(to be continued...)
Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Costa Rica trip
(to be continued...)
Sunday, February 20, 2011
Spring is not far off now!
Having flowers in my yard helps me survive the winter! However, I know not to get too excited, we nearly always have a few more cold snaps before spring offically arrives.
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Yellow Crocus and warbler rump!
Monday, January 10, 2011
Snow in East Tennessee!
It was a good day to photograph the birds too. I got a kick out of this angry-looking little Song Sparrow sitting on the patio railing up to his chest in snow. I couldn't resist adding this caption! :) Other birds included this White-throated Sparrow I shot through the patio railing.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
We spent three days in Milton, FL visiting my parents. Unfortunately, we missed the first white Christmas that Oak Ridge has had since the early 1990's! Grrrr! :( It was wonderful to get to spend time with my folks though!
I have been excited to see a couple of uncommon birds (to me, at least). A little Brown Creeper came to the tree behind the house yesterday. I had seen one a few years ago, but couldn't get a good photo of it. Fortunately, this one stuck around long enough for me to put my telephoto lens on my camera and get a few shots.
The other bird was a pretty little Ruby-crowned Kinglet, it was the first time I had seen this bird. I managed to get only one shot before it took off, it is a pretty crazy photo!
Happy New Year to my blog readers! Have a wonderful, nature-filled 2011!
Sunday, December 19, 2010
Piney Falls hike
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Our Halloween hike
We saw some pretty fall colors along the way, including these Red Maple leaves. I liked this half-red, half-green leaf!
One thing I saw along the trail really irritated me, I HATE it when inconsiderate people spray paint graffitti on anything, but ESPECIALLY on the beautiful rocks along the trails! I wonder how the person who vandalized this cliff with religious graffitti would feel if someone came into his or her church and wrote environmental messages on the walls!? I hope it wasn't a student from nearby Bryan College in Dayton (from the Stokes Monkey Trial fame), they should know better!
Parts of the trail are very rocky. There are some of the biggest boulders in the creek that I have ever seen, some are the size of a small house! I turned on the camera as we walked over one rocky part of the trail. I didn't realize how much noise I make when I walk through the leaves and over the rocks, I sound like a pack horse!
The trail to Snow Falls eventually crosses the creek by way of a 150-ft. bridge over some of those huge boulders. The first boulder has posts with cables and grooves cut into the rock to make walking on it a bit safer. I'd love to know how the trail crews got those long pieces of railing back there!
From this point, the trail took a steep turn up the side of the gorge. It was approximately 1 mile of 8 switchbacks to gain 700 feet in elevation! As we hiked along the trail Kenny suddenly stopped and motioned for me to come up to him quietly. At first I couldn't see what he was pointing at, finally I saw a beautiful Mourning Cloak butterfly resting in the leaves. They are quite shy creatures, so I was surprised to be able to get so close to it.
After hiking up and up and up over several boulder fields such as the one on the right, we finally made it to the rim of the gorge. The trail has lots of white trail blazes painted on the trees, but at the top some were painted on the bare rock. Just past the powerlines, we were rewarded with a fabulous view of where we had hiked. I've drawn a rough sketch of the trail in red. From here, we still had about another 1/2-mile to go to reach Snow Falls.
This area was once owned by the Bowater Paper company. The upper parts had been logged, the more inaccessable sides of the gorge had not. It was obvious that we were walking in a younger, second-growth forest up on top. After crossing a dirt road that led to a clearcut area, the trail came to another creek. Fortunately, the water was low enough that we could easily walk across it. Finally, the trail started losing elevation and we could hear falling water, we knew we were getting close to Snow Falls! We could not find a trail to go to the bottom of the falls, so we had to stay at the top. I hung on to a tree to get out far enough to take this photo!
After a picnic lunch, we packed up and hiked the 3 miles back to the car. It was a strenuous hike, but we were glad we did it!