Another Wonderful Hiking Experience

Wes and I on the Lumberridge Trail in the Smokies.
Wes and I on the Lumber Ridge Trail in the Smokies.

        We enjoyed a wonderful hike this past week that took us along the Lumber Ridge Trail in the Smoky Mountains. Our journey began at the trail head about five minutes from our house. We started the trail off by noticing that the Mountain Laurel were still pretty much in full bloom and became prettier the higher in elevation we ascended. We also noticed evidence that a very large bear had been along the trail earlier that morning, due to the large logs that had been moved and shredded. Up the trail a bit, I also found a pile of very fresh bear scat and determined after holding my hand just above it, that it wasn’t still warm, but alas was quite new. Needless to say, Wes and I stayed quite alert while walking along enjoying the scenery and each other’s company. Every time a Squirrel would jump and crash down into the fallen leaves, we just knew that must be the bear.

The beautiful blooms of the Mountain Laurel.
The beautiful blooms of the Mountain Laurel.

       Not only did we end up hiking the entire time without seeing the bear, but also without seeing another person, which we enjoyed greatly! It’s always an amazing and indescribable treat when we are afforded the opportunity to spend the entire day on a hike in the woods and get it completely to ourselves! As we walked along, every turn granted us with an unfolding scene in which the woods were filled with the lacy white flowers of the Mountain Laurel, with occasional bursts of the brightly colored orange flowers of the Flame Azalea. Not only is the Mountain Laurel beautiful to look at, but also offers a heavenly scent, that at times fills the air surrounding it.

A Flame Azalea bllom glows in the sunlight.
A Flame Azalea bloom glows in the sunlight.

       There were a couple of unmarked side trails off of the main trail which Wes and I decided to investigate. The first was a very narrow, winding trail that was encased like a tunnel with large Mountain Laurel bushes. Taking this for a short while, we turned back and continued down the main trail for awhile. The second unmarked trail we took for quite a distance. We were rewarded with one of the largest and prettiest clumps of Indian Pipe that I’ve ever seen. Although many times mistaken for a fungus, Indian Pipe is actually a flowering plant. It lacks the green pigment chlorophyll, hence it cannot make its own food, so it garnishes nourishment from decaying matter in the soil. Quite a jewel to see! We also saw a vast amount of Squawroot in the same vicinity. Squawroot is actually a parasite and doesn’t have leaves or chlorophyll. Black bears love to eat this as it makes for a tasty meal.

A gorgeous stand of Indian Pipe.
A gorgeous stand of Indian Pipe.
A lovely sunlit squawroot.
A lovely sunlit Squawroot.

         As we continued down this side path, we came to a open area in the woods finding another piece of the old railroad track and an interesting devise that would’ve most likely have been used for logging. At this point we decided to turn back and continue down the main trail. We took a break to enjoy our peanut butter and raisin sandwiches in a lovely little spot, taking advantage of the perfectly placed logs. Finally coming to a point at which the trail we were on joins others, we turned back and hope to do that part of the trail from a trail head in a different location some time later. The walk back was as beautiful as the walk in, with the different angle of the sun giving it a completely new beauty. Upon our return to Townsend, we ate a delicious pizza at Pizza Hut. A great way to end a great day!

Wes with an old piece of logging equipment.
Me enjoying the beauty and scent of the Mountain Laurel blooms.
Me enjoying the beauty and scent of the Mountain Laurel blooms.

        Even though we have been enjoying riding our bikes and the occasional hike, we have been doing a lot of painting. I finished another miniature still life painting this past week and Wes finished a miniature portrait painting of our dear friends Dave and Neli Wagner. In my still life piece, the beautiful glass vase was given to me by my Mom, which she attained when I was a little girl. The blue hat and antique gold metal purse was given to me by my Mother-n-law, hence the title “Mother’s Things”. Other new miniature paintings can be seen on our website as I don’t feature every painting we do on my blog.

"Mothers Things" by Rachelle measures 2 3/4 X 2 3/4 inches.
"Mothers Things" by Rachelle measures 2 3/4 X 2 3/4 inches.
David and Neli" by Wes measures 3¼ x 2½ inches.
"David and Neli's First Anniversary and Renewal of Vows" by Wes measures 3¼ x 2½ inches.

We hope to get quite a bit of painting time in this next week and are looking forward to a symphony concert in Cades Cove, in the Smokies, this next Saturday as part of their 75th Anniversary celebration.

Until next time ~ Rachelle 🙂


8 thoughts on “Another Wonderful Hiking Experience

  1. Sarah

    Hi. I just hiked a portion of Lumber Ridge this past Saturday. I was doing a little research about a side trail that I passed that was marked by a post with an “M” on it. Your blog turned up due to my search. Was one of the side trails that you took the one labeled with the “M.” I can’t seem to find any information on it.
    By the way, my friend and I ended up about 30 feet from a bear on our way back. Looks like they are pretty active in that area right now.

    1. Hi Sarah,
      Yes, one of the side trails we took was marked with the letter “M”. We read through our hiking book information on that trail and have searched the internet for possibly information on the “M” trail, but to no avail. I wish I had the answer for you as I would love to know myself. Perhaps the next time we are in Tremont during operating hours, I will ask about possible information pertaining to the mysterious “M” trail. If you ever find out, please let me know. That’s great that you and your friend were able to see the bear!
      Rachelle 🙂

  2. Rachelle, I really like the direction you are going with your work. The light creates this soft dreamy atmosphere and goes so well with the subject matter. Beautiful stuff!

    Great job on the portrait too Wes. Without knowing these people, you can still see their closeness. The bodies are so relaxed yet solid. You’ve made them come alive.

    Great hike, thanks for taking me along!

    1. Hi Barbara
      Thank you so very much for the compliment! I’m really trying to give the impression of a soft, dreamy almost surreal look to paintings like this, so I’m quite happy to know that it comes across that way to you! Thanks also for the compliment on Wes’ portrait piece, I will pass it on. The couple was thrilled with it.
      I’m so glad you enjoyed the hike! You’re most welcome to come along any time you wish.
      Rachelle 🙂

  3. Hi Rachelle,
    I’m so glad I took time to swing by your blog, how nice! I love the pics of your hiking because that’s what I love doing too. I am honored that you put my link on your sidebar, thanks so much!
    I really like the photos you put up of the plant life, I love mushrooms and fungi, sometimes they’re so colorful and because they can be overlooked by the casual passerby, it makes them that much more fun to find.
    Love your paintings (and Wes!) as always.

    1. Hi Mary,
      Glad you enjoyed the blog and the hiking photos. I love to hike, but guess that’s pretty obvious. You’re most welcome for the link.
      Thanks for appreciating my “fungi photos”. We really enjoy looking for and finding usual things on our hikes, and I like sharing photos of them on my blog. I think these cool growths of nature deserve more attention than they usually get.
      Glad you like our new paintings! 🙂

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