Posts Tagged ‘Travels’

A Mountaintop Sunset

September 1, 2020

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

One of the joys for Betsy and I when we visit Mt. Nebo State Park in Arkansas is the sunsets we can enjoy from ‘our’ cabin when we visit in February or March. All the pictures in this post were taken on February 12, 2013.

Regardless of what we do during the day, we try to get back to the cabin before sunset. Sometimes, as in the picture above, the late afternoon gives a hint of the glorious sunset to come.

As the sun drops lower, a look to the south across the valley shows the reds, oranges and pinks of the clouds above.

For a moment the sun seems to pause just as it touches the mountains to the west and baths everything in a golden glow.

Then the sun is gone, but it leaves a reminder of the beauty of God’s creation in the sky.

Down Memory Lane: Pedestal Rocks

February 11, 2020

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When Betsy and I would visit Mt. Nebo in Arkansas, one of our favorite places to visit and hike was the Pedestal Rocks Scenic Area off of Scenic Route 7 north of Mt. Nebo.

Pedestal Rocks features “mushroom’ shaped columns sculptured by wind and weather. The “pedestals” are both fascinating and beautiful.

Pedestal Rocks is a great place to hike on a beautiful winter day.

In addition to unique shapes, many of the pedestals have lichen growing along one or more sides. Some of the colors are varied, vivid and beautiful.

Gatlinburg Skybridge

November 12, 2019

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This past September Betsy and I, along with Betsy’s son Mark and his girlfriend Robin, visited the Gatlinburg Skybridge for he first time. The Skybridge, which opened earlier in the year, is the longest (680 feet) pedestrian suspension bridge in North America.

The Skybridge is located at the top of the Skylift in Gatlinburg. Robin and Mark rode up the mountain in the chair in front of us.

The Skybridge is even more impressive when viewed from the top of the mountain.

There were quite a few people on the Skybridge, but we were still able to enjoy the views of the Smokies above Gatlinburg.

We never get tired of seeing the Smoky Mountains.

The Waterfalls of Fall Creek Falls

October 1, 2019

Cane Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2013.

If you have kept up with Betsy and me for any length of time, you know that Fall Creek Falls State Park here in Tennessee is a special place for us. It was the place for our first ‘big’ date, our first kiss, and the beginnings of our fascination with waterfalls.

I know I have posted pictures of the individual waterfalls in the park, but I don’t think I’ve done a single post that shows all the waterfalls The pictures in this post were taken over several years — we’ve visited Fall Creek Falls at least once a year since 2001. I’m showing the waterfalls in the order we usually visit them while at the park.

The waterfall above is Cane Creek Falls. The overlook for this waterfall is the first we come to after entering the park.

Rockhouse Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 22, 2019

Rockhouse Falls shares the same basin with Cane Creek Falls. Rockhouse Falls is much taller, but it is on a smaller creek and has a lower flow of water.

Cane Creek Cascades, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2013.

Cane Creek Cascade is a short distance upstream from Cane Creek Falls. In many ways the cascade is more impressive than the falls since it’s possible to get closer to it. Cane Creek Cascade is a great place to sit, relax and enjoy the beauty and the sound of water.

TributaryFalls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2018.

We discovered this little waterfall last year when the park was undergoing some renovations and a new, temporary, trail to Cane Creek Cascade was cut through the woods. I have not been able to find an official name for this waterfall nor have I found the name of the little creek that feeds it. So we refer to it as Tributary Falls.

George Hole Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2013.

I’ll admit that we’re cheating a little here. George Hole Falls is created by a small dam on Cane Creek. But we always visit this waterfall because George Hole is the site of our first kiss. We always try each year to recreate that kiss as well!

Fall Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. September 6, 2015.

The park gets its name from Fall Creek Falls, which is the biggest waterfall in the park. This picture was taken from the overlook, and although we have hiked to the base of the falls, the hike back up seems to get a little longer and a little steeper each year. So we are mostly content to admire the waterfall from the overlook.

Coon Creek Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2013

Coon Creek Falls is a smaller waterfall on a stream that shares the same basin as Fall Creek Falls. Both waterfalls can be seen from the same overlook.

Piney Falls, Fall Creek Falls State Park, Tennessee. April 21, 2011.

The last waterfall we see on our visits to the park is Piney Falls. We have to admire this waterfall from an overlook some distance away, as it would involve a hike and overnight campouts to reach the falls. So we make do with telephoto lenses for our cameras and the view from the overlook.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this quick tour of Fall Creek Falls State Park. If you have the opportunity to visit the park in person, we’re sure you will enjoy it.

Biltmore’s Walled Garden

August 27, 2019

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My Beautiful Bride and I have season passes to the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, North Carolina, and we try to visit the estate several times a year. Although we have gone into the house several times, we usually go to visit the conservatory and the gardens.

