The Maiden Voyage of The “Triple P”
By Rachelle Siegrist
I’ve been patiently waiting since last December to take my beautiful pink kayak out for it’s maiden voyage! I felt like a child excitedly anticipating their first visit to Disney World, as we drove the 30-minute winding road leading through the Foothills Parkway. We finally arrived at our destination, and it was time to unload and carry the kayaks down to the waters edge. I was the first one in, with Wes soon to follow in his blue kayak. I was thrilled to say the least and was happy to be back in the water paddling and in my very own kayak at that! Why the “Triple P” you may ask. Well, Wes knowing my deep love for anything to do with water, knew this was my pink passport to paradise, thus it’s name the Triple P.
We immediately noticed large groupings of white in the woods, and quickly realized that it was the beautiful blossoms of the Mountain Laurels! Being one of my favorite native flowers to our area, I always consider it a real treat to see these blooming beauties! They were everywhere . . . all throughout the woods and lining the bank, gracefully hanging out over the water in many locations. It felt as if I were paddling under a tunnel made of white and pink petals as I went along, absorbing in the natural beauty! A little farther along, we decided to take a side trip, paddling down a stream leading off of the main creek. The water level was down, so the stream became increasingly shallow and narrow, but we continued on curious to see what was around the next bend.
Eventually the water became to low to continue, so we turned around and paddled back down a ways, before finding the perfect spot for enjoying lunch. There we connected our kayaks, and floated along by a rocky ledge topped with more Mountain Laurel blooms, and it was truly delightful! We then paddled back out to the main creek and went up as far as we could.
Suddenly Wes spotted a water snake sunning itself on a large rock out in the middle of the creek. Looking up, we saw a hawk soaring above, silhouetted against the brilliant clear blue sky, until it few over and landing atop a tall tree nearby. After enjoying the sun and sounds of rushing water a bit, we started paddling back down, and soon were treated to watching a Belted Kingfisher as it dove headfirst into the water, sending up a splash and coming out with a fish. About the same time, a Great Blue Heron flew right by us, following the curve of the creek until it landed on an exposed beach of muck up a ways. “Wow . . . this is just great!” I thought, as we continued paddling our way back down the creek. I love silently gliding along, viewing the creek’s world from the level of a duck! We returned to the spot where our adventure had started earlier that morning and before the kayaks were both even loaded back into the van, I was ready for our next trip!
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Attending the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games
Okay . . . I know they’re not skirts, they’re kilts. Regardless, I’ve never seen so many men in kilts before! I think everyone there had on kilts and/or plaid except for Wes and I! It was our first time attending the Smoky Mountain Scottish Festival and Games held at Maryville College, so we weren’t sure quite what to expect. We went to visit a dear collector friend who was helping to man the tent for the McGregor Clan, and took advantage to check out everything else going on during last Saturday afternoon, a week ago. After watching the dance competition for awhile, we then watched the very large men participate in the weight throwing competition, where they hold on to the end of a chain or stick attached to a metal weight weighing 26 to 58 lbs for men. After spinning in circle a couple of times, they let it go where it flies through the air as far as possible, with each man hoping to be the one to throw it the furthest!
Next we watched them do the sheaf toss, where a 20lb bundle of straw is wrapped in burlap, and they use a pitchfork to stab it and toss it up into the air while hoping to clear the raised bar above!
Next on the agenda was the caber toss. As I excitedly exclaimed to my mom on the phone afterwards, “it’s where a big Scottish dude in a skirt, somehow picks up and balances a telephone pole, then hurls it into the air and if he’s lucky it flips over once!” However, it’s actually a tapered pole and the man is wearing a kilt, but it’s pretty much the same as far as the rest.
Up next, we watched something I had never seen before, a duck herding demo! One of the attending Border Collies actually worked and herded the ducks, even getting them to walk over a little white bridge! I’m sure in the ducks’ minds, they were really doing exactly what they wanted to do, and were just letting the dogs think they were herding them.
Then the Collies got to herd the sheep, which they seemed to enjoy very much, taking the duty quite seriously! Each time the sheep got to rest, they immediately started eating the fresh supply of grass at their mercy. Both demos were quite fascinating to watch indeed!
Telling our friend Mike goodbye, and heading out, we stopped to watch the band competition for awhile, and I then realized why they had been playing the same song on the bagpipes all afternoon long . . . they were competing with it, and were quite striking looking while doing so, dressed in formal matching kilts and attire!
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~ The latest paintings off of the Siegrists’ Easels ~
Wes and I have finished a few paintings during the past couple of weeks. These two dog portraits were both commissions which were given as Mother’s Day gifts, so I had to wait until they were no longer a great surprise to share them with you. I had lots of fun painting these beautiful babies!
These beautiful fish miniatures are two of Wes’ latest paintings. The reference photos were taken at different aquariums during fun visits to see and watch the fish!
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Until next time . . .