Where Rocks Are as BIG as Houses

wes siegrist hiking

One day this past week was forecast to be beautiful and completely rain free, so Wes and I decided to head out to explore more of the surrounding area and do some hiking. The forecasters were spot on, and it was a gorgeous day with abundant azure blue skies and lots of sunshine! Walking shoes on and hiking sticks in hand, we started up a new trail which is always exciting to me. After passing through a dense tunnel of lush green Mountain Laurel, we found a split in the trail, with a sign that read “cave” pointing to one direction. Of course we took the side trip and were delighted to come upon a large rock wall, with a cave entrance in the one side. Even better was the fact that a lovely clear stream flowed right down to the cave entrance. 

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There were several Tall Phlox blooming alongside the stream, as well as other native wildflowers. The cave is closed due to the white-nosed syndrome with bats, so after exploring a little around the outside area, we walked the short distance to where we met back up with the main hiking trail. As we climbed in altitude, the wildflowers scattered about became more abundant, and in several areas there were more Rue Anemone than I had remembered ever seeing anywhere in past spring hikes.It was beautiful, with their delicate white petals covering the forest floor.

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Our destination for the day was to see a bunch of BIG rocks, supposedly the size of houses, and we had only seen smaller ones thus far after hiking quite awhile. We had hoped to make it to the rocks to eat lunch, but alas it was farther than we had anticipated, so we found a nice rock that served as a great picnic spot, whilst offering us a good view.

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We decided to just keep going, because I especially wanted to see the group of building-sized rocks. After hiking quite some time, we saw what looked like a big rock wall off in the distance, and growing closer to them, we decided we had made it and that this must be them!

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I was thrilled to say the least, as I walked up to the huge rocks, feeling as if I had entered somewhere truly special, whilst standing amongst these ancient giants! They were indeed the size of houses, and some as tall as two to three story houses!

hiking in tennessee with wes siegrist

Meandering through the narrow tunnels leading between the rocks, we spotted a set of steps leading up between two rock walls.

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It was somewhat of a tight squeeze, and reminded me of a section called “fat man squeeze” that we had encountered on one of our past hikes. Standing at the bottom of the steps and peering upwards, the gargantuan rocks seems to go up forever, and I couldn’t stop saying “Wow!”

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Once at the top, we enjoyed a totally different perspective of the big rocks, whilst looking down.

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Some of them looked like monster-sized stone dominoes, with a couple having gotten knocked over, while others looked like compressed stacks of large stones. Many were covered with a variety of lichens and mosses which were all very bright green and lush after recent rain. Ferns grew in precarious places, appearing to be clinging on for dear life, lest they plummet to the depths below.

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Leaving that jumble of huge rocks, we hiked on and were delighted to see a sign reading “overlook”. Immediately we took the turn and soon reached the edge of the forest, where we walked out onto a massive rock outcropping! The view was amazing, and I found myself saying “WOW!” numerous times over once again, as we explored the stone platform.

rachelle siegrist hiking

The top of it was covered with multiple pools of water, and reminded me very much of Enchanted Rock In Texas, one of my favorite places! 

wes siegrist

Of course I had to peer down into each pool whilst searching for any living things. While I didn’t see any, I found the coloration of the rock in some of the pools absolutely beautiful!

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A couple of the pools were filled with numerous white rose petals floating about, obviously brought there and scattered about by some hopeful romantic. They added to the already magical feel of this enchanting place.

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After spending quite some time hanging out on the rocky outcropping enjoying the warmth of the sunshine and breathtaking view, we headed back down the trail. I was so happy that we had continued on until we finally found the big rocks that truly are as BIG as houses! I already am eagerly awaiting our next adventure!

SEE OUR PAINTINGS IN PERSON

5th Birds of America Show
Opening this week at Francesca Anderson Fine Art, MA: April 20 – June 12, 2022

31st International Miniature Show
Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC: April 30 – May 28, 2022 (Our miniatures are already at the gallery and available for purchase)

Our touring exhibition Exquisite Miniatures is currently at The Evelyn Burrow Museum, located in Hanceville, AL, where you can see it now through April 21st, 2022. So if you’re in the area, plan a visit to the museum, grab a magnifying glass and be “Wowed” in person!

Society of Animal Artists 2021 Exhibition
Remaining Tour Venue:
February 5 – May 5, 2022: The Sternberg Museum of Natural History, Hays, KS

To see our available miniature paintings as well as some upcoming shows, please

visit our WEBSITE  artofwildlife.com     Email us

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Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Getting Ready For A Wonderful Christmas!

Haydn the angel
My adorable little niece Haydyn, truly is an angel!

Busy . . . busy . . . busy . . . that’s what we’ve been much of this past week! We’ve been getting ready for my family, all eight of them, to arrive to spend Christmas week here in the Smokies with us! They should be getting here late tonight, so we’re getting the last few things on the “to do” list done! It’s going to be a splendid and very Merry Christmas with my family all around us and my little nephew, Tyler, and niece, Haydyn, here! It will be fun to see Christmas through the eyes of a child once again! In addition to getting ready for their impending visit, we spent quite a bit of time painting this past week as well. I have also been making numerous trips out daily to feed my feathered and furry friends. My little friend Stubbs, the Tufted Titmouse, has come several times, which makes me a happy camper. He’s very happy and content to sit in his bowl of finely crunched p-nuts and sunflower chips and gulp it down, and I’m perfectly content and happy to watch him!

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My homemade stuffed acorn squash I made one evening . . . YUM!

We’ve enjoyed some fun times with friends and neighbors this past week too! Our neighborhood had a Christmas dinner party at a lovely restaurant in nearby Alcoa one evening. I took my camera with good intentions of getting a nice photo of the group, but alas we were having so much fun listening to our friends Gary and Pam, that I lost track of time and completely forgot to have a photo taken. Oh well, nonetheless, we were obviously having a ball, as they are great storytellers and very funny! Another evening, our friend Kit joined us, and we spent the evening at friends Fred and Barb’s house, where we were also joined by friends Pat and Frank. As we nibbled on some delicious snacks, we watched the Christmas movie “Elf”, and did more laughing than anything! A homemade orange-spiced brownie topped off with a bit of Extreme Moose Tracks ice cream put a divine ending to the evening! Fred and Barb graciously sent home more mealworms for my little wren buddy, Peedeepeeps, and Frank and Pat sent home “pizza bones” . . . pizza crusts . . . to be made into future peanut butter treats for the birds and squirrels.  Many apologies for not having many photos to share with you this week, but you can be sure that next week’s blog will certainly be an exciting one, with numerous photos and entertaining stories to share!

Fresh off the easel ~ Wes finished his miniature painting of a White Rhino and I completed a cute little bunny. Both of these will be among our new paintings for the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition (SEWE) this coming February in Charleston, SC.

african white rhino painting
“An African Treasure” by Wes

bunny painting
“As Cute As Can Be” by Rachelle

Come see the artwork in person at our exhibitions!

Cherish your loved one or a beloved pet in miniature!

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Until next time ~ Rachelle