Friday, November 27, 2015

Last colors of Autumn-- a hike in the woods

Winter is soon to be upon us -- although these last few days  have been unseasonably warm --- the cold is coming and Autumn will be just a memory. A few weeks ago we took off on a little last minute hiking trip to McCloud's Mountain in Duff, TN. On top of the mountain, 2700 ft in the clouds,... our walks in the woods were filled with color and brisk fresh air.  There are no words to describe the beauty that we found on top of that mountain. Come along with us on an incredible walk in the woods... 

 starting out early in the morning,
the air was brisk and clear..

there were no marked trails,
so we followed the paths
that led along the

we followed the ridge
for hours,
the views of the valley below
were incredible...

the drive up the mountain 
is quite an experience!!
A little nerve wracking to say
the least!
this beautiful fence is
located at one of the overlooks
as you drive up the

we spent two nights 
at the lodge on top of the mountain...
this is a sunset view
from the balcony...

  view of the valley below
as the late evening sun began
to set..

the day we arrived to the mountain
was rainy and overcast,
the clouds hung low...
this photo was taken from 
the restaurant near the lodge..

  I was a little disappointed 
that it was rainy the evening we arrived,
but when I say the low hanging clouds,
I could not stop taking photos!!

this photo was taken
from inside the lodge restaurant...
I snapped the picture just at that moment
when the sun peeked out
between the clouds and cast
an incredible glow over everything...

beginning our second day
of early morning

 we took off
 on some of the old logging roads
that criss crossed the top of
the mountain...

we tried to drive down one of the roads,
in search of a rumored trail that led to 
an old stone chimney..
but the road got pretty rough,
so we parked and took off
from there...

we never found the stone chimney,
but we had a wonderful
hike through the woods...
(we will find it next time!!)

the sunlight made the colors
so bright..
it almost did not look 

early morning sunrise
from our balcony at the lodge...
I posted this photo on my Instagram
page and it was featured by the
Official Tennessee Instagram page
on their site...
it had almost 5000 hits!
If you have an Instagram account,
I would love for you to follow me

sunrise glow across the valley...

 a wonderful place to sip
an early morning coffee...

an amazing sky walk is located at the
top of the mountain...
over 32 stone chimney outcroppings
are located here on this property--
a beautiful sky walk traverses the 
stone chimneys and allows for
incredible views of the valley and mountains 
in the distance..

and then we heard this rumor
about a natural stone arch
that was located someplace on the mountain...

no maps, no trails,
just some scattered info that we
learned from a few folks that we talked to....
we didn't hold out much hope..

but.... we found it!!
down some rickety rusty old steps
and into a crevice between the mountains...
a beautiful natural arch...
a perfect way to end our
last day on the 

 I wanted to share this photo
of this quaint little church
at the foot of the mountain...
one tiny little room..
there were 3 outhouse in the
backyard of the church!
Like a step back in time...

Notes from me...
Happy and Blessed Thanksgiving to you all.  I had to work on the holiday, those babies still have to have someone to take care of them, and this year it was my turn.  Our family and friends have given us tons of left overs and we will be eating turkey for days to come!  I am thankful for my family and friends,and for numerous blessings in my life.  My blogging friends are one of those wonderful blessings...thank you for being here for me and for allowing me to share with you as I do here on my blog.

For those of you who have followed along on the "Josephine's Children project".... Josephine has shared photos of the children using their craft items and making wonderful creations with the treasures that you donated for them.  I will be sharing those photos with  you in my next blog post.  

We are beginning to decorate for Christmas around here... 


Monday, November 2, 2015

Our Cruise day in Tortola... a visit to the Baths at Virgin Gorda

Over the past few years, I've taken you to places all over the Caribbean... but this time, I'm taking you someplace new.  A picturesque, tranquil setting that words cannot describe. A place that seems almost too beautiful to be real...

 the Virgin Gorda Bath's
are a geological wonder comprised of
awe-inspiring granite boulders,...

 we traveled to this amazing place
on a cruise day
when our ship was docked at the
neighboring island of
(getting to Virgin Gorda required a 45 minute
ferry ride across the ocean)

follow me to the beautiful beach
and the area known as
 the Bath's...
getting there will be a bit of an adventure..
we will need to hike a rocky path
and maneuver our way around and over
some large boulders~

 follow me...
as we start down the path~

 the path,
(and I use that term loosely!)
is covered with tangled roots,
and rocks of all sizes..

the space between these two boulders
 was very narrow--
I could only get one of my legs
through the narrow crevice..

getting down this "path"
was definitely a bit challenging..

and then,...
there was this lovely space!!

some places had a narrow 
wooden walk and some steps...
that was the easy part!

and then you come to this...
the most beautiful turquoise waters
surrounded by these amazing boulders~
and all you can say is,

the boulders form
little sheltered sea pools
at the edge of the beach,
the crystal clear waters are as  warm
a bath.
(but then you already guessed that, didn't you!)

 some of these folks were part of our group
 that hiked the path to the beach,
but others arrived
by swimming in from boats 
that were  anchored out away
from the rocks...

in a word...
how can you describe this place?

the Gardener was in
"snorkel" heaven at this amazing place...
I just sort of 
floated around...

 the boats anchored
out from the rocks must have
had an amazing view of this
beautiful place...
 but wait...
there's more!!
on the other side of the boulders
is a secret little beach
known as "Devil's Bay"
in order to get to that beach,
we will need to make our way 
through this cave!
to start...
we will need to crawl through 
this narrow entrance
behind us to get into the cave!
the water inside
the cave is about knee deep
and is very warm...
 (are you following me on Instagram?)
some of these photos
were taken from my Instagram
please do stop by and say Hi to me
if you are an Instagram user..
you can find me
 some places are dry
and we will need to climb up and down
some stairs to navigate around
 the boulders...

and in some places...
we will need to hold our breath
and pretend to be "skinny"!
 and finally,...
the cave opens up
 and once again, 
you say, 

exiting the cave...
(one of my most favorite pictures
from our entire collection of cruise photos..)

grabbing a quick photo
just outside the 
one of the views
 from Devil's Bay Beach
(the Gardener says that the snorkeling
around these rocks was amazing!)
 another beautiful view of 
Devil's Bay Beach 
 doesn't everybody take
"silly selfies" ?
 last photo of the day..
right before we started up
another tangled and rocky path
that would lead us to the top of the hill.
a ferry ride back to Tortola
and then back to our cruise ship~
our day in Virgin Gorda
was nothing short of
thanks so much for coming
along with us..

A note from me...
well, you probably thought I was never coming back to my blog..I've had computer woes. Ugh!  There is nothing more frustrating to me that having to deal with computer issues..I feel totally helpless because heaven knows that I know NOTHING about how to fix a computer.  Fortunately, my husband is pretty good at fixing most things, and he is very patient as well, because he has to listen to me bemoan the fact that my computer is broken.  (Yet another reason why he is such a great guy! )
Hopefully, we are all fixed now and I will be back much SOONER with another post.  We are just back from a glorious Autumn trip to the mountains and an incredible hiking adventure.  Keep your hiking shoes handy.... we are hitting the mountain tops next!