24 August 2014

Last Weekend, Heintooga Round Bottom Road

Last weekend, my Sweet Husband and I, went hiking in the Blue Ridge Mountains. I promised pictures and here they are. 
Please note, most of these were taken with my oldest Fuji Finepix as someone (who me) forgot to either charge the battery in the Cannon or bring along the spare....
Good thing the Fuji was with me.

Fuzzy Caterpillar
We stopped at a picnic table in Maggie Valley to eat our lunch and build up our energy before hitting the trail. This entertaining fellow decided to come check us out. Evidently we were not all that interesting, but my purse was. I had to move it out of his way several times.

Mushrooms
 We spotted a bit of bright color early in. The mountains are lovely this time of year and the temperature was perfect for the day we had planned. I always associate mushrooms with autumn, but they are visible year round. I would not be brave enough to pick wild mushrooms, but I think they are fascinating and I love to take pictures of them (some may hide fairies you know see By Special Request , Blue Fairy , or Hodge Podge, for example).
The Road
We reached our destination, Heintooga Round Bottom Road, early in the afternoon. Heintooga is a 25 mile long, one way, unpaved road just off the Blue Ridge Parkway. It has lovely picnic areas at the top and the bottom comes out near Cherokee North Carolina. We have been up here before and usually we park at the top, walk for an hour or so and walk back. This time, we decided to drive down a ways, find a safe pull off, then walk a bit, return to the car and repeat the process.

Miniature Waterfall
Our plan was a good one. The road is clearly marked at the top as one way so there is not much traffic. The few people who do use it are there for the scenery and they are going slow (usually with lovely smiles on their faces, it is that nice). There are little waterfalls and streams in several places along the way.

Hanging Vine
I saw this and it reminded me of Jack's Beanstalk. I could see climbing that. It almost appears to be braided and tied in knots. That gets the imagination going. I wonder if I could add some Fairies climbing it?

Top of the Vine
This is the same vine, further up. Nature is always interesting. Climbing or touching anything in the woods, is not a good idea unless you know what you are doing. The vine could turn out to be poison ivy (Fairies would probably be immune, right?).

The road
The road turns and twists gently down the mountain side. You don't have to walk very far to find something lovely to photograph.

Bend in the road
What is up ahead? I love the way the light filters through the trees in the afternoon. 

Yellow Fringed Orchid
This was a lucky find. There were only three or four plants and I have not seen them before. I identified it with the help of US Wildflowers . 

Potential
This one was a little further down the same trail. It is not open enough for me to attempt to look it up, but seeing it and knowing that it will be covered in flowers soon, makes me smile. 

Mushroom
 Here is another one. We had a light rain shower. If I had found this during the rain, would I have found a fairy sheltering under neath?
Trail
This is aways down one of the trails that connect with Heintooga Round Bottom Road. I love the play of light and shadow through the trees. So very atmospheric. There was no one else on the trail but us. So peaceful.

Another view
I could walk for hours in places like this. The day was wonderful. The temperature was just right and the light sprinkle hardly reached us through the trees. 

Navigating
Our trusty navigation system was a little baffled. We told it we were going to Cherokee. When we first turned on the Blue Ridge, it kept trying to turn us around. It eventually gave up and routed us through the parkway. When we turned onto Heintooga Round Bottom Road, it was confused again, apparently as it is not a paved road, the system does not show it. As you can see, it finally just told us to "Continue to roadway".

Nearly to Cherokee
This is close to where Heintooga comes back out onto the paved road. Still lovely, now it goes both ways. From here we drove on in to Cherokee North Carolina. There were BEARS, (you will have to wait till next time for those pics though).

My Sweet Husband
One of the trail heads we turned down while we walked. What a wonderful way to spend a day and what a wonderful person to spend it with. I am so very lucky!

Breakfast Pizza
Speaking of lucky, this is what is waiting for me for breakfast. It is a veggie Pizza made from scratch just for me (OK so I have to share it with the Chef, but I like sharing with him).
Hope your weekend was as nice.
Cheers,
Kat

18 August 2014

The Phone Call (Something Questionable)