The Walled Garden is the centerpiece of the gardens at Biltmore. It was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted, as were all the gardens at Biltmore. Frederick Law Olmsted is often considered America’s foremost landscape architect.

The Walled Garden is usually the second area we visit (after the Conservatory) on each trip to Biltmore. This post show a typical Spring visit to the Walled Garden. All these photos were taken in April, 2013.

The Walled Garden features a seasonal rotation of blossoms. A long arbor covered with grape vines runs down the center of the garden.

Openings in the arbor provide a pretty frame for the tulips.

Over 50,000 tulips (and 14,000) daffodils are planted in the garden each Spring, making a beautiful display.

I was fortunate to find another type of beauty in a different section of the garden.

To see these and other images from our visit, click HERE.

Down Memory Lane: Barong and Rangda

June 11, 2019

Barong, the symbol of virtue and good in Balinese mythology.

(Note:  All pictures may be enlarged by clicking on them once or twice. These images are scanned from slides taken in 1987)

On one of the first days we were in Bali, our group was taken to an outdoor theater to see a traditional Balinese dance drama that depicted the struggle between Barong and Rangda. The dance represents the eternal battle between good and evil.

Rangda, the symbol of evil.

Barong is a symbol of health and good fortune, while Rangda is a child-eating witch who leads an army of evil witches against the forces of good — Barong.

Queen Dewi Kunti and her stepson, who will be sacrificed to placate the anger of Rangda.

In the version of the story we saw, the stepson of the queen was to be sacrificed to placate the anger of Rangda.

Unti, a minister of Dewi Kunti

The king sent his prime minister to deal with Rangda, although he was unsuccessful.  His failure set the stage for the battle between Barong and Rangda.

The dance/drama was definitely interesting and provided a glimpse into traditional Balinese culture.

To see larger versions of these pictures, as well as others from the performance, click HERE.

Down Memory Lane: Dublin

April 9, 2019

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In May of 2002 I was working as a systems analyst at a plant fairly close to our home in Hendersonville, Tennessee. The plant was run by an Irish company, and I was sent by my boss to work on a software project at company headquarters in Dublin, Ireland.

Although my trip was definitely a business trip, I was put up at a very nice hotel on the outskirts of Dublin, as you can see from the photo above.

The hotel was far enough out of the city that I could get some nice views of the beautiful Irish countryside.

One evening after work an Irish colleague took me to dinner at an Irish pub and then on a quick tour of Dublin. One of the places we saw was Dublin Castle. We were able to get into the courtyard of the castle for a quick look-around. Bedford Hall (above) in the castle caught my attention.

After we left the courtyard we walked around the exterior of the castle for a few minutes.

Later, on a Dublin street, I saw this statue of Molly Malone. Of course, that reminded me of the song, which ran through my head for the rest of the night!

You can see additional pictures of my Dublin visit by clicking HERE.

Wyoming Morning

January 29, 2019

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Betsy and I had a long day of driving when we started home from our western trip, so we left Jackson, Wyoming, while it was still dark. Getting up that early is not much fun, but on this day it paid off beautifully.

The sun started to rise about the time we reached the Hoback Canyon. Although we couldn’t see the sun, the clouds in the sky above us turned a brilliant crimson. When we rounded a curve we could see the sky reflected in the Hoback River (above) so of course we had to stop.

We really had problems deciding which was the most amazing — the reflection in the water or the sky above.

The sky remained gorgeous even as the canyon widened. It was an amazing morning and left us with unforgettable memories of Wyoming.

Desoto Falls

May 1, 2018

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Betsy and I have been to Desoto State Park in Alabama several times. It’s a wonderful park with waterfalls, hiking trails and a beautiful mountain setting. One of the main attractions of the park is Desoto Falls. All of these pictures are from a visit we made to the falls in 2013. This was part of a birthday surprise that Betsy had arranged for me.

There is a dam just above Desoto Falls which forms Desoto State Park Lake. Although the dam is not part of the waterfall, it too, is a beautiful sight.

The official viewing area for Desoto Falls offers only a side view of the waterfall. It’s a nice view, but Betsy and I had seen pictures of the waterfall from a different vantage point and we wanted to find it.

After talking to one of the park rangers we were told that it was possible to bushwhack to a view of the falls by following a primitive trail almost two miles from the official viewing area. We found the trailhead without too much difficulty and hiked back toward the waterfall.

After a while we were rewarded with this view of Desoto Falls. We weren’t as close we were at the official viewing area, but we both liked the view we were able to enjoy.

In some ways we hope that the primitive trail is not upgraded — we can keep this beautiful spot as our very own secret.

Monument Valley

February 27, 2018

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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.