Water, Land And Sky

Kayaking and Hiking With Friends!

By Rachelle Siegrist

rachelle siegrist kayaking

We were blessed with a couple days of blue skies and sunshine here in the Smokies this past week, and what a treat it was! There’s a saying “Make hay while the sun shines”, and when it shines as rarely as it has here the past couple of months, it makes you want to take advantage of the rain-free days! So Wes and I did just that, spending a few hours out on the water kayaking. It was cloudy when we started out, and very windy, but at least it wasn’t raining and we were out on the water, so it was a great day! Paddling a new area, we found a short, narrow winding creek, going up it as far as we could. There, the water became shallow, with numerous small cascades upstream, so it was the perfect spot for a boat picnic.

rachelle siegrist with bald eagles
With the two Bald Eagles in the trees to the left 

We relaxingly sat there, watching a large flock of warblers flit around the surrounding bushes and trees, while being serenaded by the peaceful sounds of running water.  We saw Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Chickadees, Tufted Titmice and several other warblers, as well as Kingfishers, in our cozy little section of the creek.  Whilst paddling afterwards, we saw two adult Bald Eagles sitting in a couple of trees nearby.  At one point one of them called out that very distinctive sound, and it was most beautiful!  Then as I slowly passed beneath, I saw one looking directly down at me, it’s eyes appearing almost crosseyed, with the way they look forward at things, and for a few amazing seconds it was as if we two were the only ones around!

rachelle siegrist by waterfall
Yeah the water’s cold, but it’s always cold here!

It was such a peaceful day, and the world was ours, save for one boat with fishermen, as we continued exploring this new area.  We could hear rushing water in the distance and it grew louder as we got closer.  Getting out and walking up the bank, we excitedly discovered a couple of small waterfalls, which were quite lovely!  The cool, overcast day, provided a great opportunity to check out this rocky area, that would surely be full of snakes on a warm sunny day.  Although I could’ve happily stayed there, it was time to climb back into our kayaks and start heading back to the ramp.  The wind was blowing so hard much of the time, that waves were white capping and spraying us with water each time we paddled as they crashed against the front of our kayaks.

Thankfully it finally died down and the rest of the trip was mostly smooth paddling!  After returning and loading our kayaks, we sat for awhile enjoying the amazing view!  I was instantly mesmerized by both the warmth of the sun on my skin and watching the thousands of sun sparkles dance about the water’s surface.  I could’ve easily stayed there the remainder of the day!

rachelle siegrist
Ah . . . sun and water!  

We chose to go on a hike with friends Tom and Sharon on one of the sunny days.  Since it offers numerous open views in the winter months, we decided to hike the Little Greenbrier Trail, which runs the ridge lines up from the Walker Sisters Cabin.  Wes and I hadn’t hiked this trail in many years, and couldn’t believe the growth in Wears Valley since we last saw it from up there.  It was a beautiful sunny day and not a cloud in the sky as we walked along, and I had to constantly stop to pet the large clumps of moss and deer lichen that lined the path, that were so soft to the touch due to so much rain.

rachelle siegrist hiking in the smokies
Where did Wes go?
wes siegrist hiking in the smokies
Oh . . . There he is!

We finished our hike in time to ride up on the new recently opened section of the Foothills Parkway, which offers stunning views of Townsend, Wears Valley and the Great Smoky National Park beyond.  With the clear skies, we could see forever and felt as if we were on top of the world!

rachelle siegrist on foothills parkway

~ Fresh Off The Easel ~

Wes recently finished his painting of  Lubber Grasshopper, which he photographed during one of our kayaking adventures.  Next week I’ll be sharing my frog with you.

eastern-lubber-grasshopper-by-wes-siegrist1
“Eastern Lubber Grasshopper” by-Wes

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EXQUISITE MINIATURES ~ Meet The Artists Reception

At The Hickory Museum of Art 

This coming Sunday, January 20th ~ from 2 to 4 PM

We are looking forward to visiting this beautiful museum and if you are in, or going to be visiting the area, we would love to see you there!

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Until next time . . .

~ Rachelle

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