Last week I got a phone call at work. It was Friday. I checked my schedule, discussed it with my boss, and went on about my business.
Over the weekend I mentioned it to my Sweet Husband and told him it was not a worry.
Tuesday night I had a little trouble sleeping.
Wednesday night was a little worse. 
Friday night I did not sleep at all.
Friday morning I went in to work, filed a report and went to my appointment. 
Let me back up a little bit here. A couple of weeks ago, I went in for my annual Mammogram. The phone call was asking me to come back for more pictures as "Something Questionable" showed up on the first set. "Something Questionable" was the phrase running through my mind repeatable all week. When I first got the phone call, the logical part of my brain was still in charge (I am a nurse after all) but the logical part of the brain is not always the loudest. I know that the odds are in my favor. I have been invited back for retakes before, but usually they check before you leave and retake them the same day so you don't have time to stew about it. "Something Questionable" made for a very long week.
The retake was quick, professional, a little uncomfortable, and just fine. 
In other words, I am fine.
Next year I will go back and do it again.
So if you are a woman over 40, get checked every 1 or 2 years (depending on your Primary Care Practitioner's recommendation). If you love a woman over 40, encourage her to get checked, and if you hear the phrase "Something Questionable", think of me, smile, go back when they ask you too, and DON'T WORRY. 

Relief!
This is me at about 15, on my cousins trampoline. 
(Jumping for Joy?) 

Kat and her Dad at an old car show
This does not really have anything to do with the post, but I just found it and I think it is pretty awesome.

I will post pictures from a mini escape next week,
See you there!
Cheers
Kat

10 August 2014

Summertime Color

Our summer is particularly lovely this year. The temperatures have been milder than usual. This lovely old Antebellum Home was built before modern air conditioning was available so they built it to stay cool. It has high ceilings, covered porches, and has a long central hall. We installed new screen doors a while back, now we can leave the doors open for a good bit of the day and enjoy the breeze.

 A very wet evening
This post is all about summertime color, and well, you don't get pretty summer color without a little rain (no this does not look like a "little" rain). This is what it looked like when we turned off the paved road to head home.
 A welcome site
Our road sign. The distortion is caused by rain. It was really coming down. Somehow this scene still manages to be beautiful (and it means I am almost home).
 Sparklers!
Sorry, no pictures of the sparklers in action. I was to busy being a kid to grab the camera. Just so you know, they are still fun. I was surprised to see the notice on the box though, "This is not a toy and not suitable or recommended for children 12 years of age and under". Really? At 5 or 6 they are magic, at 13 they are "kid stuff"(at a slightly more advanced age, they become great fun again). Sparklers are one of the joys of childhood.
 Green Country Road
Who would not want to take a walk down this country road. I may be a little biased, but I think this road is lovely anytime of year. If you have been looking at this blog for long, you have seen it in all seasons, if not, feel free to explore the Blog archive links on the right hand side bar.
 Snake Skeleton
There is always something interesting to look at. This was on a side rode we don't usually walk on. I don't know how long it had been there. I am not going to pick the snakes up and play with them, but we do like having them around as they keep the rodent population under control. 
 Don Pablo's
My Sweet Husband took me out for dinner at Don Pablo's last time we were in Greenville SC. This is one of the most colorful restaurants I have seen. Just walking in and looking around is cheerful. 
 See what I mean?
Even the air ducts are painted lavender.
 Don Pablo's Interior
We had a booth near the fountain.
Don Pablo's Food
I will admit we did not go to the restaurant for the environment. We wanted to check out the food. Don Pablo's is next door to one of the Barnes and Noble Book Stores in Greenville. We have said we were going to try it out for years. Finally got around to it. We will be going back, the food was great and there was plenty of it. 
 Spontaneous Play
Spontaneous might not be a young kitty, but she still loves to chase that ribbon.
 Colorful Turtle
It could be a tortoise, I do not know the difference. My Sweet Husband rescued this one from the road. We keep napkins in the car for just such occasions. After we took his picture, Sweet Hubby released him on the side of the road he was heading towards. Off he went seemingly content.
 Bright Yellow Wildflowers
Breakfast is ready!
Got to go, homemade pizza awaits.

