Archive for October, 2012

Smoky Mountains Panorama

October 31, 2012

A panorama of the Smoky Mountains as seen from the Foothills Parkway in Tennessee. October 23, 2012.

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

Last week Betsy and I drove along the Foothills Parkway, which is just west of the Smoky Mountains.  We were able to enjoy the autumn colors and beautiful views without getting caught in all the traffic of the Smoky Mountains National Park.

The views were spectacular, and I was inspired to try to get a panorama of the scene.  The picture above is my first effort, created by merging three photos in Photoshop.  I don’t think it looks too shabby, if I do say so myself.

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Our World: Ocoee River

October 29, 2012

The Ocoee River in Tennessee, August 17, 2012.

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

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by five wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

In August Betsy and I had to go to Young Harris, Georgia, so Betsy could attend a bridal shower for her future daughter-in-law.  Since there are several waterfalls in the area that we haven’t visited, we decided to go down a day early and do some hiking.

We decided to take the ‘scenic route’, and drove along the Ocoee River here in Tennessee for several miles.  The Ocoeee River was the site of the whitewater slalom events during the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics.  A mile-long Olympic whitewater course was built by the Forest Service fed by releases of water from Ocoee Dam #3.

White water on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. August 17, 2012.

Downstream from the Olympic course is a 4.5-mile whitewater rafting area fed by water released from Ocoee Dam #2.  This section of the river has been open to the public since the 1970s, mainly for daytime releases of water on weekends and holidays.  We stopped along this public section of the river to get some pictures.

Rafts on the Ocoee River in Tennessee. August 17, 2012.

There were many rafts and kayaks along this stretch of the river.  While the rapids were not the highest we’ve seen, people seemed to be having a lot of fun floating down the river.

Kayaks on the Ocoee. August 17, 2012.

All of the rafts we saw made it through the rapids near us without incident.

Oops! A kayak going over in white water on the Ocoee River. August 17, 2012.

Not all of the kayaks were so lucky.

SkyWatch Friday: Smoky Mountains Sky

October 26, 2012

Looking toward the Smoky Mountains from the Foothills Parkway, Tennessee. October 14, 2010.

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

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is the nation’s most visited national park.  People come throughout the year to see the mountains.  They come in October to see the autumn colors.  But the sky is also worth seeing and enjoying.

This picture was taken in early October from the Foothills Parkway looking toward the Smoky Mountains.

Middle Prong of Little River

October 24, 2012

A small cascade on the Middle Prong of Little River, Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee. August 27, 2012.

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

In late August Betsy and I visited the Smoky Mountains after an early morning appointment in Knoxville.  We drove along the Middle Prong of Little River up past Tremont.  This is off the beaten path in the Smokies, except for fishermen, and we enjoy being able to stop and enjoy the river without having to worry about traffic.

The river was lower than we’ve ever seen it, but there were still places where we could stop and enjoy seeing the water rushing over and around boulders in the stream.

Water swirling over rocks in Middle Prong, Great Smoky Mountains, Tennessee. (Photo by Betsy)

Betsy got some wonderful pictures of the clear water flowing over the rocky river bottom.

Middle Prong of Little River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. August 27, 2012.

We hope that our dry weather soon comes to an end and that there will be more water in the river the next time we go.  But we enjoyed this trip to the beautiful Smokies and look forward to many more.

Our World: More from the Wildlife Loop

October 22, 2012

Pronghorn antelope on the prairie in Custer State Park, South Dakota. September 25, 2012.

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

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by five wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

As I shared in an earlier post (click HERE if you missed it), we saw bison while driving the WildLife Loop in Custer State Park in South Dakota.  But we also saw other wildlife as well.  The pronghorn above was spotted before we saw the herd of bison.

Pronghorn along the Wildlife Loop in Custer State Park. September 25, 2012.

After leaving the bison, we noticed this pronghorn sitting in an open area on the prairie.  She (we decided it was a she) was intently watching a tree about 100 yards away.

Juvenile pronghorns resting under a tree. September 25, 2012.

