The Blue Ridge Parkway offers more than just the fabulous scenery at their stops along the way. Sometimes you find a preserved example of an Appalachian Farm to explore. It was nice to get out of the car for more than a minute or two, to walk a little, and to think of what challenges people faced not too long ago, to make a living in this quiet place.
It was yet another day with no plan when I happened to look at my emails and saw that I was off the waiting list for the photo trip to Tampa Bay Downs and was now good to go. Only it was 10:15, too late to go was my first thought. Fifteen minutes later I was out the door and on my way. Because, well, why not? And I’m so glad I went, even though there are now three barriers between the track and the spectators, making shooting especially hard for short people, but the weather was good and the company was better. What a fun day!
The question was, would I like to go watch a speed skating event and take some pictures? Of course I said yes, it was something new to do. Perhaps you, like me, imagined ice skating. Well, if you did you’d be wrong. It was inline skating and it’s not for the feint of heart, or light of wallet.
The boots, the wheels, the frame that holds the wheels, and the little gasket thingies that hold the wheel to the frame are all purchased separately. And then there are the uniforms to buy also. But there was much enthusiasm and good sportsmanship on display as racers of all ages took to the track.
I confess that we were out all day in the sun, and now I’m going through my 573 pictures while enjoying a glass (or possibly two, I’ve lost track) of egg nog. I will quit for now but here are the pictures I’ve gotten ready so far. You may notice that I seem to have discovered a favorite skater. He raced in the ‘over 25’ group, possibly way over 25. No, he didn’t win any of his races, but he didn’t come in last either. Just giving credit where credit is due…
Sunday my cousin and I walked the trail at Slide Lake, a favorite place of hers. To get there we tackled roads nearly as rough as the one I had been on the week before, the road my cousin said that everyone who lives here knows better than to travel on. She wanted to find “The Wedding Tree”, a spot where many locals choose to get married, including friends of hers, but she hadn’t ever been there. We also stopped to take pictures of the red hills and old wagons, plus the horses and cows who were observing us as we checked out the scenery. One stop to see a couple of ravens who had caught our eye resulted in a quick glimpse of a moose and calf as they were heading Into the woods. I resolved to go back to see what I could see another time.But I’m forgetting to mention the Gros Ventre Slide, scene of an event that changed the scene in this area. And named the lake in the process.
And a tease of sunset on the way home.
A friend and I went hiking in the woods yesterday. It was the perfect day for it, cool but sunny, finally the Florida weather I love the most. We did nearly 7 miles, walking and talking, and stopping for a few pictures. Not many really.We kidded that if our mutual friend Betty had been with us that she would have taken a million pictures already. So I took this one in her honor;We didn’t seen another person, and only saw a deer off in the distance, but in the sand on the trail were tracks of lots of animals. Linda said that it must be like rush hour in the night with all the animal activity. We did see a rhino though, not a frequent sight in Florida.Hogg pond was our destination, and we found some egrets gathered there. I suspect the beginnings of nesting activity. And there have been great flocks of birds in the air lately. Usually they are too high in the sky for decent photos, or the camera just isn’t set up for that capture. These birds were coming in to land however. Yes, this will be a booming place in the spring.We had stopped for lunch at a very quaint hot dog shop in Floral City, and then hiked in the Perry Oldenberg wilderness area. But the jackpot happened as we finished the hike and were ready to leave. That’s when we saw the cows in the pasture next to the parking lot. I was looking to take photos like this when I was at my daughter’s house in PA over the summer, but somehow failed to get out and explore the rolling farmland for scenes like this. People ask what kind of photography I like best, but I think I like the surprises along the way that make it so interesting. And I’m normally out by myself for photos, but it was nice to be out with a friend…I thought that all the cows with horns were bulls, but closer examination of my photos disproved that theory. Not this particular photo, but trust me…
Looking out the kitchen window that morning I saw some definition in the clouds, so I loaded the cameras and tripods into the car and headed to Hammonds Creek for the sunrise. It’s only a five or six mile trip to the gulf coast, but before I got there I was seeing drops on the windshield. Just heavy mist, I told myself. But it was a downpour just a minute later, so I turned the car around and headed for home. No sooner did I do that than I saw a promising looking sky again, and no rain. Again I reversed direction, and again I drove into a torrential downpour. And yet again the weather was fine on the way home. Sometimes you have to settle for a sunrise from the backyard.
Also in the back yard are flowers that I was offered by a neighbor I used to talk with when I walked Zoe a longer walk than I had for the last couple of years. She was digging up some of them because they spread. You would think that I might have gotten a hint from that, the possibility that one day I’d be trying to get rid of them I mean. But no, what I saw was red, sort of tubular flowers, and I had read that that’s what will attract hummingbirds. So on the barest smidgeon of information I brought them home and planted them, and within years I was digging them up, but there is no getting rid of them. They have made themselves so at home that they have diversified…
But only the ones way out back have these new colors. Out back in chicken territory. My neighbor laughed when I suggested that her chickens were responsible, a chicken version of cross-pollination. Or maybe it’s the morning light back there. But it has taken several years for these new colors to develop, which coincides with the chicken invasion. I’m not complaining though, the chickens come over and de-bug my yard fairly regularly. They are welcome any time!