we walked. I must admit that we didn’t set any speed records on that hike, since we stopped so often to take pictures.

A special treat for me was being able to hike the Navajo Loop down into the canyon from Sunset Point. It was fantastic to be able to look up at the hoodoos against that gorgeous blue sky.

I have many more photos from Bryce, but they will be the subject of a later post. i

Canyonlands National Park

November 21, 2017

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

Betsy and I visited Canyonlands National Park for the first time on our recent trip west. We actually visited two sections of the park, but the Island in the Sky section was definitely our favorite. All of these pictures are from Island in the Sky.

I’m not sure what we expected to find at Canyonlands, but the stark beauty was absolutely fascinating. The picture above was taken at the Green River Overlook, and although you can’t see the Green River, you can see the canyons that it has carved over the ages.

This picture was taken near the White Rim Overlook. If you look closely you can make out the Colorado River way below and far away.

There are other sights to enjoy in the park, one of which is Mesa Arch. We didn’t get there early enough to see the sun rise through the arch, but it was a beautiful sight nonetheless. The arch can be reached after a relatively easy hike from the trailhead.

If you ever get a chance to visit Canyonlands, we hope you will do so.

Arches National Park

October 31, 2017

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

One of the places we visited on our trip west earlier this year was Arches National Park near Moab, Utah. It’s a very beautiful — and very popular.

On the day before we planned to visit Arches we passed the entrance and noticed that the park was closed from 7pm to 7am and that there was a huge line of cars waiting to get into the park.

We knew that we would have to get to Arches very early the next morning, which we managed to do. We then learned that the closures were a result of roadwork being done in the park, and that there was a delay in getting all the equipment off the roads this particular morning. So we sat in the parking lot of the Visitor Center for what seemed to be the longest time.

Finally we were able to get into the park. Our first stop was Double Arch, which we only saw at a distance when we were there several years ago. This time we were among the first to get to the arch so were were able to hike to it while the morning light was still good, as you can see in the picture above.

We then hiked in the Windows portion of the park. I got this picture of the North and South Windows from nearby Turret Arch.

We then drove to the Wolfe Ranch section of the park to visit Delicate Arch. There were such long lines waiting to hike to the arch that we chose to content ourselves with seeing it from the viewing area. We did hike to the upper viewing area, which got us closer to the arch itself, which is where I got this photo.

We saw many more things at Arches National Park, but they will have to wait for another post.

The Solar Eclipse

October 3, 2017

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

Betsy and I had ringside seats for the solar eclipse on August 21, 2017. Crossville was in the zone of totality, and it was a very big deal as you can see from the t-shirt My Beautiful Bride is wearing.

Clouds were forecast for the afternoon of the big event, but they fortunately stayed away enough for us to enjoy the show. It was quite an experience to see the moon start to block out the sun.

In some ways I wish I had better camera equipment, but I was delighted to get the pictures that I did get.

It was truly amazing to see the sun becoming a smaller and smaller sliver of light.

Then the sun was completely covered. It became night as solar lights came on and birds stopped their singing. I was able to capture the sun’s corona shining around the moon.

As the sun began to emerge from behind the moon I was able to capture a ‘diamond ring’. That was really a special moment for me.

As the moon continued to move away, a sliver of sun appeared in the sky.

As the moon moved even more, the sun became a crescent.

Our world got lighter as more of the sun became visible. Soon the magical once-in-a-lifetime event was over.

Saint Patrick Rose

August 22, 2017

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

One of the newer roses that Betsy and I have in our garden is Saint Patrick. Saint Patrick is a hybrid tea rose that does very well in hot weather, which we’ve had plenty of over the past two years.

When Saint Patrick buds, the yellow buds are tinged with green (some people say chartreuse) — see the photo above, and the hotter the weather the more green there is along the edges.

But as the flower opens the green starts to fade away, and the yellow becomes more pronounced. This picture was taken the day after the one above.

By the third day there is very little green left, and the blossom is a beautiful yellow or gold. The blossoms are quite large and last for quite some time.

Saint Patrick is a rose we very much enjoy, especially during the heat of the summer.

Consider the lilies

July 25, 2017


(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

I’m not sure day lilies are the biblical lilies of the field, but they certainly are beautiful and worthy of consideration. We have several varieties in our yard, most of them rebloomers that we can enjoy twice a year. Day lilies are way to grow and don’t require much maintenance, which is a nice bonus.

Carolyn Criswell (the photo above) is a bright, beautiful day lily that always looks cheerful.

I dearly love Betsy, but I must admit that I enjoy seeing Lady Lucille whenever she puts in an appearance in our yard.

I seriously doubt that Christmas Wishes would bloom in our yard in December, but it certainly looks festive this time of the year.

Pure and Simple may not be ‘fancy’, but it is definitely pretty. The large blossoms of this day lily are always a welcome sight.

I almost feel that I cheated when I got this picture of our Bright Sunset day lily. I actually took this photo in the morning light. I’m not aware of a ‘Bright Sunrise’ day lily.

We have other beautiful day lilies in our yard, but I hope you enjoyed this sample. It’s been a beautiful Spring in the Glade.

When in the course of human events . . .

July 4, 2017

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice.)

I’m old enough to remember when the Fourth of July was more than just a weekend holiday, as wonderful as that can be. Way back then, the Fourth was a time of patriotic music (when is the last time you heard a John Philip Sousa march?), and stories of the founding of this nation.

So, in the spirit of the Fourth of July from yesteryear, I thought I would share some pictures taken at Colonial Williamsburg several years ago. We weren’t there on the Fourth of July, but it was still possible to catch the spirit of the ‘Revolutionary City’.

We’ve always enjoyed the Colonial Williamsburg Fife and Drum Corps, as seen in the photo above.

One evening we were able to see a muster of the colonial militia. They certainly didn’t march with the ‘spit and polish’ of British regulars.

Even their firing line left something to be desired.

But I would hate to be in front of them when they fired.

The ‘colonists’ even had a cannon they were able to fire.