Archive for the ‘Hiking’ Category

Hiking the Rim Trail

June 13, 2017

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

Betsy and I visit Mt. Nebo State Park in Arkansas early each year.  We have many reasons for continuing to go there:  a beautiful little cabin that we get each year, gorgeous sunrises and sunsets, a peaceful and quiet atmosphere in which we can relax and enjoy each other’s company, and beautiful views.

Another thing we do its hike along the Rim Trail, which circles the mountain top just below the rim.  We don’t always hike all the way around the mountain, but we do cover most parts of the trail while we’re at Mt. Nebo.

There is access to the Rim Trail near our cabin, and the views beckons us each morning, as can be seen in the picture above.


On a clear day we can see Mt. Magazine in the distance, another favorite place we like to visit.


When we hike from the cabin toward Sunset Point we pass this gnarled old tree standing guard along the trail.


With all the beautiful views along the Rim Trail there are times when we just have to stop and soak them all in.

 

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Flowing Water in the Smokies

February 7, 2017

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

Both Betsy and I have mentioned the extreme drought we had in this part of Tennessee during the latter part of 2016.  We haven’t completely recovered in spite of rains over the past few weeks, but the situation has certainly improved.

We weren’t sure what to expect when we visited the Smokies in mid-January of this year.  But we were happy to see water flowing in Middle Prong Little River in the Tremont area of the park, as can be seen in the photo above.  That’s Lower Spruce Flat Falls in the background.

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We could even enjoy flowing water from the balcony of our room at Rocky Waters Inn in Gatlinburg.

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The next day we went to the Greenbrier section of the park and hiked along Middle Prong Little Pigeon River.  It, too, was beautiful.

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Although we very much enjoy hiking, sometimes we just have to sit and enjoy the beauty that surrounds us.

Art in the River

September 1, 2014
Middle Prong Little River, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee.  August 27, 2012.

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

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

Betsy and I like driving and hiking along Middle Prong of the Little River in the Smokies.  This river is in the Tremont section of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which means it is less crowded than more popular sections of the park.

We usually go when there is plenty of water flowing over and around the boulders in the river bed, but a couple of years ago we went on a beautiful August day when the water levels were very low.

At first I was disappointed that the water of the river was barely moving, but then I noticed the light and reflections.  Sunlight streaming through the trees seemed to turn portions of the river into gold.

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

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

A little later we came upon a pool of water that was turned a yellow/green by the leaves of the trees overhead.

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

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

As I continued to pay attention to the reflections in the water, I found I could capture the trees overhead and the sky by photographing the water.  The result is different from most of the photographs I’ve taken, but I like the color of both the green leaves and the blue sky as painted by the river.

Hiking in the Rain

May 30, 2012

Little River near Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. May 22, 2012.

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

We had to take our car into Knoxville for servicing in late May, so we made an early morning appointment so we would have most of the day for a visit to the Smokies.  We decided to hike to the Little River Trail from the Elkmont Campground.  The trail follows the river and leads to Husky Branch Falls.

The day started well, and we enjoyed the drive to Elkmont as we always do.  We often left the trail to get pictures of the river, which was beautiful (above).

George in the rain on our hike along Little River. May 22, 2012.  (Photo by Betsy)

And then the rains came.  Fortunately we had rain jackets with us.  The jackets helped us, and our cameras, keep dry.  We kept going, even though it was raining hard at times.

Husky Branch Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee. May 22, 2012.

The rain started to let up when we got to Husky Branch Falls, so we were able to enjoy this pretty waterfall.

Betsy taking pictures along Little River in the Smokies. May 22, 2012.

It was still raining as we headed back to the car.  At times it was only drizzling, so we continued to shoot the river as we walked back.

Our hike that day was about 4.3 miles, and it was raining for only four of those miles!  But it was a great day.

Close Enough

May 12, 2011

Black bear seen along Skyline Drive in Virginia. August 6, 2010.

As most of you know, Betsy and I do a fair amount of hiking in our search for waterfalls.  Many of the trails are in remote areas, but we’ve always enjoyed them.  We’re often the only people on a trail, and that’s fine with us.

We have a friend who is scared to death of bears.  Just the mention of the word can upset her.  Betsy and I have encountered bears on the trail only once.  We were hiking near the entrance to Cade’s Cove in the Smokies and saw a Mama Bear and two cubs cross the trail quite a way ahead of us.  We stopped and watched the three of scamper up the side of  the hill.

The picture above was taken at an overlook on Skyline Drive in Virginia back in 2010.  The bear was close enough to be easily seen, but this picture was taken with my long lens, so he really wasn’t that close.  But just between us, I’m glad he didn’t come any closer.

Hiking the Rim Trail

March 6, 2010

Scenes from the Rim Trail on Mount Nebo, Arkansas. March 10, 2009.

This post is a good indication of how far behind I am in getting my pictures organized.  One of these days …

As many of you know Betsy and I were at Mount Nebo, Arkansas a couple of weeks ago.  This is one of our favorite places to visit, and we’ve been there six times since we got married.  Last month I hiked one of my favorite trails on Mount Nebo, the Rim Trail.  The Rim Trail is a 3.5 mile trail that circles the mountain just below the top.  The trail offers some magnificent views of the mountains and the Arkansas River Valley.

