Flowers, Flowers Everywhere and Then the Falls!

mountain laurel blooms
Amongst some of my favorite blooming bushes!

It was a lovely morning complete with a nice cool breeze in the air, as we donned our packs filled with sandwiches and cameras, and with hiking sticks in hand, started making our way up the trail to one of my favorite waterfalls. I had grand visions of seeing a multitude of Mountain Laurels in full bloom along the trail, and alas was not disappointed! As soon as the trail following the edge of the mountain turned the corner leading to the south side of the mountain, there they were in full splendor! However, the rain, which had fallen early that morning, had drenched the delicate blossoms and was preventing their amazing scent from being released. Not to worry though, as I knew the sun was coming out and would dry them out before our return trip, and once again their delicate and delightful scent would fill the air! The white, and sometimes pink blossoms, of the laurels created tunnels over the trail in areas giving it a fairytale setting as we walked along the path, and once again the lush green patches of moss lined the narrow trail in many areas, and of course I had to stop and pet it a couple of times!

mountain laurel blooms
The Mountain Laurel blossoms seemed to cover the hillsides in areas!
hiking the smokies
Ahhh . . . one of those beautiful patches of moss
hiking the smokies
Wes found these stunning pink laurel blossoms for me

A couple more times the trail would wind its way around the mountains, causing it to switch from north to south facing, and with each time we came to the south facing side, the trail would once again become encased with Mountain Laurels with their multitude of blossoms on parade! Down we went along the staircase which was cut out of a large fallen tree, and with each turn and twist in the path, got closer to the falls until I could hear it roaring up ahead. It was running at full speed, sending thousands  of gallons of water spilling over the top and crashing down below, where it filled the air with a fine watery mist. We quickly, but carefully, climbed and maneuvered over numerous large rocks until we reached our favorite picnic rock, where we sat down, unloaded our packs, and commenced to eat our sandwiches. It was actually quite chilly as we sat there, with the breeze blowing through the mist, and certainly kept us cool the entire time. We enjoyed a delicious piece of dark chocolate for dessert, and I thought to myself, what could be better than this, eating dark chocolate by a gorgeous waterfall! We stayed there for quite some time, just enjoying this lush and peaceful setting, before making our way back down the trail.

hiking the smokies
A bend in the trail surrounded by Mountain Laurels blooming
photo of spruce flats falls trail
Wes atop the really cool staircase they made
falls in the smokies
A reflection in the camera lens made it look as if the waterfall was mesmerizing me with its aura . . . LOL!
photo of spruce flats falls
Wow . . . eating dark chocolate by a waterfall, it hardly gets better than this!

On the way back, it was just as I had suspected, and the Mountain Laurels sweet delicate fragrance filled the air, as the sun had kindly dried the blossoms out, reviving them once again! “Mmmmm” . . . I said to Wes each time I buried my face in a glorious cluster of blooms and inhaled the intoxicating scent! I suppose I did this one time too many however, as when I got home and looked in the mirror later that afternoon I saw a big bug bite on my forehead. It’s still there today, several days later, and I decided that’s not the kind of souvenir I like to bring home, but oh well, what is one to do, as you have to stop and smell the flowers, even if you get bit on your face!

mountain laurel blooms
A splendid cluster of Mountain Laurel blossoms . . . hmmm . . . where’s that bug hiding?
photo of spruce flats falls
The beautiful falls from below!

We enjoyed once again having our local artist friend, Kit Gentry, over for dinner one evening this past week. We ate my homemade lemon pasta, along with salad and garlic bread on the back porch, while relaxing and watching and listening to the birds. Kit graciously brought Cherry pie and vanilla ice cream for dessert . . . yummy! Afterwards we enjoyed watching a DVD, which Kit brought over, featuring a lesson in the color theory of the halation effect. It was very interesting to say the least, and then we just talked for a while and enjoyed listening to fascinating and entertaining stories from his travels. We also had several neighbor friends over to play Canasta, and I’m thrilled to say that the girls won again!!! Wes says the boys threw the game, but in actuality, they lost fair and square! Last evening we enjoyed going to a dinner party at some friends house who live on top of one of the mountains here in Townsend. Lots of conversation and laughter was had, and we finally found out the answer to a long-lived mystery. They keep a group of pine trees trimmed at the same height off of their deck to maintain the spectacular view of the mountains, which they have. We’ve always known that they can reach the nearest ones with a long handled saw, but found out that they actually blow the tops out of the trees further out with the shotgun periodically, when they start growing. Oh . . . so this is the ingenious hillbilly way to trim trees too far to reach. . . but of course . . . we should’ve realized!

raccoon photo
Bandit has come the past 2 evenings and eats the peanut crunchies left, by wetting his paws in the bird bath, and then pressing them into the peanuts and eating them off of his paws . . . very smart indeed!
wisteria photo
Our Wisteria in full splendor on our back deck
glalax flowers
A couple of beautiful Galax Blooms

Currently On Our Easels: I am working on a still life featuring my Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, which my granny had made for me when I was a little girl, so it obviously is quite a special painting and has been lots of fun to paint!  Wes is deciding what to paint for an upcoming competitive show.


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Until next time ~ Rachelle

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