Walking to Waterfalls

hiking to waterfalls

Having been blessed with several days of beautiful weather this past week, Wes and I decided to take a “day-cation” and spend one of them exploring and hiking to waterfalls. Anticipation mounted as we climbed into the van and started toward our destination area for the day. I thrive on hiking and exploring different and new areas, so I knew it was gonna be a great time! We had been to this area once before many years ago, and could instantly see the difference that the lack of recent rains had made in the greatly diminished waterfalls.  

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Alas it was still enough water thankfully, to inspire and delight as we stood nearby watching the water cascading over the falls, spilling into the clear pool below. There’s something most peaceful and mesmerizingly beautiful about waterfalls to me, and I always feel as if I could stand there all day admiring them.

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Well, even though we didn’t spend the entire day by it, we found a comfy, sunlit rock to sit on and eat our picnic lunch, while enjoying a view of the waterfall in one direction and the gently flowing stream in the other. Needless to say, it was a relaxing lunch as well as nice and warm!

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Having finished lunch, we gathered our things and climbed back up the rocky bank, and headed off in search of more waterfalls. The next falls we saw was this one below, which was quite different then the smaller falls which serenaded us at lunch.

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Even though we’re aware of how terribly dry it is in our area, we still weren’t prepared for what we would see next. What should be a vast amount of water thundering over the edge of a high stone cliff, was merely a pittance of its former self, and I must admit our chins dropped a bit, as we stood there peering down at it! The tiny amount of water falling over the edge, still sent enough of  a spray out to encrust surrounding rocks with ice and I must say it was beautiful in a very different way! 

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Knowing that there was ice around the base of the falls, I was even more excited to hike to the bottom, and off we went! Without rain to wash leaves off of the seemingly endless pile of rocks leading to the bottom, it was very slippery in many spots, causing us to “leaf ski” once or twice, but thankfully like the toy Weeble Wobbles, we “wobbled” but didn’t fall down… LOL! As we descended along, there were sections where huge rock walls lined the trail, and it was fun climbing and playing on them. 

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Once we reached the base of the falls, I could see that there were numerous large icicles suspended from the surround rock cliff. The pairing of the warm rust-colored rocks against the cool white of the ice and icicles, created a gorgeous setting! I was so taken by the beauty of it I actually forgot to feel the water to see how cold it was, but I’m sure we can safely assume it was frigid!

rachelle siegrist hiking to waterfalls

We spent quite awhile at the base of the falls admiring it and talking with a couple we had just met and greatly enjoyed our conversation! We decided if we were to go look for more falls, we had to say goodbye to this one and our new found friends, and start hiking back up. Amazingly about half the way back, we ran into dear friends of ours, Andrew and Joanne, whom we had not seen in over 8 years! Wes was the best man in their wedding and the very last time we had seen them, their daughter Charlotte was just a wee girl, and we spent the afternoon playing with her on our living room floor in our Townsend home. As you can imagine it was a delightful time of catching up and we’re planning to go camping together sometime in the near future.

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Leaving there we were off to find yet another waterfall, and after hiking a short distance, we found it! The angle of the sun cast a dark shadow on it, but alas we could still see it crashing down in the distance.

rachelle siegrist

It always amazes me how photos just don’t portray the vast dimensions that exist when you’re in certain places such as the cliff overlooking the falls below.

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We continued hiking along winding our way around tight curves in the trail hugged by mountain laurels, and came upon this wonderful suspension bridge! That’s a teeny, tiny Wes at the other end of it.

wes siegrist

We enjoyed this lovely view of the stream below, from the middle of the bridge.

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In the photo below, I absolutely love how it looks like the rock is a big cookie and the tree is eating it…”Num, num, num”…LOL!

nature photo

Leaving the bridge, we continued hiking a ways before heading off to see what we could find next, and what we found was some spectacular vistas with large rock outcroppings. It was was wonderful day indeed and I’m ready for our next “day-cation” wondering where will we go explore next, and what shall we find. 

landscape photography

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON THIS WEEK

89th Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, DC International Exhibition of Fine Art in 
Until January 7, 2023: Strathmore Mansion, North Bethesda, MD

2022 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit
Until November 29, 2022: Preston Arts Center, Henderson, KY

EXQUISITE MINIATURES is at the  Gadsden Arts Center & Museum,                                                                            Quincy, FL, until December 17, 2022