But these pictures are from the hike I made in 2009.  The skies were better this year, but I don’t know when I’ll get this year’s pictures organized.  If I’m lucky it will be before we go back in 2011!

To see these pictures and others, click HERE.

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Betsy and I went to Hendersonville on Friday to help out my folks.  We found them to be in good spirits, but they are obviously getting more frail.  But I am grateful for each  opportunity to see them and to give them a helping hand.

Lynn Camp Prong

September 3, 2009
Middle Lynn Camp Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  June, 2007.

Middle Lynn Camp Falls, Great Smoky Mountains National Park. June, 2007.

There are many popular areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park that almost everyone who visits the park have seen or at least heard about — Cades Cove, Laurel Falls, and Clingman’s Dome to name just a few.

Betsy and I have been to all of those places, but some of our favorite times in the Smokies have been when we visited lesser-known areas of the park.  One such area is along Lynn Camp Prong.

In southern parlance, a prong is a branch of a river.  Lynn Camp was a lumber camp before the park was formed.  Lynn Camp Prong is a small stream that runs through the location of that old lumber camp.

To reach Lynn Camp and the hiking trail you have to go past Tremont Institure (off the road to Cade’s Cove) to the very end of the road.  The trail heads up along Lynn Camp Prong as it tumbles over several cascades and small falls.  Although they are not very big, the falls are pretty.  The hike is not difficult, and the chances are that you will have the trail and the cascades all to yourself.  There are even a couple of benches along the trail at which you can enjoy the views.

If you would like to see more of our hike along Lynn Camp Prong click HERE.

What Goes Down Must Come Up

June 26, 2009
The view from Overlook 1, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia.  June 23, 2009.

The view from Overlook 1, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia. June 23, 2009.

The picture above was taken from Overlook 1 at Tallulah Gorge State Park in Georgia.  The park contains six waterfalls, which made it a perfect place for Betsy and I to be on our anniversary.  I’ll tell you more about the park and the gorge itself in a future post.  Right now I simply want to say that the picture above was taken about 750 feet above of the floor of the gorge.  And I also want to direct your attention to the white water just to the right of center in the photo.  That white water is all that can be seen of Hurricane Falls from this overlook.

We had to be content with viewing the waterfalls from the rim because access to the floor of the gorge is by permit only.  So we walked along the North Rim Trail taking in the truly magnificent views.

When we got to Overlook 3 we saw a sign pointing to the trail and steps to a suspension bridge over the river above Hurricane Falls.  Since Betsy has more sense than I do, she said she would wait at the overlook while I hiked down to the bridge.  So off I went.

When I got to the bridge I admired the view and (naturally) took some pictures.  Then I noticed another sign pointing to steps leading down to the Hurricane Falls Observation Deck.  Having more curiosity than sense I started down this new set of steps.

Hurricane Falls, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia.  June 23, 2009.

Hurricane Falls, Tallulah Gorge State Park, Georgia. June 23, 2009.

Before long I found myself on a deck about five feet above the floor of the gorge with the beautiful view of Hurricane Falls seen in this second photo.  As I took more pictures I decided that the hike down was definitely worth it.

It was about then that I realized that I was now some 570 steps below Betsy and that the only way out was up.  I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but the hike up took much longer than the hike down.  On Sunday I had told my son that I didn’t feel 67.  After only about 200 of those steps up I felt each and every day of those years!

A Valentine Day Hike

February 16, 2009
Betsy and George at Short Springs State Natural Area.  February 14, 2009.

Betsy and George at Short Springs State Natural Area. February 14, 2009.

As I mentioned yesterday, Betsy and I did  some hiking and waterfalling on Valentine’s Day.  It’s becoming something of a tradition for us.  In February there tends to be more water at some of the smaller waterfalls and the bare trees make it easier to find a waterfall when bushwhacking.

The longest hike we had on Saturday was at the Short Springs State Natural Area near Manchester, Tennessee.  Short Springs has a well-developed trail system which is both well-maintained and well-marked.  We hiked the Machine Falls Loop, which got us quite close to the base of Machine Falls.

Most of the time the trail was very moderate, although the descent into the canyon containing the waterfall was very steep.  There were several stone steps that would be difficult for my short-legged beautiful bride to climb on the way up.  To continue around the loop would be a longer hike, but what would the climb up out of the canyon be like?  We didn’t know.

But one of the nice things about hiking is that you meet some of the nicest people on the trail.  While we were admiring the stream below the falls, we met a boy scout leader who was familiar with the area.  (He’s the one who took the picture above).  He recommended continuing around the loop.  The ascent up Jesus Hill — so called because he felt that would be where he would meet Jesus when climbing up — was steep but contained no rocks to climb over.  We made it up the hill (slowly)  and had a nice hike around the rest of the loop.

Most of the time when hiking we have the trail to ourselves, which we very much enjoy — it’s a great way to feel close to God’s beautiful creation.  But once in a while we meet another hiker who shows us another aspect of that beauty.