The anticipation has been building for weeks, and the time finally arrived for us to leave early this past Friday morning, for our exciting invitation to spend the weekend at the private Cane River Club! As usual, the drive through the Smoky Mountain National Park was beautiful, and several turkeys were spotted along the way, as we drove the winding roads. We arrived at Cane River in time for lunch, and were greeted by smiling faces and warm hugs from friends! We were treated to gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches, tomato and rice soup, and homemade brownies, fresh and warm from the oven! Needless to say, it was all simply delicious and the resident cook, Mary Lou, had won us all over with that first totally yummy meal! We all caught up on our latest happenings over the meal, and then headed out in different directions to enjoy the afternoon. Wes and I watched friend, Niek, get his first lesson in fly fishing for awhile, before enjoying a nice and relaxing walk with our dear collector friend, John, who told us some of the history of this amazing place and how it all got started. After walking about a mile and a half, up the beautiful trail, which follows alongside the river, we reached what is known as Blue Sea Falls. With the recent rain, it was running with great force and created a thunderous roar as it descended over the rock face to the emerald green pool below! The road back was lined on both sides with lush collections consisting of various species of wildflowers, and mounds of thick green moss.
We returned back to the lodge in time to enjoy just sitting on the inviting and spacious front porch, and visit for awhile. Soon, amidst lots of conversation and laughter, a delicious selection of appetizers was brought onto the porch, for everyone to enjoy, which we all did right away! In no time the tasty cheese dip was a thing of the past! Dinnertime soon arrived, and we all migrated indoors to fill our plates with the flavorful salmon, topped with a scrumptious almond sauce, as well as several other delicious treats. We found our places at the large wooden dining room table and enjoyed great conversation and an abundance of laughter as we savored every bite of this delectable meal! To top it all off, the dessert consisted of heavenly strawberry shortcake! However, the evening’s entertainment and enjoyment were far from over, as the dance tunes were cranked up and most of us hit the great room floor at one time or the other, to join in with others and show off our amazing, and sometimes not so amazing, dance moves! If laughter is as they say, the best medicine, we should’ve all went to bed extremely healthy that night! And, if nothing else, we burned up quite a few of the few calories consumed during the evening meal! It was close to midnight, when we all finally turned in, and Wes and I were thrilled to be lulled to sleep, by the peaceful and relaxing sounds of the nearby river drifting in through our open bedroom window!
The next morning found us all up and at it and ready for the adventures that lay ahead that day. Breakfast was another delicious meal of fluffy scrambled eggs, creamy grits and amazing homemade biscuits! With tummies filled, we were ready to head out. I had really hoped to learn to fly fish while we were there, so Wes and I decided to try our hand at it. After being suited up with appropriate waders and boots, and feeling quite professional, we headed up to the river, with Forrest, their wonderful fishing guide, leading the way. Upon Wes’ gracious insistence, I was the first to give it a go, so following behind Forrest, I waded out into the swift moving water and watched and listened carefully as he began teaching me how to go about this sport. Soon the rod was in my hands and I was casting out into the pools and hoping for a taker. In what seemed like no time, I caught a small one, and was thrilled! We slowly made our way upstream, stopping to cast several times in each tempting pool. By this time I had caught a tree and a rock, which Forrest patiently freed my fly from, and after casting into a really nice looking pool, there was a tug on the line. At first I wasn’t sure if it was a trout or another rock, but quickly realized that it was indeed a trout and began trying to bring it in. Unfortunately I learned the heartbreaking way to not “choke the line” and after He, Wes and I all three got a good look at the fish, it got away. They figured it was over a two pound Brown Trout, and my heart was pounding by this time, and so very sad at the same time, as the big one had got away! We continued our way up the swift moving river, stopping to tempt the possible trout in each inviting pool. After several casts, and no takers, Forrest would say “Well, nobody’s home” and we would make our way to the next spot. It was in one of these spots that “It” happened. I felt a tug and set the hook just right, and within a few minutes I had pulled in a 17 inch . . . or more I thought . . . two-pound Rainbow Trout, which Forrest now had safely in his net! I was thrilled and was as proud as could be, as I held up my BIG trout so Wes could take our photo! As you can imagine after this, Forrest was now one of my newest best friends, and we spent the next couple of hours with me catching . . . and missing . . . trout, with Wes cheering me on! Unfortunately my “Just one more cast” turned into several more, and Wes only got to fish for a short time, in which he caught at least two.
