Kayaking, Camping And Hiking!!!

Three days of heaven!

by Rachelle Siegrist

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In my little boat

I LOVE camping!!! So excitement mounted as we finished loading the van with camping gear and kayaks and began our three-day adventure!  We arrived at our campsite just in time to make lunch, before getting everything set up and situated. Since it was the middle of the day, a hike in the woods seemed like a great idea, so off we went, enjoying not only the peace and quiet, but the first bright reds and yellows of the fall season!

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Enjoying a dreamy hike

Clear blue skies allowed dappled sunlight to dance upon us through the treetops above, and a lovely breeze kept us company, as we walked along. Several beautiful flowers and interesting species of fungi and mushrooms were spotted along the way, with one group looking like a previous hiker had spilled a basket of small potatoes all over the ground!

Coral fungus ~ A ribbon like fungus ~ “New Potatoes” fungus

Serenaded by birdsong, the “checking” of warblers, the occasional cry of a hawk soaring above, and the thumping of woodpeckers on hollow tree trunks, we relaxingly meandered along the curving path, each step causing cares to slip away,  our world becoming one of simplicity and peace.

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A falling leaf

Returning from our hike, we visited the little camp store, where a treat awaited us, chocolate Mayfield ice cream in the small paper cup, the kind you eat with the little flat wooden spoon!  I’m not quite sure if it’s because it brings back fond childhood memories, or if it’s because we were camping, but it tasted absolutely divine and became our daily treat!  Returning to our campsite, I decided to float on my tube for awhile, basking in the warm sun, while Wes played chess, activities we both enjoyed each day there!

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Happiness!

I carelessly drifted about, going where the wind took me, while watching clouds form and shape shift, until deciding it was warm enough to swim.  In I went, enjoying the refreshingly cool water and the fact that I pretty much had it to myself!   Feeling as relaxed as a limp rag, I returned to the campsite to make sandwiches for our evening kayaking trip.  Soon we were in the water and happily paddling on our way!  It was so quiet that we could actually hear the humming buzz from vast amounts of gnats which loved gathering around us and our kayaks.

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Gnats . . . Gnats . . . everywhere!!!

After a idyllic kayak picnic nestled amongst a grassy area, we continued our journey as the sun slipped lower into the sky, until it disappeared behind the mountain, silhouetting surrounding trees and hillsides against a light salmon colored sky. 

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The mountains bathed in the golden evening sunlight
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Wes rounding a corner

The late evening was spent sitting by the campfire, serenading us with pops and cracks, while mesmerizing us with its luminous show. Before heading to bed, we took a stroll to the water’s edge, where we stood gazing at the gloriously clear nighttime sky, filled with vast amounts of stars and a quarter moon, all perfectly mirrored by the glassy surface of the water below, and for a short while in this beautiful stillness, all was well with the world!

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Another glorious sunset

Each day started out with kayaking, and the rising early morning mist was best our last day there, lasting for quite sometime before disappearing.  That morning as I paddled through it, I noticed a small mist tornado form and slowly dance across the surface of the water, while swallows swept from the sky, dipping into the sunlit mist, sending illuminated splashes flying up into the air each time, creating a magnificent show!

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Videoing the early morning mist

The last day I managed to quietly paddle up close enough to a flock of at least 12 Blue-winged Teals, to watch them preen for a bit before flying off, and was delighted to catch it on video!

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Surrounded by Blue-winged Teals

Later that afternoon, after a hike and ice cream, it was time to head home.  Reluctantly I got into the van, deciding any time you spend three-days in heaven, it’s sad to come back to earth.  But hopefully there will be many more camping trips ahead for us, making new memories with each one!

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A neat Bryozoan colony Wes spotted while kayaking

~ Fresh off the Easels ~

I recently finished this miniature painting of a Mule which we photographed in Cades Cove late one evening.  I thought the way the sun was hitting him and showing off his beautiful shiny coat was stunning!

Mule-painting_A_Mule_In_The_Warm_Sun-by-Rachelle-Siegrist1
My “A Mule in the Sun”

Here’s another one of my recently commissioned miniature portrait paintings, which I had great fun doing, and imagined myself swimming in the warm waters off the beautiful Virgin Islands as well!  This painting is even more special to our collectors now, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who have suffered great damage there in St. John, and in several other places from Hurricane Irma.

Our Little Mermaid by Rachelle Siegrist
Our Little Mermaid

Our traveling tour Exquisite Miniatures opened at the beautiful Mari Sandoz Heritage Center in Chadron, NE September 21st and will be exhibited there until December 21st.

Exquisite_Miniatures_at_the_Mari_Sandoz_Heritage_Center
Exquisite Miniatures

~ —————()————— ~

yellow lab painting, yellow Labrador Retriever painting, dog commission by rachelle siegrist

~ To Commission A Painting by Us Click Here!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

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4 thoughts on “Kayaking, Camping And Hiking!!!

  1. Linda Haney

    Hi you two! Enjoying your blogs. Also, wonder if you’ll have any time available to join us for dinner at our house when you’re in Wausau for your residency. I don’t know what all the museum has cooked up (no pun intended!) for you when you’re here, but we certainly enjoyed getting to know you at the Friday evening dinner and would love for you to join us if you can. We’re only 1 1/2 blocks from the museum, so an easy walk. Linda & Don Haney

    1. Hi Linda and Don,
      Great . . . I’m delighted that you’re enjoying the blog posts 😄
      We don’t know for sure yet what all they have planned, but I’m betting we’ll be free for dinner one evening and would love to join you both at your house!!
      We’ll get in touch as soon as we know . . . We’re looking forward to more fun and laughs with you both 😊
      Rachelle

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