Fitness, Food and Photography

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Weekend Recap: Part 2

(This is a continuation from Part 1.  You can read it here.)

So, we’re still in NC and it’s Sunday morning.

Check out the gorgeous trees in the background.

Since the house they are renting now is a bit small, it’s become a tradition that we pitch a tent in her front yard.  Fine with us.  It satisfies hubby’s need to go camping, and I suppose can rough it for two nights.  🙂

This was our view from the tent on Sunday morning … so peaceful.

Both my kids love her dog!

That face is too funny, but what you don’t see is that she is actually looking at the fire and “blowing” on it.

Sweet pic of my kids.

After breakfast, we walked over to the field next to her house to feed the horses a few apples.

My kids kept picking flowers out of her yard.  Sorry, Joy.

Time to harvest some tomatoes!!  Look at that bounty.  Little Lucy couldn’t stop eating them.  I think she may have had about 12.

Then we headed to Downtown Bakersville to check out their new gallery.  Both my sister-in-law, Joy Tanner, and her hubby, Will Baker, are potters.  They are owners in this Gallery, Mica.

Will Baker and Joy Tanner

After a quick lunch in the park to let the kids run (sorry, no pics!), we drove up to Roan Mountain.  Yes, we are conquering two mountains in two days!


View from the top of Roan Mtn

Notice the hat, gloves and scarves??  It was very chilly up in the higher elevations.

We must have worn the kids out because they both slept the majority of the 3-hour car ride home.  (Hallelujah!)

I wish I could share with you all the photos I took, but I’m afraid I would exceed WordPress’s upload limit.  So I’ll just leave you with my favorite one…


Weekend Recap: Fall Break and Mt Mitchell

Hubby’s sister lives in Western North Carolina.  It’s been a tradition every year to spend a weekend at their house during the summer.  This year, she was too busy during the July weekends to host us, so we put it off til October.  Boy, am I glad we did!!  This was the most PERFECT weekend to drive to North Carolina!  The trees were at their peak, and the colors were magnificent.

(I took over 400 pictures during the course of the weekend, so it took me some time to go through them all, edit them, and get them ready for a post.)

We drove up late Friday afternoon and didn’t arrive til after 7pm.  The kids were pretty good little travelers.  My 7-year old falls asleep pretty much every time he gets in the car.  But my 2-year old doesn’t like to miss anything.  She got a little mad that brother was sleeping instead of playing with her.

The fall colors were beautiful!

While drinking our coffee on Saturday morning, we made our plans for the day.  The first item on the agenda was a short little hike to a gorgeous waterfall.

hiking trail

waterfall roaring fork falls

Roaring Fork falls, Western NC

family photo time

Driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway

We stopped for lunch at little picnic table by the water.

My kids love Subway!

Random photo op at a campground

We drove up to Mt. Mitchell, which is not only the highest point in North Carolina, but also the highest peak east of the Mississippi River.  The temperature at that elevation dropped at least 20 degrees from the valley.  And the wind was fierce.  We were seriously FREEZING!

mt mitchell

We hiked pretty much the whole day on Saturday with some driving in between.  A LOT of driving actually – on curvy mountain roads.  But I didn’t mind – there was so much to see.

Spooky forest on top of Mt Mitchell

View from the top of Mt Mitchell


And that concludes Saturday’s adventures.  Stay tuned for Part 2!  Many more photos to come!!  🙂


Weekly Photo Challenge: Solitary

From WordPress:  Solitary. I love capturing a person in a quiet and often unexpected moment. These kinds of images can be reflective, mysterious, or even sad, conjuring strong emotions and stirring up stories in my head. I snapped this photograph in the grand Hagia Sophia in Istanbul, Turkey. That afternoon, it was very busy and crowded inside, but I turned a corner at one point and walked into the empty, bright, airy space pictured above. I experienced a few moments of silence as I watched a woman walk to the end of the room. We were strangersyet alone, together. A solitary moment, frozen with my lens.

Share a picture that means SOLITARY to you!


To me, nothing is more solitary than being alone in the woods.  Reflection time.


Or maybe a bird alone on the top of a mountain.


New to The Daily Post? Whether you’re a beginner or a professional, you’re invited to get involved in our Weekly Photo Challenge to help you meet your blogging goals and give you another way to take part in Post a Day / Post a Week. Everyone is welcome to participate, even if your blog isn’t about photography.

Here’s how it works:

1. Each week, we’ll provide a theme for creative inspiration. You take photographs based on your interpretation of the theme, and post them on your blog (a new post!) anytime before the following Friday when the next photo theme will be announced.

2. To make it easy for others to check out your photos, title your blog post “Weekly Photo Challenge: (theme of the week)” and be sure to use the “postaday″ tag.