38th Almost Miniatures Show at Francesca Anderson Fine Art, Portraits North, Lexington, MA                                         December 2, 2022 to January 28, 2023 

Society of Animal Artists 62nd Annual Exhibition
Wes’ painting will remain on display until January 1, 2023: Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA

My painting is featured in the Society of Animal Artists 62nd Annual Tour and is currently at The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in  Oradell, NJ until January 15, 2023

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows,

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

 

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Earth Water and Fur

rachelle siegrist hiking

I absolutely love exploring and hiking in new locations, so I was thrilled to get to do that very thing this past week! With the lack of rain in our area, we weren’t quite sure what to expect and if we were going to see a waterfall or not when we started our hike. The trail led through an open field at the beginning, offering lovely expansive views of surrounding mountains. Minutes later we entered a wooded area casting shadowy lines across us, making the air quite crisp. We walked along a fairly level trail before starting the decent to the stream below. There was obviously moisture in the area, as we saw several groups of icicles dangling along stone cliffs.

icicles

Down we went, sometimes on stairs and at others climbing down rocks. Areas of the trail were lined by lush green mountain laurel adding a hint of life and summer to the landscape.

waterfall hike

Growing nearer to the location of the falls, we were delighted to hear the sound of falling water! Having hiked down for quite some ways, we found a spot to carefully climb to the base of the falls. It was a bit tricky with the rocks and boulders covered with thick piles of leaves, making it very slippery in spots. Reaching the bottom, a big smile spread across my face as I exclaimed “Wow… it’s beautiful!” Wes agreed and we spent some time enjoying the gorgeous setting. It’s already in my plans to return to that very spot for a picnic lunch some day!

waterfall photo

Reluctantly I left the waterfall as I followed Wes over a jumble of rocks. We have discovered that this area is filled with numerous amazing rock formations and cliffs, something we both love!

rock formations

We continued limbing and scampering over rocks and found this wonderful spot, showcasing a rarely smooth rock slide ending into a deep pool below. And yes, I already have plans to return to this location with my wetsuit and a tube, so I can enjoy many fun trips down this wonderful natural waterslide!

rachelle siegrist at waterfall

We hiked back to the trailhead and decided to stop and explore another area of the beautiful stream. Once again we were amazed at the sheer size of some of the boulders and spent time exploring this picturesque section. We decided this would be a great spot to fly fish for trout next spring.

wes siegrist

Everywhere I looked, the scene was like a postcard, and I envisioned myself floating on a tube there this summer! Of course we didn’t leave without having picked up a couple of small bags of litter. It seems like everywhere we go anymore, even Cades Cove recently, there is litter. It breaks my heart to see it and I so wish people would realize what a treasure our parks and public lands are, and respect them while following the “leave no trace” rule.

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After eating supper that evening, we enjoyed sitting out by a fire for awhile, and of course had to roast a few marshmallows. I thought this photo taken with my iPhone using the night setting, turned out lovely and has an ethereal quality to it.

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We enjoyed a fun visit from friends Helen and Kit one day this past week. They joined us for pizza cooked in the pizza oven and although it was way too cold to eat our pizza outside, we braved it long enough to roast some marshmallows in the fire and make s’mores. The afternoon was spent playing dominoes and enjoying supper together, before saying our goodbyes that evening.

making s'mores

There has been a lot of critter activity in the yard this past week! The momma white-tailed deer and her triplets have been coming almost daily, with another doe sometimes joining them. No matter how many times they come, for me it’s always a royal treat and I can’t help but stand at the window watching them for as long as they stay! Once morning as the group was forging on acorns, the smallest fawn decided it wanted some liquid refreshment, so it literally ran over to the mother and began nursing. Well, within seconds the other two had ran over and joined in on the feast which lasted only a few moments before the mom obviously decided that was enough of that business. It was an amazing thing to watch take place in the front yard, and I felt very blessed to be a part of it.

momma and triplets white-tail deerIf you follow my blog, you may remember me talking about our resident red-headed woodpeckers and how I’ve been trying to get a good photo of them. Well, finally one day this past week, Wes spotted one of them in an oak tree not too far from the living room window, so I grabbed the camera and lo and behold, I actually got a good photo! I was thrilled to say the least, as these very talkative birds are always on the move.

