A Hike to Andrew’s Bald and New Paintings!

view from Clingman's Dome parking lot
The gorgeous view from Clingman’s Dome parking lot

It’s been a busy week! Lots of fun and painting! We enjoyed a delightful hike this past week along with friends Fred and Pat, to Andrew’s Bald, here in the Smokies! It was a lovely, cool morning as we began our hour-long drive along the winding road leading us through the Smoky Mountain National Park. When we reached the Clingman’s Dome parking lot, we were afforded a beautiful view with a blanket of clouds nestled down amidst the mountains, making it almost look like a vast ocean existed between the mountain ranges. The air was quite brisk as we mounted our waist-packs and backpacks and with walking sticks in hand began our day-long journey! A few steps onto the trail and we realized that we had chosen a wise time to hike this delightful trail, as the assorted native berry bushes were covered with ripe berries! As you can imagine, we stopped right away to enjoy eating these little edible treats, which were quite tasty! Blueberries, Blackberries, and Red Raspberries were our favorites! Each time that Fred and Pat wanted to stop for a couple minutes rest, I was perfectly content to pick and eat my way around them. We went along the beautiful trail, which in many sections, consists of huge rocks carefully and painstakingly moved into place, creating what appears to be an amazing ancient stone path.

hiking the Forney Ridge Trail
It’s berry picking time!
hiking in the smokies
Picking some tasty Black Berries nestled amidst beautiful fall foliage
hiking the smokies
My berry stained tongue actually matched my shirt! Ha Ha!

We stopped for numerous photos and to occasionally pet the lush green moss lining the path, but mostly to eat berries! I decided that I must’ve consumed close to a few quarts, by the time we left the trail later that afternoon! In a couple of hours, we left the seclusion of the rhododendron-lined tunnel, and walked out onto the beautiful bald, just in time for lunch. So we spread out our blanket and there on what felt like the top of the world, enjoyed our lunch and soaking up the sun! While sitting there, part of the view became completely obscured from on top, as a huge cloud had swept down from the sky and consumed a large section of some of the distant mountain ranges. Before long it looked as if this massive cloud was moving our way and was about to engulf us as well! I told everyone that it reminded me of what could’ve been a great Alfred Hitchcock movie called “The Cloud”, as it was a little eerie. After topping off our lunch with more delicious fresh berries, we started our journey back along the shaded lush trail, with a few spots along the way, appearing as if the clouds were slowly moving through.

hiking andrews bald
Lunch time on top of Andrew’s Bald!
wes and rachelle siegrist on the forney creek trail
Wes and I take a photo break along the trail
trail sign on andre'ws bald
The trail sign before you walk out onto the bald
red squirrel on andrew's bald
A precious little Red Squirrel, or what we call a Boomer was watching to make sure we didn’t eat all of its berries!

We were serenaded by the beautiful melodious tunes of numerous birds as we went along, taking a break every now and then to have just a few more berries. Later that afternoon, we found ourselves back at the trailhead were we started earlier that morning, only it was a bit warmer by then. Back in the truck, we enjoyed the relaxing drive back through the park to Townsend.

Wes and I have also been able to enjoy daily bike rides around town, while taking advantage of the cooler morning air. We also had friends Fred, Barb, Darlene and Bill over to play Mexican Train Dominoes this past Friday evening, and guess what . . . yours truly won! Last evening we had artist friend, Kit Gentry, over for supper on the back porch, consisting of my homemade Salmon patties, mac-n-cheese and cole slaw. Later while watching one of our favorite hilarious movies “Baby’s Day Out”, we all enjoyed a piece of chocolate cake topped with Carmel glaze. As well as getting a lot of painting done this coming week, we’re also hoping to enjoy another hike with friends, while taking advantage of our nice weather!

bee balm blossom on andrew's bald
A stunning Bee Balm blossom
fungi on andrews bald trail
I decided this is where hamburger buns are obviously born!
indian pipe blossoms on andrew's bald
A nice cluster of Indian Pipes
pale jewel weed on andrew's bald
An insect enjoys a Pale Jewel Weed flower
 mushroom on anderw's bald
I call this a “Ruffle Mushroom”, since it looks like it’s ruffled
wildflowers of the Smokies
A swallowtail feeds on Wild Mustard blossoms
 mushroom on andrew's bald
I call this an “Umbrella” mushroom, since it looks like a colorful little umbrella

Fresh off the easel ~ I’m currently still working on a secret commission as well as a floral still life while Wes finished his painting of a Glossy Ibis this past week.

fine art painting in miniature
“The Glossy Ibis “ by Wes

~ Western Visions is the National Museum of Wildlife Art’s largest and longest running fundraiser featuring works

by over 150 of the country’s leading artists.

Rachelle Siegrist Western Visions 2013

My miniature painting and drawing available for sale at the show in the National Museum of Wildlife Art, Jackson, WY
This Friday, September 13, 2013, Doors Open 3:30PM, Bidding Closes 6:30PM, Presentation begins 7:00PM – This is the final opportunity to place your bid prior to the drawing that determines who is going home with a beautiful new work of art.

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!
Don’t forget to “Sign Up” to receive an email each time I update the blog!

Until next time ~ Rachelle


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