Hope your day is colorful and fun!
Cheers,
Kat
Spontaneous

03 August 2014

Up the road to Fish Haven Idaho

My last trip to Utah included a short side trip to see family in Idaho.
Fish Haven Idaho
I tease them a lot about it. It is not very big and I think it has a silly name, but it is a nice place to spend some time in the summer (they like it in winter too but you know I hate the cold).
 These first three pictures were taken out the window while we drove up to Idaho. 
 It is not always this green.
 It is a beautiful drive any time.
 First view of Bear Lake
There is a place you can pull over to take pictures of this first view. I have not been up there in more than 30 years. I forgot just how lovely it really is.
 Bear Lake in the distance
This is taken at a different spot at the same stop. Doesn't it just call to you? 
 Purple Wildflower
Color everywhere you look. 
 Raspberry Stand
Speaking of color, this place is just as you go into town. Fresh picked Raspberries, doesn't that sound tasty on a hot summers day?
 The Tree Lady
I don't know her story. She is carved from a tree stump then painted. She stands sentinel at the side of the road.
 Boats
Here you can see why Fish Haven attracts so many visitors in the summer. Lovely spot, great fishing!
 Peaceful View
How would you like to wake up and look at that with your first cup of coffee?
 Residents
Here are a couple of full time Fish Haven Residents. They offered to give me a tour, for fish of course.
 Glady's Place
Interior view. Need drinks, ice, lottery tickets, souvenirs, or just someone nice to talk to for a few? Stop on in. If your lucky my great niece will make you a sandwich.
 Booths in the back
If you need a break, here is a great spot. Glady's has booths where you can eat that sandwich.
 Can't miss it
Just look for the sign.
Parting view
Can you see all the poppies in bloom?
It is a short post, but it was a quick trip. Hope you enjoyed it. I sure did.

See you next time
Cheers,
Kat



27 July 2014

A trip downtown, in Ogden Utah

I grew up in Ogden Utah. When I was a kid, a trip downtown was something special. My Mom's office was downtown (This was in an era when most Moms did not work outside the home, I have always been proud of all that my Mom accomplished). A trip downtown might be shopping for school clothes, or to have lunch with Mom at "Snappy Service Cafe", or maybe to watch a parade from her office window. (As a kid, I would have preferred being down on the street for the parades, they often threw candy from the floats). 
My Mom's office was above "The Fun Shop". It carried all sorts of joke items, posters, and magic tricks. If you grew up there, you will remember it. Unfortunately, that building is gone now. 

When I was in Utah a few weeks ago, my friend Danette and I took a trip downtown. 
Details
 Light fixture in Ogden City and County Building
Light fixture in the Ogden Municipal Building. Danette had some business inside so I tagged along. I have not been in there for decades. I remembered that as a child, I thought it was "Neat" building, but did not remember why. Now I remember, let me show you some of the details. 

 Elevator Doors
How many public buildings built now have such beauty in the details. Beauty just to make the day a little nicer for the people who had business in the building.
 Stairway
The nice lady working behind the desk told us that they are doing some repair work. I am glad that they are not "Modernizing".
Note the plaque on the wall, I enlarged it in the corner so you can read it. This was a Public Works Agency Building.
 Glass
Windows above the entrance. 
Carved Details 
This is carved on the side of the counter where you go to apply for building permits. Right at the level where a kid in there with her Dad would notice it.
 Danette
My partner in crime (and coffee). Danette is my other sister. We might have different parents, but we are still sisters. 
 Horse
Remember the painted cows that appeared in cities all over the country several years ago? Cherokee NC has painted bears and Ogden Utah has horses. This one is in front of the Ogden City and County Building.
 Gardens
The park around the City and County Building is beautifully landscaped. When I was a kid they set up a "Christmas Village" with displays by church groups and local businesses. Walking through it was magical. I wonder if they still set it up?
 More Horses
Here are more of the horses. As you can see, there is a variety of paint themes. 
 Peery's Egyptian Theater Marquee
Here is another of my favorite places downtown. The Egyptian Theater. I have so many great memories inside this wonderful old building. There were two theaters downtown, the Egyptian and the Orpheum. Unfortunately the Orpheum is gone. The Egyptian is still going strong. 
 Egyptian Details
The outside of the building is beautiful, the inside is even better. They were closed when I was there with Danette so no pictures this time, maybe on my next visit out west?
 Egyptian Ticket Booth
Peery's Egyptian Theater 
Gods on the roof and Scarabs holding it up. What more can you ask for in an Egyptian building? I am sure that growing up around all this influenced me. 
The next picture is the ceiling above the ticket booth. You did not mind waiting when there was so much to look at.








 Children on a sled
Utah is a great place for families. There is an emphasis on the children that makes it easier to be a family. For instance, both the Egyptian and the Orpheum had "Crier Rooms" upstairs where Moms could take fussy children and still be able to see and hear the movie. 
 The park behind the City and County Building
This is new and I approve. What a lovely place to wander around in on a Utah Summer Day. 
 Ben Lomand Peak
You can't get lost in Ogden, as long as you can see the peak, you can figure out where you are at. This peak is nick named "Rocky" because when there is snow on it, you can see an elf's face complete with little pointy cap. 
 Ogden Utah
Ogden has so much more to see and do. It is a great place to visit. While you are downtown, visit Ogden's Historic 25th street. There are historic houses, museums, The Union Station, the Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base, and a Dinosaur Park.
Intrigued? There is so much more, see Visit Ogden Utah for more information. 
On that note, my breakfast is ready.
Cheers,
Kat

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