Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Hickey Fork Waterfall Trail

Today's hike was on a  little known trail in the mountains around Laurel in Madison County, North Carolina. It was an absolutely terrific hike -- and great weather: cloudy with a threat of rain-- a little bit of wind.  The trail is mostly covered with lots and lots of wildflowers, downed trees and rhododendron. There were also a lot of tall majestic hardwoods.

The destination was a couple of waterfalls -- both were extremely difficult to photograph without climbing down a very steep bank covered with dead brush and trees.  I had hoped to reach the base of the upper falls, but again, too difficult.

Cool Bridge at the Hickey Fork Waterfall Trailhead

Unidentified Please Help!

Dwarf Irises

Unidentified - Please Help!

Lower Falls

Upper Falls


If a tree falls in the forest.....
This trail is very remote and I really felt that I had stepped back into time. The only tell-tale sign was the sound of an occasional plane high over head.

Feel free to help identify some of the wildflowers above!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Spring Creek Nature Trail

I'm lucky.

In February, I decided to take some time off from work and simply live and live simply.

It has been a sometimes challenging experience. Notably, the sense of guilt of not working. Getting beyond this "guilt" led to living.

A typical day begins with a visit to the gym and then a three or four hour hike -- usually within National Forests in western North Carolina and eastern Tennessee. Lately, I've blown off the gym and gone straight for the hike.

Today's hike was most memorable and reminded me of the reason that I decided to spend spring in the mountains for the first time in a decade or so.

As I walked along a beautiful river, on a trail shaded by tall evergreens, oaks and poplars and rhododendrons -- I realized just how lucky I was to be able to just be -- within the wilderness -- amongst the croaking frogs, the rush of the nearby river and the cacophony of birds.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring in the North Carolina Mountains

Rhododendron at Bluff Mountain Campground near Hot Springs

Spring Creek at Bluff

Pond at Mill Ridge along the Appalachian Trail

Logs and Trees along the Appalachian Trail near Mill Ridge

Sunday, April 24, 2011

First 24 Hours With a Kindle

I admit. I'm addicted. The Kindle is absolutely great. When I first heard about these digital readers I had vowed never to give up traditional books. I am keeping that vow, but am adding the Kindle to my collection.

There are many cool things about the Kindle, but my favorite is the ability to quickly download many, many books for free. Lots and lots of classics that I've always wanted to read, but never did purchase.  For instance, the Scarlet Pimperel, The Memoirs of US Grant, Scaramouche, Venus in Furs, etc.

And new discoveries -- The Gardener by Rabindranath Tagore, Bushido, the Soul of Japan by Inazo Nitobe and Pagan and Christian Creeds: Their Origin and Meaning by Edward Carpenter. This one kept me up late last evening -- burning the midnight night light....on my new Kindle.