red-headed woodpecker photo

IN THE STUDIO

Wes and I were delighted to learn that each of us had an artwork juried into the Society of Animal Artists upcoming exhibition, “Encounters with the Animal Kingdom“. This exhibition will be at the lovely Janice Mason Art Museum located in Cadiz, KY and will be on display February 22 – April 8, 2023. Wes and I are planning to attend the opening reception for this exhibition, so I will keep you updated with that.

rachelle & wes siegrist paintings in SAA exhibit

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON THIS WEEK

89th Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, DC International Exhibition of Fine Art in 
Until January 7, 2023: Strathmore Mansion, North Bethesda, MD

2022 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit
Until November 29, 2022: Preston Arts Center, Henderson, KY

EXQUISITE MINIATURES is at the  Gadsden Arts Center & Museum, Quincy, FL, until December 17, 2022

Society of Animal Artists 62nd Annual Exhibition
Wes’ painting will remain on display until January 1, 2023: Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA

My painting is featured in the Society of Animal Artists 62nd Annual Tour and is currently at The Hiram Blauvelt Art Museum in  Oradell, NJ until January 15, 2023

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows,

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Fun With Friends

rachelle & wes siegrist

As I sit here bundled up in multiple layers while typing, I’m longing for the summer-like weather we were blessed with this past week! Each sunny day brought temps in the upper 70s with the lows only dropping into the 60s. Even strangers at the gas pump were excited, striking up conversations about how amazing and delightful the warm weather was, and how they would gladly take it year round . . . I agree wholeheartedly! I was made for sunshine-filled skies, warm balmy breezes, shorts and flip-flops, so I must admit that I struggle greatly on cold, dreary winter days. 

Thankfully the day our dear friends Dick and Elise spent with us, was one of those beautiful warm days. They joined us for homemade pizza, which we cooked in the pizza oven, and we happily sat beneath the beach umbrella as we feasted and chatted. We’ve discovered that the pizza oven roasts marshmallows perfectly, so our dessert was s’mores. Smiling faces with bits of melted chocolate running down our chins surrounded the table.

pizza oven

After finishing lunch, we headed to a nearby park where we passed the lovely afternoon, relaxingly paddling up the stream and around the small lake. While Wes and Dick fished, Elise and I just enjoyed a floating tour from the comfort of our large inflatable kayak. 

kayaking

The geese were all about enjoying the gorgeous weather as well, and were great fun to watch as they floated along, occasionally stopping to take baths or settle differences. 

kayaking with geese

At one point they slowly swam by in a neatly formed single line, as if playing a game of “follow the leader”.

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While the surrounding scenery was beautiful, there was one spot that was particularly stunning, where the glassy surface of the water, perfectly mirrored the limbs of the lacy, bare trees alongside it. 

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Dick was thrilled to have a chance to use his new fly rod and impressed all watching with his perfect casting form!

fly fishing

While the guys continued to fish, Elise and I paddled as far up the stream as we could, and around the lake, before catching back up with them.

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As you can tell by the happy look on Dick’s face below, it was a very relaxing afternoon indeed and we stayed out on the water until the setting sun dipped behind the mountain, bathing the trees with golden light and the temperature started to drop. That evening we went to a Mexican restaurant where we had delicious food, while continuing to enjoy great conversation and laughter!

kayaking4

IN THE STUDIO

Unfortunately I can’t share the progress on my current pet portrait commission, since it’s going to be a surprise gift. So once I’m finished and I get the all clear, I will share it with you, as I believe you will think it as sweet as I do!

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON THIS WEEK

Opening this week:  89th Miniature Painters, Sculptors & Gravers Society of Washington, DC International Exhibition of Fine Art in 
November 19, 2022 to January 7, 2023: Strathmore Mansion, North Bethesda, MD

2022 Kentucky National Wildlife Art Exhibit
Until November 29, 2022: Preston Arts Center, Henderson, KY

EXQUISITE MINIATURES is open at the  Gadsden Arts Center & Museum, located in Quincy, FL, and it will be on display there until December 17, 2022.

Society of Animal Artists 62nd Annual Exhibition
My work will be part of the touring exhibition opening soon and Wes’ painting will remain on display until January 1, 2023: Turtle Bay Exploration Park, Redding, CA

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows,

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

 

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle