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To the Mountains!


It was time again, to go explore and get lost in the mountains. We left work early on a Friday afternoon and the weekend was packed with adventures. 

Barely an hour down the interstate and the Blue Ridge mountains suddenly appear straight ahead.


I had picked out a new trail to hike this time, one that leads to the top of one of the mountain ridges. I recognize the mountain peak as we drive down the interstate. The one to the right in this picture. 

 It’s higher than I expected. 
It’s going to be a really big hike.


Highway 80 is the curviest road I’ve ever been on. It goes straight up the side of the mountain, with steep drops straight down.



It was perfect timing for the tree’s best autumn colors. We headed down the Blue Ridge Parkway to one of our favorite stops, Craggy Gardens. 



We ventured through the craggy trees to the top of the little mountain, as the sun began to go down. 

But we didn’t stay for the sunset because it became too crowded with people taking selfies.


We were tired and hungry by the time we got back to the motel, so we walked in the cold night air up the road to a little German restaurant, where  we ate a bunch of hearty junk. 

I ate spaetzle for the first time. Also some breaded warm cheese bites. Wow. 


After dinner I sat out in the cold and took pictures of the sky. 


The next morning, I drove for the first time, on the Blue Ridge Parkway. 

It was a bit fun, and a bit scary. I screamed a lot. 


I drove us past an apple orchard to the town of Little Switzerland where we explored an old bookstore.  

The next stop was the BIG HIKE.



We turned down smaller and smaller roads, until we eventually came to a narrow dirt road that led to the hiking trail. We ventured down the path, which got steeper and steeper the further we went. 

Soon we were climbing over boulders, nearly straight up. I wondered if the big hike was a bad idea.


After an hour we made it to the top. We could see for miles.

The big hike was NOT a bad idea!


After being way up in the clouds, it seemed like a good idea to go way deep underground.

 In a cave.


That night we drove along the parkway at night, stopping at overlooks to take pictures, while I freaked out at what could be lurking in the dark.


On the final morning of our mountain adventure, we watched the sunrise before traveling up the parkway to see what else we could find before returning home.


Our adventures led us to Linville falls, a place we had been to a few times already, but this time we decided to hike a different trail, one that was less busy. 


Back on the road, we ended up finding another trail that winds around under the parkway and around some huge rocks. The trail was very long but we didn’t have time to walk the entire length. It will be first on the list next time.


I started reminiscing about this trip as soon as we returned back home. The memories are so ingrained in my mind.

I don’t think it will be long before we return to explore the Blue Ridge mountains once again. 



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Cherry Blossoms

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Many Streets downtown are lined with cheery trees and for a few weeks each spring, there is a glorious display of light pink cherry blossoms.

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These particular trees are right outside my office window at work. I’ve never had a desk near a window before so I was quite overjoyed to be looking at these trees every day. One day they were looking so pretty I had to race right back there after going home to get my camera so I could take some pictures. .

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I love walking along the city sidewalks, underneath all the blossoms. I just wish the trees stayed in bloom longer. A few days after I took these photos, some huge storms came through and all the flowers were washed away. I wish flowering trees kept their blooms all summer.

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Crape Myrtles



In the late summer, when most of the flowers have finished blooming, and the gardens begin to turn brown from the summer heat, the Crape Myrtle trees bloom.


Many different shades of pink and purple line the streets. It almost feels like spring again. 






I never realized how many of these trees were in my neighborhood. I only wish they stayed this pretty all the time.

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Quiet Winter Woods

I love the quiet stillness of the woods during winter.

The way the sun sets early, and casts its orange glow against the bare branches. It gives the illusion of warmth, but the air is bitter cold.


The quiet winter trees make me more thoughtful, more inspired.







Winter can seem like it takes forever to pass, but there’s still beauty to be enjoyed.
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Current Inspirations- Bonsai!


I’ve been obsessed with Bonsais ever since I came across a bonsai book at the library almost five years ago.  I was so excited that as soon as I got home I went and dug up a little shrub in my moms yard and trimmed it into a bonsai. 

Sadly I have had terrible luck with growing them and last year my first little bonsai tree got attack by terrible mealy bugs and never recovered. I was so sad and kind of gave up trying to make bonsais. But within the last month I got re-inspired!

I love the classic Japanese Maple ones.
As soon as I saw this chili pepper bonsai, I ran outside and dug up one of my pepper plants!  It’s not doing so hot right now though….
I think this is so neat with the little water part.
I am on the hunt for the perfect rock formation so I can make one like this.
I can hardly believe this is real!!

And these are my sad little guys so far. I have two maples, two mimosas, a cluster of willow oaks and one unidentified one.  If I can keep them alive through the winter I think they will be looking good in the spring!

To me it’s much more fun to dig little sprouts out of the ground and watch them grow, than to buy a mature tree. (And cheaper too!) I’ve tired buying little shrubs from garden stores and trimming them into bonsais, but they ended up dying in the great mealy bug attack of ’13. -_-