We were curious about her behavior, so we looked at the tree more closely and spotted these smaller pronghorns.  Mama was evidently keeping a careful eye on them.

A deer outside Custer State Park, South Dakota. September 25, 2012.

We were leaving the park when we spotted this lovely creature in a field.  It looks like she’s watching us as intensely as we were watching her.

Skywatch Friday: The Heavens Declare the Glory of God

October 12, 2012

 

The sky along Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado. September 17, 2012.

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

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

On our second  day in Rocky Mountain National Park Betsy and I visited parts of the park we hadn’t visited before.  It was a wonderful day, although we went from bright sunny skies, to clouds, to rain and even to some sleet and snow.  On our way over the mountains the clouds were so low we felt we could reach out and touch them.  Near the top of the mountain we came upon this scene with sunbeams showing through the clouds.

Down Memory Lane: Castillo San Marcos

October 10, 2012

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

In August, 2009, Betsy and I traveled to Florida to see her brother in Jacksonville and to celebrate Betsy’s birthday.  After leaving Jacksonville we stopped in St. Augustine to visit Castillo San Marcos, the fortress built by the Spanish to protect their outpost.

To see larger versions of these pictures and others, click HERE.

 

Our World: Where the Buffalo Roam

October 8, 2012

Bison in Custer State Park, South Dakota. September 25, 2012.

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

This is my post for the Our World meme.  This meme is a second generation of My World Tuesday created by Klaus Peter and is hosted by five wonderful ladies.  To learn more about our world or to join and share your part of the world, click HERE.

After visiting Mount Rushmore, Betsy and I drove to South Dakota’s Custer State Park.  One area of the park that was highly recommended was the Wildlife Loop, where we were assured that we would see plenty of wildlife.

Our friends were correct — we saw a wide variety of wildlife:  big horn sheep, burros, pronghorns and bison.  I’ve seen bison before, but never so many at one time.

Bison on the prairie in Custer State Park, South Dakota. September 25, 2012.

Seeing them on the prairie reminded me of descriptions of the huge buffalo herds encountered during the westward expansion of the United States.  At one time there were millions of bison in North America, but by 1900 it is estimated that fewer than 1,00 bison remained on the entire continent.

Bison at Custer State Park, South Dakota. September 25, 2012.

There are now as many as 1,300 head of bison in Custer State Park.  Bison can grow to 6 feet tall and weigh more than 2,000 pounds.  They are the largest native terrestrial mammal of North America.

The park holds a roundup each year to adjust the size of the herd according to the predicted availability of grassland forage.    The spring birthing season           rejuvenates the herd to approximately 1,300 head each year.

Tennessee Skies

October 5, 2012

A summer sky on the Tennessee Plateau. August 1, 2010.

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

This is my post for Skywatch Friday, a meme for sharing views of the sky from all over the world.  To see more, or to join and share your own photos of the sky, click HERE.

The Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee is the highest wooded plateau in the U. S.  On a beautiful summer day we’re high enough that it seems as if we could reach up and touch the white clouds sailing in that blue sky.

Air Force Chapel

October 3, 2012

The chapel at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. September 15, 2012.

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

On our second day in Colorado Springs, Betsy and I drove out to the Air Force Academy.  Both of us had seen pictures of the chapel many times, and we wanted to visit it in person.  As we walked toward the chapel (above) it was every bit as impressive as we had been led to believe.

The interior of the Air Force Academy chapel, Colorado Springs, Colorado. September 15, 2012.

But I thought the interior was even more impressive than the exterior.  The light and color inside the sanctuary was marvelous.  We walked around  sanctuary marveling at the beauty.  The colored squares let in a wonderful  streams of light.

The organ in the Air Force Academy chapel, Colorado Springs, Colorado. September 15, 2012.

The organ in the loft was also magnificent.

The ceiling of the chapel at the Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado. September 15, 2012.

The overall effect of the color and light is to cause a person to look up.  That seems to be very appropriate for an Air Force chapel.