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. 

hiking in tennessee

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.

hiking in tennessee 2

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!


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

Thanks for following me 🙂


Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

The Day My World Turned Pink

wild azaleas pink

Our weather here has been like a yoyo this past month. It gets warmer than normal, and then a cold front comes and kills back much of the flowering shrubs, trees and more. Well, the past few days brought the most recent cold snap which killed a big part of the baby leaves on the trees this time! It’s another “limbo-spring” here in the Smokies to say the least. However, before the last cold front, Wes and I loaded up the kayaks, packed a lunch and headed to the water for the day. It was a gorgeous day too, with clear blue skies above and the bright pink blossoms of wild azaleas dotting the hillsides. 


Unbelievably the water’s surface was smooth that morning, with a gentle wind at our backs, just enough to help push us along, which was very nice! After paddling for awhile, we climbed out of the kayaks and ate our lunch, while perched on a large rock in the sunshine. While Wes walked along the shore fishing for Rainbow Trout, which he caught a couple of, I sat on the big rock whilst dipping me feet into the icy water. After they went numb, it actually felt good . . . Ha! The air was filled with the symphony of cascades and springtime birdsong, it was heavenly to say the least, and I could literally feel myself melting with relaxation. 


We’ve learned with kayaking, to enjoy and appreciate good paddling conditions when we have them. Paddling along after lunch, all was going pretty smoothly, until I came to a certain section in the river, when all of a sudden I was hit with what seemed like near hurricane force winds, so strong that it caught my BIG pink sun hat, and pulled it down over my face, completely covering it whilst turning the world pink and blocking my vision entirely! At that point the wind blew my kayak sideways, making it parallel with the waves that were now white capping. I could feel the intense wind and waves about to roll me over, while I was still trying to get my strapped on hat off of my face, so I could see where I was going. Finally I got it off and quickly realigned myself, facing my kayak into the wind and oncoming waves. I realized that as hard as I was paddling, the wind was strong enough, that it was actually blowing me backwards, so I just kept myself facing that direction until I was able to slowly make headway once the wind died down some. 


Thankfully once I paddled through that section, the wind subsided for quite sometime. So I happily went back to photographing and videoing the beautiful wildflowers scattered about. Delicate bright red flowers of the Fire Pinks covered the banks in areas, and white flowering trees canopied above, adding to the beauty!


There were several large clumps of beautiful Dwarf Crested Iris blooming as well, and this one in particular looked so lovely perched upon this moss covered rock near the water’s edge, appearing almost jungle like! 


We enjoyed relaxingly paddling along until rounding another sharp bend, at which point we faced directly into the mouth of what felt like a “hurricane” once more! As I paddled, the waves were actually breaking over the front of my kayak at times, sending a spray of icy water clean over my head! I was so thankful that the sun was out and that the air temp was warmer that day. I have to admit though, that I had a blast riding over the waves and was sad when we reached our take out point. It was another great day and adventure indeed!

This Week’s Tip From The 1892 Cookbook

Okay, so this is what “Dr. Hall” said about good eating practices, and I’ll share the rest next week. I don’t know about you, but it seems that anxious thoughts have become more prevalent during the past year, so I’m thinking if everyone followed that rule, there’d be starving people all around! But who knows, he could be right. I do have to wonder though, why one shouldn’t eat after intense mental effort, such as spending time on the phone with let’s say . . . insurance companies’ computer, etc! Perhaps he was concerned that after such taxing mental conditions, one might miss their mouth and poke out an eye with a fork… HaHa!


See our miniatures in person this week

See the show online now here: 30th International Miniature Art Show
May 1-31, 2021: Seaside Art Gallery, Nags Head, NC (We are the judges for the show this year!)

See the show online here: The Art of the Miniature XXIX
May 2 – June 13, 2021: The Snow Goose Gallery, Bethlehem, PA

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Follow us!

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle

Smoky Mountain Spring Flowers

yoshino cherry tree blossoms photo

WOW . . . It’s finally happened! Some of the bushes and trees are bursting with blossoms, and I can’t begin to tell you how thrilled I am to see color in the landscape once again! Not to mention the blue skies, which we enjoyed yesterday and are enjoying again today. Spring is a little late here in the Smokies, so that makes these bright blossoms an even more welcome sight! So this week I thought we’d go on a fun little photo journey around our small yard to see what’s blooming. The Yoshino Cherry Tree, shown above, is a favorite of the bees, and I love standing beneath it whilst listening to the humming buzz of these happy insects! Below is the gorgeous Forsythia, appearing as the petal-form of sunshine, adding a bold, bright yellow splash to the yard!

forsythia photo

This is the Japonica’s (shown below) second attempt at flowering, which thankfully was successful, as the cold bit it back when it started to bloom earlier this year. The honey bees really seem to love these flowers, and I love them too since they’re a shade of my favorite color . . . pink!

japonica bush flowers photo

Of course, the Daffodils are always a lovely sight indeed and usually one of the first to start blooming in our yard. We have several varieties of these delicate beauties, ranging from all yellow to multi-colored, to miniature, all quite beautiful to behold.

narcissus daffodil photo

There are several wildflowers starting to bloom as well, one of which is the Bloodroot shown below. We have several nice-sized clumps of these scattered throughout the gardens, and these hardy wildflowers bloom for quite a long time, which is always nice.

bloodroot smokies wildflower

Cutleaf Toothwort is another lovely little wildflower here in the Smokies, with wee, delicate petals in shades of light pastel pink and lavender.  

cutleaf toothwort smokies wildflower

Well, I hope you enjoyed our little sojourn around the path, and next week there should be even more wildflower blossoms for me to photograph and share with you! We’re also hoping for a day of nice weather, so we can get back out on the water again. Even though it’s only been a couple of weeks since we went kayaking last, it seems like months.

Ridiculous Remedies

Alrighty, here’s this week’s 1892 cookbook remedy for you, and I’m not even sure where to start on this one. Goodness, I don’t think I would’ve wanted to own flannel back then if you had to be this tedious about taking care of it! And even more unbelievable than the safe washing practices of flannel, is the care of men’s pantaloons . . . HAHA! I’m not quite sure what they mean by “worsted goods” but I’m suspecting they mean the really dirty stuff! I guess I never realized men wore pantaloons and the idea of Wes wearing them totally cracks me up! And of course, they ironed them . . . right? . . . Because who wanted to be caught wearing wrinkled pantaloons . . . HAHA! The more we learn about what they did back then, it’s no wonder people looked like they were approaching 100 years of age, when they were only in their early 30s! I’m sure this will make you want to go give your washing machine a nice BIG hug!

everyday cook book


In The Studio

This week in the studio, I’ve started my latest commission of a pair of Purple Martins. Wes and I had martins living in our yard when we lived in Okeechobee, FL, and we absolutely loved them! Their calls and chatter filled the air as they flocked in and out of their big house, located atop a long pole erected in the garden. They were great for adding both beauty and delightful sounds, so as you can imagine, this painting is both fun and special to me! Wes has been framing paintings for several upcoming shows.  We were delighted to receive the wonderful news from the SAA jury that each of us had a painting juried into the upcoming Animal Impressions show at the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum later this summer.  I’ll share the images with you in the near future.

commission a bird painting


In case you missed the announcement of my latest time-lapse painting video, here’s the link to our YouTube Chanel for you to check it out and any others you may have missed!

 See our miniatures in person this week 

 Exquisite Miniatures at the Norfolk Arts Center, in Norfolk, NE

To see our available miniature paintings, visit our website, artofwildlife.com

Would you like to commission us? If so, contact us by Email

Follow us!

Until Next Time ~ Rachelle