Snorkeling in The Great Smoky Mountains!
By Rachelle Siegrist
In the cool…clear…water… That’s where we happily spent some time this past week while snorkeling once again! Actually, it’s very cold water and that’s why my wetsuit is one of my new best friends! Once that thin layer of cold water inside gets warmed up, I can stay in the water for a couple of hours now whilst snorkeling and swimming, and it’s wonderful! I have so missed being able to swim and snorkel during the past 17 years of living here in the Smokies, and am truly delighted to be able to once again enjoy these favorite pastimes of mine!
We headed to a favorite swimming spot one morning this past week, with friends Tom and Sharon joining us. While snorkeling we saw lots of fish including big schools numbering fifty or more, of chub and other pretty minnows. They seem drawn to my hot pink mask, and come right up to it, staying with me as I swim along. I watched as a group of three big Rock Bass seemed to be having a conference, as they were chatting it up, by touching fins and swimming in certain ways close to one another, at one point one of them even had his mouth wide open, appearing to really be talking . . . Haha! In a couple of the deep green pools, huge River Redhorses slowly swam beneath me, with there being ten of them at one point!
In other pools, I spotted a couple of Rainbow Trout, which are always so beautiful to me, as well as numerous Warpaint Shiners, and even a Crawfish. The bright sunlight streamed down through the deep clear water, creating a dazzling display of brilliant patterns of light dancing about on the rocks and sand bottom below. Watching it, I instantly became mesmerized by this natural light show, through which fish came and went.
Having swum and snorkeled for a long time, we got out to enjoy a picnic lunch on the stone covered beach, with me opting to dine in my tube whilst floating about. Thankfully the rains held off long enough for us to enjoy a beautiful morning on the water, and after lunch, it was time for some tubing. We really enjoyed riding down a narrow rock-lined passage, which I called the miniature grand canyon of the Smokies. We tubed this particular shorter section many times over, going down backward at times, adding interest to our floating adventures.
Soon clouds started forming and growing fast, doubling in size in what seemed mere seconds, so Sharon and I decided if we were going to go further down the river, we had better go ahead and get started before rainstorms hit. There were a few light drops as we started floating down and within a minute, it was raining pretty good! The beautiful setting became so serene as thousands of raindrops danced upon the surface of the river creating ripples everywhere you looked. We were the only ones in the river as we floated down laughing like giddy schoolgirls, as I sang out “We’re tubing in the rain . . . just tubing in the rain . . . what a glorious feelin’ . . . we’re happy again!” And yes, I do believe those are the memories that one takes through life with them.
~ Recently off the Easels ~
It’s been a very busy week once again here in the Siegrist studio, with Wes spending quite a bit of time with his SAA office work, and also getting some time in at the easel. I finished my latest dog portrait commission of an adorable Chocolate Lab named Cricket, whose playing peek-a-boo. I couldn’t help but smile the entire time I painted this too cute miniature painting!
And here is the finished painting!
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Until next time . . .