Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Monday, October 20, 2014
--Jack London (1876-1916) American short-story Writer and Novelist.
Above: Early morning shot of Grandfather Mountain from MacRae Meadows.
Sunday, October 19, 2014
--Hal Borland (1900-1978) American author and journalist.
Above: The Linn Cove Viaduct as seen from Rt. 221 below. The colors were at peak in the area in and around Grandfather Mountain this week. This weekend the leaves were a little past peak in the highest elevations where many trees had already lost their leaves. But as you can see from the shot above, there are still places that could be described as 'peak color.' I've always loved the winding Rt. 221 connecting Blowing Rock to Linville.
To the left, leaves swirl at the base of a small waterfall found beside the road.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
--Maya Angelou (1928-2014) American poet.
Above: Even a dark, stormy day could not dull the vibrant, autumn colors of Grayson Highlands. More information and directions here.
Monday, October 13, 2014
As Autumn ignites,
The leaves burn with ember glow.
They fall like ashes.
The area is great to explore (preferably on a non-rainy day). There's a nearby waterfall, a trail leading to an overlook above the tunnel, as well as picnic and camping facilities.
For directions, click here.
See also the Cherokee National Forest webpage.
Sunday, October 12, 2014
Above: The rain didn't stop people from enjoying autumn on the Virginia Creeper Trail. :) Leaves are near peak in the Mount Rogers/Grayson Highlands area. I'll be posting more pics of my trip this week.
Here's a somewhat grainy and shaky 'hyperlapse' I took of driving through the Mt. Rogers Recreation Area. What a fun app! Hard to believe, but I was driving slowly (and yes, mom, safely) -- the app speeds everything up and stabilizes the final video as well. You can see that fall is progressing very nicely in southwest Virginia!
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Sunday, October 5, 2014
|The View from Horseback Ridge looking out toward Erwin, TN|
|Roan Mountain as seen from Unaka Mountain|
|View south from Unaka Mountain Overlook|
|Looking toward Mt. Mitchell from Unaka Mtn Overlook|
--Victor Hugo (1802-1885) French poet, novelist, and dramatist.
Here are autumn scenes from Unaka Mountain. As you can see, it's not quite at peak yet. Maybe this cold snap will speed things along. There are pockets of brilliant color, but many of the mountains still have a ways to go. Still it was a beautiful day to take in the breathtaking vistas of Unaka Mountain Road.
For directions and a discussion of all there is to see and do on Unaka, click here.
Sunday, September 28, 2014
If you've been on I-26 heading from NC to TN, you may have seen the rugged cliffs off to the west within Rocky Fork, north of Flag Pond, TN, this is known as White House Cliffs. The links below will show you this view. It's not an especially long hike, just under 1.5 miles each way. But it's one of the harder hikes I've experienced in this area in terms of vertical climb in a short distance. Nothing is hand-over-hand, just a very steep trail. So be prepared for that!
|iPhone panorama of the incredible views (click photo to enlarge)|
Once on top, you can explore and climb down the from the steep, rocky pinnacle to the actual rock outcropping that is visible from the interstate. But from what I've read (again, see links below) this is very difficult and also dangerous to do. But as the dog (and I) were worn out and in need of water, I took some shots from the summit and headed back down the mountain.
Directions: Take the Flag Pond exit off of I-26 (exit #50), at the stop sign turn left onto Higgins Creek Road. Drive ½ mile, til you reach Rt. 23, turn right and travel 2 ¼ mi. thru Flag Pond, then turn left on Rocky Fork Road. Take your time driving up this road, the creek offers amazing cascades and waterfalls. After ¾ mi. you will see a gravel pull-off to the left and a small parking area. Park here (out of the way of the gate) and follow the gravel lane into Rocky Fork on foot. I think of the trail to the cliffs as broken up into three distinct segments....
|The main road within Rocky Fork|
|White House Cliffs Trail Head|
|Can you see the trail? :)|
|Survey marker where trail takes sharp turn|
Monkey's Mask (scroll down after clicking)
Far Outside the Wire
For a terrific map of the White House Cliffs Trail, click here.
For a helpful map giving an overview of the trails of Rocky Fork, click here.
The photo at the very top was my favorite from my trip... and it's from my iPhone. So glad I carried up all my gear only to have the iPhone out-perform my Nikon. Ugh. :P
Sunday, September 21, 2014
iPhone photography courses.
map here). On both sides of the island are the unique weir dams you see in the photos. Designed to aerate the river below, the waterfalls only flow when the dam is generating electricity. You can find out when they are generating by clicking here.
Here is a PDF map of the nearby area.
Because the dam generates electricity by pulling water from the bottom of South Holston Reservoir, the water in the river below the dam (called the tailwaters) is very cold. In fact, even on a hot summer day, the water temperature will only be in the mid-50s at midday. Perfect conditions for trout fishing.
Monday, September 15, 2014
Saturday, September 13, 2014
--Vincent van Gogh (1853-1890) Dutch Painter.
Above: An eastern newt, also known as a red eft. I found this little guy along the trail on Grassy Ridge, he struck a nice pose for me on this rock. :)
Monday, September 8, 2014
A shot of the the Appalachian Trail on Round Bald in the Roan Highlands. It was such a misty, foggy morning, but occasionally it would all clear away and bring a moment of clarity to the mountain. :)
Friday, September 5, 2014
--J.R.R. Tolkien (1892-1973) English Author.
Above: The Appalachian Trail on Round Bald in the Roan Highlands.
Saturday, August 30, 2014
There's not much information out there for this one. Firescald Branch Falls is a series of cascades found in the Frog Level area of Dennis Cove in Carter County, TN. While it's a long drive to get there, the good news is that it's not much of a hike. However, you will encounter thick rhododendrons on the trail, which will make climbing up the falls a challenge (and a workout). But it's worth the effort. I see from the photos linked below that I stopped short of the third tier of waterfalls here, so I'll have to go back out. I went as far as I thought the trail went, but it appears there's one more cascade beyond what I saw.
Check out Wendell Dingus' nice images of these cascades. GPS info here.
Directions: Drive up Dennis Cove Road to Frog Level. I have detailed directions and a map here. Once at the parking area for Frog Level, look to the left and you'll see a trail closely following the stream into the rhododendrons. It is probably no more than 100 feet up the trail that you'll see the first cascade. Continue on, pushing through the rhododendron thickets, and you'll discover more beautiful scenes. This is a fairly small stream, so you'll want to visit after a good rain.