Cold. . . Clear. . .Water!
By Rachelle Siegrist
We’ve enjoyed a nice week here in the Smokies, with a mixture of both sunshine and showers, so we decided to celebrate our recent 28th Anniversary with a fun morning of kayaking last Monday. Early morning clouds parted and the fog lifted, revealing beautiful blue skies, as we paddled along the glassy surface of the water, perfectly reflecting surrounding mountains like a large mirror. The only ripples were those made by our paddles, stretching out behind us as far as the eye could see. We explored a couple of small streams, paddling up as far as we could before carefully turning around and navigating our way back out.
I felt like we were exploring areas deep in the Amazon jungle, and I kept expecting to see a large Anaconda pass by, which was a little unnerving when I later decided to wade and swim! The one stream was flowing much stronger than usual, so we managed to paddle only part way, where we found the perfect pebble beach for a picnic. Finding a small, flat rock, I decided to sit and enjoy the picturesque setting. The amazingly clear water made it perfect for watching occasional fish swim by, as I sat in the cold water. It took several minutes, but I finally worked up the courage, somehow managing to talk myself into swimming in the frigid water of a deep, blue pool upstream. I couldn’t help but let out a wee yelp, as I plunged into the icy water, and could only stand it for a couple of minutes before I had to get out! It certainly cooled me off for a long while though!
That’s not the only ice water I’ve played in lately, as we replaced a couple of our hot walks around town, with tubing trips down the river again this past week. The water level was still up the first morning, granting a fun trip down! After our friend Sharon tried tubing with an extra small, inflatable ring in the bottom of her tube, we added boat cushions to the bottom of ours, and voila’ . . . no more polishing rocks when the water level starts dropping! It was awesome, and made us go even faster over the cascades! I now call our tubing set up, the Cadillac Jack version . . . Ha Ha!
While Sharon and I made one trip down while tubing, Wes and Tom snorkeled, and Wes got several great videos of fish, including one of this precious Chub Minnow. He actually got to watch it carrying stones in its mouth, with some of them quite large, over to a bed it was making. He was delighted to be able to see such an amazing thing, and we were delighted that he caught it all on video! I’m currently in the process of making a snorkeling video, in which this adorable stone-carrying chub will be a star, as well as a tubing video, and will share them both with you as soon as they’re finished.
We enjoyed a fun evening with friends last Tuesday, with them picking us up, and all riding in comfort and style in their big, black van, to a favorite Mexican Restaurant of ours, El Jimadors in nearby Maryville. Laughter filled the air as we crunched on fresh chips and salsa. Upon finishing our yummy dinners, we came back to our place for a game of Mexican Train, and of course chocolate dessert, and it was a fun evening for all!
~ Recently off the Easels ~
Even with the outdoor adventures, it’s still been a very productive week here in the studio, with both of us painting and Wes continuing to do his office work. I just finished this small painting of two rhinos we photographed at the Knoxville Zoo recently, and absolutely love the warmth in it! While painting them, I couldn’t help but think of the bleak outlook for these amazing and wonderful mammals, as well as many others that now face extinction, and it makes me very sad that we as a society have allowed such dreadful things to happen.
We are pleased to be continuing our Special Offer for our collectors and friends the month of July. (Sold paintings have been removed) Visit our Collector’s Corner page on our website to take advantage of this exciting opportunity that will end this month.
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Until next time . . .