Thursday, August 17

around the house...


{Norman}
hello.

can i help you?

ugh whatever...

now what?

well that is a good angle of my tail...

ugh this is exhausting being good looking...

Zzzzz...

{Contessa}
great now your coming to me?

NOT looking.

SERIOUSLY.  So you just move? {catitude}

not gonna look, I don't care what you say.

fine...  but I'm not happy about it.

still not happy.

i'm outta hear!

wait was that a bird?

Monday, August 7

Mount Mitchell + some falls...

A few weeks ago Joe and I decided to take some time off of work and visit western North Carolina.  Some of our favorite type of adventuring: hiking and waterfall chasing.

The first waterfall we ventured to was not impressive for several reasons: one it was in dappled light and two there were a bunch of people and kids playing around and there was just not enough room to get a worthy photograph to post...  So that one will probably never make an appearance outside of my computer.  However, we did make it to two additional water falls.  The first one was rather quiet and secluded.


Toms Creek Falls (near Little Switzerland)





Joe behind the falls.




It was necessary to pop in the frame and touch it.


I didn't feel like venturing behind the waterfall.  (:


Crabtree Falls

We visited Crabtree falls (below) a few years ago, but decided to make another trip over there.  It's probably one of my favorite waterfalls in NC as it is a mere 70 foot tall drop.  However, when we arrived there were a TON of girls there.  We assume it was some sort of camp outing from nearby.  Joe was disappointed to not have his portrait made in front of it and I'm sure I will never hear the end of it...



Overlook on the blue ridge parkway.


Wicked clouds and a small rain shower.


One of Joe's "bucket list" items was to hike to the summit of Mount Mitchell, which is also in western North Carolina.  Mount Mitchell is the highest peak east of the Mississippi with an elevation of 6,684.  The hike roundtrip is approximately 11.4+ miles from the Black Mountain Campground (total elevation gain of 3,689 feet).  It's a rough terrain with roots and rocks that's for sure with a pretty steep elevation.  Typically when we hike we know it's about a 30 minute hike per mile, so we assumed it would be about a 3 hour hike up and a little less than 3 hours back.  Once the 3 hour mark hit and we were NOT near the top, I we both sort of had a mental fallout.  There were no signs at the bottom of the trail indicating how long it would take to get up, only signs to watch and call for bears.  It ended up taking us 3 hours and 45 minutes to get to the summit - which when we found the sign at the top of the mountain with details of the hike....  it stated approximately 5 hours and 20 minutes to get to the bottom.  Going down should be faster...  I guess that made us feel slightly better that we made it in good time, however we still had to make the 3 hour and 30 minute hike down the mountain and attempt to miss the afternoon storms we knew were on it's way.  A little nerve-racking I would say.

On a random note - intermittently throughout the hike when things were quiet, I would say HEY BEAR!  Joe would laugh every time I said it, but the sign at the campground said black bears were present - so you should talk in general and also if it's quiet for a bit call out to them with HEY BEAR.  I was just doing what I was told one should do!  I requested this sweatshirt for good reason.

In the last hour or so, felt really long...  Both of us felt like our feet were made of cement and I almost slipped on a mud hole and also caught my foot on a tree root and almost face planted.  Thank goodness for trekking poles!  On our way down, we realized why people camp on the mountain to hike up and down.  It started to make more sense when we saw tents around.

NOTE: we would NOT recommend taking the Higgens Bald split at least in Summer.  It was very overgrown and brush and foliage enclosed a lot of areas and who wants to be touched with weird plants and possibly get some sort of rash.  Fortunately, neither of us got any sort of rashes, but better to be on the safe side next time.

I only brought the camera out at the top of the mountain as there weren't any great overlooks on the way up.  So I only made a few up at the top - which was slightly disappointing as you were literally IN the clouds so the view was a minimum.  But what a feat - we did it!







Once we made it down to the bottom about 10-15 minutes from getting to the car and trying to cleanup before our 4 hour drive home the skies let out.  Heavy rain with what I would call white out conditions while driving about 20 miles per hour, lightening and thunder, wind and listening to the radio we were under a warning including the threat of hail.  It was quite the storm and we knew that God was watching out for us as we barely missed this storm by 10-15 minutes with an almost 8 hour hike!  I can't imagine trying to get down the mountain in that even though we did come prepared with rain gear.

Once we got to the car, I was reminded of a How I Met Your Mother episode when Barney ran a marathon and took the subway home. (marathon video clip)  Even though we are both runners and do train for long distance races, the way we felt the next morning was worse than running a half marathon.  I'm going to need a little mental preparation and time for healing to do something like that again.

Tuesday, July 25

her chair


85mm - ISO 1250 - f / 2.8 - 1/200ss

This is Contessa's chair.  It's a horrid color green, the springs are broken and the wood is beat up.  The chair itself is full of cat hair even with a cat bed in it.  It's so hairy that neither of us attempt to sit in it and it's a lost cause to even clean it because it will be haired up only 5 minutes later.  Little does she know a replacement chair will be arriving at some point this year...  As long as her little bed is there, I think she will be justtttttt fine.

Friday, July 7

taking stock: part 5

35mm ISO 3200, f/1.8, 1/250 ss

Making: We recently finished painting 'new' bedroom dressers!  As you will note in the photo above, those particular dressers are now gone and have been replaced with 'new' freshly painted white dressers to match the rest of our master bedroom furniture.
Cooking: New carb-free and low-carb recipes.
Drinking: Water.  Mostly always water.  I drowned myself in it really.
Reading: A Court of Mist and Fury (book 2)
Listening: to the a/c run.
Wanting: for our late summer and fall travel adventures to come sooner!
Looking: for clarity.
Wasting: time on my phone.  I really need to quit that habit...
Sewing: tulle dresses for photoshoots.
Wishing: I could just lay down and take a nap right now.
Enjoying: the a/c...
Waiting: for fall to come sooner.  Why is it that we always wish for the opposite season and not enjoy the one we are in?  When it's summer we want fall / winter.  When it's winter we want spring / summer...  When it's fall, well I want it to always be fall.  (:
Liking: 'new' television shows.  We just started watching Modern Family which is pretty funny.
Wondering: what the next season will bring in life.  Always a wonder for me.
Loving: Fridays.  Fridays are my favorite as it's the last day of the work week for the hubs.  That means at home date night.  TV and take-out.  Fave.
Hoping (praying): Praising God that I am feeling better.  In early June I had another episode (almost 10 years later) of gastritis.  I waited almost an entire month to go to the doctor as I tried to just eat a clean diet and things didn't clear up.  With that being said this last month has been quite tough on my physically and spiritually.  So after about a weeks worth of stomach meds (3 more weeks to go) and a good report of an ultrasound on my gallbladder, kidney and pancreas this week, I can say I am finally on the mend.  Thank you Jesus!
Marveling: at the birds.  Animals (and many other things) are such an amazing creation.
Needing: nothing.
Smelling: pumpkin scented candle.  It's not the appropriate season, but it makes me happy.
Wearing: lots of shorts and bare feet.
Following: nothing really.
Noticing: how some things that seem hard can be such a blessing.
Knowing: that I love my husband always and forever...
Thinking: I need to be less selfish always at times.
Bookmarking: hiking gear.
Opening: a box (new shoes).
Giggling: over the cats obsessions with the bathtub faucet, but now tired of it.  What is wrong with their twice filtered water?  #spoiled
Feeling: alright.

Previous taking stock:
part 1
part 2
part 3
part 4

Friday, June 16

weekender in the mile high city

Last weekend Joe and I made a quick trip out to Denver.  We apparently brought the North Carolina summer heat with us as it was HOT out.  Like mid-90's and sorta humid for Colorado.  We really only came prepared with summer clothes as we didn't know there would still be snow in the mountains as you will see us freezing our tails off later.

We only had one day to adventure in the mountains and in English fashion, we got up very early and headed over to the Red Rocks Amphitheater.  We had to waste a little time hiking around as every Saturday they have Yoga at the Rocks at the Amphitheater.  I will say, it would be a pretty cool place to see a concert.





At this point I was sadly out of breath - the thin air really does effect you.









Red Rock Amphitheater



Our next stop was to drive on the scenic byway up to Mount Evans.  The tallest paved highway in America.  We made it about 13 miles up and then had to turn around due to the loss of cell service.  We needed to check-in at the airport so we could get decent seats.  On our flight out, we didn't get to sit together and we were in the wayyyyy back.  So.... we didn't want that to happen on our return home!





You can see the snowcapped mountains in the photo above (hardly)


Sound of Music anyone?



We stopped at Echo Lake prior to driving up to the top of Mount Evans.  Beautiful lake!


Saturday, June 10th was National Go Outside Day so we didn't have to pay the entry fee in.  Woo hoo!  Once we started up to Mount Evans I think we both had a little 'anxiety' over the high altitude.  To everyone we mentioned about going up there was warning us of feeling sick, yadda yadda.  Fortunately, both of us felt mostly fine with the exception of me white knuckling it up almost the entire drive as there was NO guard rail and an immediate falloff with lots of switchbacks.





It was freezing at the top!  Literally I think my lips were blue and had goose bumps over my entire body...  BUT BOTH of us had to make a quick photo in the snow.




Thankfully there was another guy at the top of the mountain who felt comfortable using my camera as a tripod was NOT going to be an option up here due to the wind.  PLUS I was able to make his picture as well.


You can see the few people above hiking to the top-top.  Joe THANKFULLY didn't want to hike up there either as neither of us were dressed appropriately.







Sheep crossing


It was very odd that the sheep stopped in the middle of the road and then started licking the pavement.  I'm not sure if it was the water or maybe salt that they were interested in?  There was a lot of non-frozen water around.


We needed to find some lunch fast as we were both hungry.  We stopped in a cute little town called Idaho Springs to have lunch (Tommy Knockers - highly recommended).  We had to meet up with colleagues for dinner, so we didn't have enough time to adventure very far from here - so we walked around the shops to buy candies and ummm a souvenir flannel for Amanda.  Surprise surprise right?  Then we headed a little further on the byway towards the Rocky Mountain National Park (no intention of making it there).



That was some frigid water!  I had to go touch it.



I thought it was funny to hitch-hike


See ya next time Colorado!