Summertime Fun in the Smokies!
by Rachelle Siegrist
Wow . . . this week’s been a hot one for us here in the Smokies, and while it’s too warm to do almost anything outdoors, it’s been perfect for playing in the river! So we’ve taken time to do just that several mornings this past week. We like going early in the morning, when everything seems fresh and new, and although the water is even more frigid, it’s worth the trade off to us! Friends Tom and Sharon, and sometimes our neighbor Mike, joined us each morning and it became an unspoken contest of who would brave the frigid water first. I’m pretty sure Wes was the first one in most mornings!
“Woooo-weeeee!” filled the air, as each one stepped into the icy water, instantly cooling off! Thankfully your emerged skin goes numb quickly, no longer freezing but feeling quite pleasant, or at least tolerable. “No pain . . . No gain” I tell Sharon each time, trying to convince her to go ahead and get in. Visually enjoying the rocks and surrounding tree covered mountainsides while listening to sounds of the water crashing down the cascades, our feet and legs enter a world inhabited by numerous fish, some brightly colored and truly amazing to see indeed!
Creatures of the deep lagoon!
Many times Sharon and I make a couple of trips tubing down the river, while the guys snorkel different areas, and it’s always great fun to hear what all they’ve seen in our absence. This past week while snorkeling and relaxingly watching the abundant fish swim by, Wes suddenly came face-to-face with a Banded Water Snake, that needless to say, caught him off guard, scaring him as much as it did the poor snake, who was just hoping for a fish instead of a monster!
As you can see in the photos, we have had a blast this past week playing with our new “toy”. An inexpensive underwater camera. It’s been nice not worrying about dropping our camera while playing in the water.
Oooooooo-Weeeeee , , , , Now this is fun!!!
Wes was the first to use it, videoing some of our beautiful native fish species before sharing it with me. Proudly wearing the camera on my head, with an added strap tied under my chin for extra security, I headed down the initial torrent of rapids, while capturing the first video of many I hope to get. We’re planning on compiling the videos from our water adventures at the end of the summer to create an entertaining movie for you all to enjoy, making you feel as if you’re right there with us experiencing the fun!
Friday evening we enjoyed spending time with our friend’s grandson Chance, who loves the river as much as we big kids do. Within no time he was going down what he deemed “A waterfall . . . the big one!” and having an absolute blast doing it!
Meanwhile Wes and Tom did a bit of snorkeling, getting great videos of several beautiful and brightly colored native fish. Here are a few photos for you to enjoy . . .
We all swam, tubed and played, while enjoying the delightfully refreshing escape from the heat. Of course by the river, or better yet in the river, is a great place to enjoy a picnic. So I took my chair out into the middle of the stream, and sat next to a large rock, serving as a drink holder, while enjoying my sandwich in yet another fantastic outdoor restaurant!
Afterwards with his new love of tubing the waterfalls, Chance spent quite some time trying to figure out how to slip past us grownups to enjoy going down the cascades alone. Since this became an obvious losing prospect, he decided to stack all of the boats instead, calling them a big sandwich, and commenced pulling them around in the river. Once again many more wonderful memories were made, and Wes and I have certainly enjoyed this form of daily exercise much better then walking around town in the heat.
~ Fresh off the Easels ~
Here’s a recent drawing I did of an adorable little Yorkie named Benji. Wes is currently putting the finishing touches on a landscape from Blackwater Wildlife Refuge, and I’m finishing a landscape featuring the Dan Lawson place from Cades Cove.
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Until next time . . .