Tut tut looks like rain or at least it did when I took this. Now…

Tut tut looks like rain or at least it did when I took this. Now it’s just clear, sunny, and boring.

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Rhododendrons, Fiddle Music, The AT, and a Blue Plum

Walking out of the evergreen forest you walk through this amazing tunnel of flowers.

Walking out of the evergreen forest you walk through this amazing tunnel of flowers.

A few years ago I found out that a favorite performer of mine was going to be playing about 3 hours away on a Friday night. I promptly took the day off and headed East…way East… almost North Carolina East (TN is a long state). I went to Johnson City for the first time that I can remember and I was impressed with the beauty of the city framed by the mountains behind it. I admit that I still don’t know what a Blue Plum is or why is has a festival of it’s own, but it was a fun evening of music.

I intended to head up to the mountains the next morning and take a little hike on the Appalachian Trail, just a short day trip out and back. People that I talked with in town said ” Oh it should be so pretty up on Roan Mohntain. It’s rhododendron time up there.” It sure was pretty but I was not accustomed to hiking at 5800-6000 feet and tired out before I got all of my hike in.

I only mention all of this because the Blue Plum Festival is coming up June 6-8 this year and from what I saw last weekend the timing should be perfect to catch the rhododendron in full bloom on Roan Mountain.

If you time it just right, and catch the blooms, you will be greeted by one of the prettiest sights in the Southeast.


View from above Carver's Gap

View from above Carver’s Gap

Roan Mountain is in the background

Roan Mountain is in the background

And if they are not blooming yet or you are too late the view is still pretty wonderful.

The view from Round Bald

The view from Round Bald



So then what happened?

After the bears didn’t show up for our dinner meeting, I decided to take the hunt to them.  So Sunday we drove around trying to find the hiking trails using what must be the first map ever drawn by the directionally challenged.

I think it was actually an after thought and hand drawn on a different kind of map.Wacky Mappy

It looks simple enough but These roads don’t even line up and the only trail marker I found had a sign beside it that said “Stay Out. Private Property”.  Unless that is North Carolina’s way of saying “Hello hikers and welcome” I think I was in the wrong place.


Later that afternoon, with that failure fresh in my mind, I decided to try to get a few shots from the drive up pull-out off of the main road since the air was so clear.  I have never see less haze , which is perfect since I no longer have a polarized filter. This is the best of the shots that afternoon.  Someday I am going to learn to put the camera on the tripod, which was 15 feet away in the car, but I am always so confident that I can hold the camera perfectly still.

Clear Mountain Air

Clear Mountain Air


So…Here I wait

The Property manager told me there were bears that came through here every day to steal food from the disposal bins. So here I am sitting out without my normal bear hunt companion, my sister or as I refer to her, Bait.

If I see one you will be the first ones to know. Well except for maybe the bear. It’s cool and refreshing out here regardless.


Followup: Not a single bear was spotted.  I believe however it was too cold for them to be out and about, at least that is what finally drove me inside.

Time to get started again.


I started this site just before life happened.  It’s taken me a while to get back around to writing it, but it has been in the back of my mind all along and I’ve been posting (but not publishing) ideas for when I got back to it.  I really like telling the stories behind some of the pictures. Recently I was reminded that I really should share.  Someone was looking at a picture that has confused many people. I explained that what you are seeing is an illusion and she said, you should put that on the back of the picture.

I hope to keep it interesting, If I don’t you are free to tell me to pick up my game.

April Fools Joke from 2012

"Be willing to be a beginner every single morning."~Meister EckhI intended to start April 2012 with some sunrise pictures from one of my favorite spots. The weather forecast seemed to indicate that there would be fog. I knew that if I got there early enough I could get some pictures of fog laying in the valley since my vantage point would be 100’s of feet higher

Alarm goes off and I’m up.  All is packed and ready, just let the dogs run while the coffee gets going and I had an hour and a half to drive to my spot and hike about a half mile.

Well the dogs, mainly the big fluffy husky named Kudluk, decided it was a good morning to play an April Fools joke on me and headed out for a long run.  After about 45 minutes I get him back into the house and it is now a Plan B kind of morning.  I decided to head to a place much closer to home but not as high above the valley.

When I got to the parking area I realized I had lost a lot of time and I hiked about twice my normal pace to get into place to grab a few shots.  This was one was probably shortly after I arrived and still out of breath.  Once I got home and downloaded the images I realized it was a better picture than one I had in mind when I headed out.

So if you like this one give a little “Thank you” to Kudluk for delaying me.  I did.


Sometimes there is no place like home


After the biggest snowfall of the year I decided to go take some pictures of the white powdery stuff. I left my home where there was maybe 4 inches (it’s TN. That’s a big snow). I drove through three different counties looking for that perfect shot. There was no snow to speak of anywhere. So I came home.

Back home the snow was still slowly falling and I decided to try my hand at a macro snowflake picture. This is what I got. So sometimes it’s true…there is no place like home.