We had worked up an appetite that morning and returned in time for lunch, which was once again delicious, complete with fresh cookies from the oven! The ladies soon returned from their shopping excursion, and graciously listened to my stories recounting the fish I caught, especially my BIG fish, and the one that got away, which was growing larger by the hour! That afternoon Wes and I enjoyed taking a hike back up to the beautiful Blue Sea Falls, and this time went all the way to the bottom of the falls. It was breathtakingly beautiful as, as it roared and thundered its way to the deep blue pool of water below, creating a spectacular view! We were blessed to have the sun make an appearance for a few minutes, while we photographed the falls, and then it disappeared once again for the remainder of the day. After soaking in the mesmerizing scene for a bit, we started our hike back, which led us along a small path clinging to the edge of the mountain through a thicket of Rhododendrons, which opened up at the river’s edge, where an old ancient-looking wooden bridge led the way back across the one stream, to the main trail. It was indeed a relaxing and peaceful walk as we went along taking in the lovely view of the surrounding lush forest and enjoying the sounds of the Cane River flowing in the background.
Later that afternoon we returned back to the lodge, and after a failed attempt to find John and Forrest fishing, we enjoyed sitting on the porch and talking with our dear friend Stephen, from the Yadkin Cultural Arts Center. It was a great way to ring in the evening, just sitting and relaxing while enjoying the ever-changing view of the mountains in the distance, as the clouds swirled and drifted above, at times dipping down into them, creating one breathtaking landscape scene after another. Before long, dinnertime had arrived once again, and Mary Lou didn’t have to call any of us twice! We were treated to delicious appetizers consisting of Forrest’s freshly picked and sauteed Morel Mushrooms and Ramps, Niek’s yummy homemade guacamole, as well as Mary Lou’s Salmon dip and deviled eggs. Then came another delicious and memorable meal, and for dessert we were treated to a piece of scrumptious lemon cheesecake, which was so silky it seemed to just melt away in your mouth! For the remainder of the evening, we enjoyed playing a game called Password, in which we formed two teams with the girls playing against the guys. And you can probably guess who won . . . the girls! What a great way to end the evening, so at least the girls thought, and then it was time to turn in for the night.
Soon afterwards, Wes and I found ourselves snug in bed, being lulled to sleep once again by the peaceful sound of the river. This morning was to be our last, so we quickly packed our things before breakfast, which featured a delicious asparagus quiche, homemade fluffy pancakes, filled with big plump fresh blueberries, and fresh fruit. Sitting around the large table once more, we talked about the highlights from the weekend and upcoming plans, as we enjoyed eating this last meal together, and I exclaimed to everyone about how very, very sore my right arm was this morning after pulling in that BIG trout yesterday . . . ha ha! Our last laughs were enjoyed, and thanks were given to Mary Lou for her delicious meals and to very enjoyable and hard working manager, Travis, for all of his efforts helping to make it a terrific weekend for all! Goodbyes were said and hugs were given as we loaded into our vehicles and started the lovely drive out and eventually made our way home. Wes and I cannot thank our dear collector friends, John and Donna enough, for blessing us with this amazing and memorable opportunity, which I’m sure Wes and I will be talking about for years to come!!!
This past week we also enjoyed having our new artist friend living here in Townsend, Kit Gentry, over to enjoy an Italian dinner on the porch, and to talk about art, among other interesting topics. Kit does beautiful landscape paintings, many of which feature Hawaii, not surprising since he enjoyed living in that amazing place for many years! We so enjoyed our visit with him and are looking to many more! We were also very pleased to learn upon returning home and to our computer, that we’ve sold several miniature paintings this past week at various miniature shows! If you’re looking for a great fishing guide in the TN-NC area, I highly recommend Forrest and you can contact him through www.hunterbanks.com
Currently On Our Easels: I finished my painting of a mother and calf cow for Trailside Galleries Invitational Miniature Show and Wes finished painting a swan. Now I’m excited to return to my still life painting of chocolate this next week!
Come See Our Paintings This Week:
Until June 2, 2013: Parklane Gallery, Kirkland, WA
Until June 1, 2013: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC
Until – June 16, 2013: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA
Until June 22, 2013: Artistic Designs Gallery, Brownsburg, IN
Until June 2 at the Museum Of The Gulf Coast, Port Arthur, TX
Until June 2nd at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, Tucson, AZ
To view all our upcoming exhibits: http://www.artofwildlife.com/exhibitschedule.html
Have a loved one or a beloved pet you would like captured in miniature? Contact and commission us!
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Until next time ~ Rachelle