3. Subscribe to The Daily Post so that you don’t miss out on weekly challenge announcements. Sign up via the email subscription link in the sidebar or RSS


Hike: Alum Cave Trail to Mt. Leconte

Distance:  11 miles (roundtrip)

Elevation:  6,593 (highest point)

Difficulty:  moderate to strenuous

Time:  Allow at least 4-5 hours

To find the trailhead, drive 8.7 miles past the Sugarlands Visitor Center on Newfound Gap Road.  The parking lot will be on the left.  (Only about a 45 minute drive from Knoxville).

alum cave trail to mt leconte

alum cave trail to mt leconte

After we biked 11 miles at Cades Cove on Saturday, we thought hiking 11 miles was a great way to round out the day.  LOL

After all, the theme of the weekend was to do things we couldn’t do with kids around.  And we certainly can’t hike to the top of the mountain with a 7-year old and a 2-year old.  (The 2-year old is too heavy to carry and the 7-year old would just whine about his legs hurting the whole way).

hazy day at newfound gap

This was the view from Newfound Gap.  The clouds and fog were so thick you could barely see the mountains.  This was how the hike started.  We were afraid we might get rained on, but we didn’t completely care.

waterfall smoky mountains

So much to see — waterfalls, bridges, rocks, views – this trail has it all.

bridge smoky mountains

About a mile into the trail, you reach Arch Rock.  The stairs have been cut so you can walk through.

arch rock smoky mountains

alum cave smoky mountains

Then, 2.2 miles into the trail, you come to Alum Cave.  I wouldn’t really call this a cave, more like a really big rock.  But whatever.

overlook view alum cave trail smoky mountains

A lot of people turn around at Alum Cave.  Roundtrip for that hike would be 4.4 miles.  Decent hike.  But in my opinion, why would you want to stop now when you haven’t even seen the top of the mountain??

alum cave trail to mt leconte

Of course, the next 2.8 miles do start to get strenuous.  Take water with you!

stairs smoky mountains

alum cave trail to mt leconte

overlook smoky mountains

And we’re not even to the top yet.  The clouds are starting to break up.  I’m getting excited.

top of mt leconte, leconte lodge

And here we are at the top.  It’s actually clear!!  Every time I’ve ever stayed at the Leconte Lodge overnight, it was so foggy you couldn’t see anything.  But today- today it was perfect!

leconte lodge

Such a great hike!!  I highly recommend it.  We were kinda booking it to the top, not because we wanted it over with, we just wanted to keep our heart rate up.  It took 2.5 hours to climb the mountain.  We spent about 45 minutes on the top snapping pictures and eating our lunch.  The descent took only 1.5 hours.  Much easier getting down a mountain than getting up it!!

Here are a few more pictures from the hike:

butterfly smoky mountains

purple flowers smoky mountains

rhododendron smoky mountains

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Saturday Morning Ride in the Mountains


Before we had kids, one of our favorite things to do together was to go biking.  If you’ll remember on Friday, I was trying to decide exactly how we should make the most of this kid-free weekend.  So we decided to go biking!  We woke up early Saturday morning, loaded the bikes up and and headed out to Cades Cove in the Great Smoky National Park to do some biking.

biking at cades cove

They close the loop off on Wednesday and Saturday mornings till 10 am to allow bikers and hikers the opportunity to enjoy the little one-lane road with no cars and no exhaust fumes.
It was quite foggy and mostly cloudy, which made for a wonderfully cool ride.

foggy morning at cades cove

deer at cades cove

We saw plenty of deer, turkeys and other wildlife.  But no bears.  Not this time.

cades cove

It is so beautiful there.

biking at cades cove

That’s hubby in front of me.

The first half of the ride is nice and mostly flat, but towards the end it gets really hilly. I am proud to say that I killed those hills.  I took those hills with a vengance. I got to the top of the last hill and I thought my heart might explode it was beating so fast. I even had a slight twinge of nausea. I waited on my hubby at the bottom of the hill while I caught my breath. He then informed me that I missed seeing a huge 14-point buck, as well a field full of butterflies. Oh well.  I guess that’s the risk you take when you’re chasing that anaerobic high.  (Do you know the feeling I’m talking about?)

After we finished biking, we drove back into Townsend to get us some subs for lunch. We weren’t sure exactly which hiking trail we were going to do. The original plan was to hike to Gregory Bald, but Parsons Branch Road was closed from the recent storms, and hubby wasn’t too keen on the sound of hiking 10+ miles. So we decided to drive out towards Newfound Gap/ Clingman’s Dome area and pick a trail there. Funny thing is, we ended up hiking 11 miles after all. (More on that later!)

After our 11 mile hike, we headed back to Pigeon Forge to stay in a cute little suite by Twin Mountain.  (If you ever stay in PF, I highly recommend them.)

This was the view off our balcony.
We got showers and got cleaned up, but we were so tired we didn’t really want to get out for dinner. We saved our appetite for breakfast and went to the Apple Barn in Sevierville. One of the best breakfasts EVER!
apple fritters with apple butter and applewood julep at the apple barn

Mmmm. Apple fritters with apple butter and applewood julep! I ordered the Veggie Quiche with fruit.
quiche and fruit from apple barn

It was a wonderful, exhausting weekend.

Sevierville on Dwellable
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