Autumn hikes in the Smokies!”
By Rachelle Siegrist
Last Monday afternoon, our friend Kit picked us up and we headed into the Elkmont region in nearby Smoky Mountain National Park, to check out the fall color. Just as suspected, the color was magnificent having reached its peak indeed! With sandwiches for supper loaded in our backpacks, we headed off into the golden woods via the Jakes Creek Trail. After leaving Kit in a certain area in which he was taking photos for the evening, Wes and I merrily continued hiking to the Avent Artist Cabin, while enjoying the spectacular display of fall colors. Reaching the cabin, we were delighted to have it all to ourselves, thus the front porch became our dining venue for the evening and offered a spectacular 180 degree view of the mountains dressed in their finest autumn attire! “It doesn’t get much better than this!” I thought to myself totally immersed in the grandeur of nature!
Standing by the peaceful Avent Cabin
Crossing a footbridge along the trail
Fall reflections . . . Wes and I eat our supper on the porch of the cabin
After relaxing a bit and taking several photos of the cabin, we started our way back down the trail to meet up with Kit. One couldn’t help but look up in sheer amazement at the golden forest shimmering with dappled light and interspersed with bold swatches of bright red, courtesy of the maple trees located here and there. With all of the warmth of the colored foliage against the dark, almost black, tree trunks, it was nothing short of being purely magical! Soon we met up with Kit in a section of the forest which gave the appearance of an impressionistic painting, perhaps by Monet, with closely related values, but different colors, mostly complimentary, with the lavender trunks of the trees against the yellow leaves. Once again it was simply magical, standing there admiring this surreal setting of nature!
A lovely cascade we passed along the way
“Monet’s Trees” as I called this section of the forest
The sun was setting as we walked back, illuminating the pale blue sky above, and bathing the clouds in shades of pink, orange and salmon. The lower the light of day dimmed, the bolder the golden yellow and reds of the trees became. Just when I thought “This can’t get any better!” a bat flew right above us, and followed us along, perhaps grabbing the tasty little insects we were stirring up from the leaf covered ground as we walked along. All too soon, the last light had disappeared from the sky and we found ourselves back where we had started earlier that afternoon, but once again we had returned with several wonderful memories!
A view along the hike to the falls
More glorious golden colored trees
A small salamander attempts to gain some warmth from the afternoon sun
Knowing that our first winter storm was predicted to hit us yesterday, Wes, Kit and I decided to take a hike to Spruce Flats Falls and enjoy a picnic lunch there. The hike in was beautiful, with the couple of vistas showcasing the mountains dressed in fall splendor! We were delighted to have the falls mostly to ourselves, as we sat there eating, laughing and enjoying the gorgeous setting, as the falls roared and thundered, crashing to the frigid pool of water below. The hike down was as delightful as going up, and soon we found ourselves back at home once again, quietly sitting in our studios painting.
Thanks Kit . . . for this lovely photo of the falls
A cliff dweller . . . or at least temporarily
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~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~
I finished my miniature painting of an adorable and super fuzzy Belted Galloway, or as I affectionately call them “Oreo cows”, this past week. This precious beauty lives near our friend Don, in Brevard, NC. While I have been painting, Wes has been working on a special project which I know you are going to greatly enjoy! I can’t wait to share it with you, but must wait until it’s totally ready, which should be fairly soon! He’s also been working on some commissions.
Belted Galloway painting titled “Fuzzy Oreo ” by Rachelle
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Until next time . . .