Monday, June 21, 2010

Five Days in the Mountains

Gordon's first mountain hike, Water Rock Knob, 2.28 miles (round trip). It starts out paved with a nice railing, then a side look out, and then it just becomes a steep rocky path. The view, unbelievable. My picture taking can not do it justice. And weather perfection - upper 60's and breezy. That road is part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Lean forward & stretch those calves...
There's our car, and some beautiful mountains beyond.
The lush vegetation is gorgeous, a rainy cool spring has made for a beautiful forest.
I loved these little "pom poms" on this vine.
The last of the railings...and the start of the rocks, although these were made into steps for us.
On top of the world. That is our tiny car down there...
I believe that is Canton, NC in the valley there.
Some of the rocks were a little slippery, some moved, but it wasn't too bad picking our way through them.
The moss and vegetation - I love green =)
EWWWW...bug. Centipede.
Droplets on a cobweb.
The landscape changes between tree canopy to open areas with ferns and wildflowers.
What a beautiful day. Gordon's mouth ran non stop, I don't know how he breathes sometimes. We thought as the climb became more strenuous he would talk seemed the opposite was true.
A large rock in the way near the very top...we decided not to go higher, but we were very close.
After our hike we drove up the parkway to the Pisgah Inn for lunch. Wow. Crab cake sandwiches with a view that is just breathtaking. Here is the website, I'd highly recommend the restaurant - and would enjoy staying at the inn too, the rooms are not fancy or luxurious, but it is all about the view, there is nothing else like it.
I think he was worn out at the end of the day, I found him asleep like this.
The next day we went to the Arboretum in Asheville, NC. Gorgeous, but hot, this place is not at the elevations on the parkway so the heat can be a factor in the summer. But we enjoyed it and then went back up on the parkway to the Blue Ridge Folk Art Center near Asheville, before heading back up to Mom & Dad's place to sit on the swings of the porch & cool down with the breeze up there!

They made fun of me for taking this, but I love the unusual pattern of this tree bark.
Back to Gordon's favorite place, the porch. He played for hours with wood blocks Papa gave him, he particularly likes making a "campfire" and pretending to cook things on marshmallows.
Papa surprised him with the real thing, we roasted marshmallows at the grill.
Oh these mountains are pretty. You can tell why they call them the Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Parkway!
A last bit of sunshine hitting the mountains before sunset.
What a view the birds have huh?
Our favorite breakfast place is just down the mountain (Joey's Pancakes)...if I zoom in I can see the people lining up in the morning.
Ah those roasted marshmallows were yummy!
Heading out to church on Father's Day.
We all went to Granny's Chicken Palace for brunch after church. Gordon's thrill was the CSX engine that pulled onto the tracks behind the church. After services ended we ran down behind the church and waved to the engineer, he waved back and blew the horn for Gordon...if you could bottle the excitement on Gordon's face you could light up the city!
After a long drive back home, Gordon got busy building "Papa's log house". When he finished he had to get all of his "friends" from his bedroom to see it. I'm sure you can tell they are all oohing and ahhing over his accomplishment!
Ok, vacation over. VBS started today and I'm assisting while Gordon is attending. A fun week!

Lazy 5 Ranch

We met our friends & soon loaded up on the horse drawn wagon for quite an adventure...well a safari of sorts. The animals knew what to do...and thankfully no one got hurt, although I got pecked a few times in the arm by a hungry ostrich who didn't believe me when I told him my bucket of food was gone.
Gordon and I were on the other side of the wagon...we were surrounded by the animals.

What a menagerie of critters

A cute widdle baby zebra...awww.
A little bit older zebra.
This is FUN! Where are the deer? Will there be lions? Will they eat the deer?
Water buffalo, he came right up to me and opened his mouth for me to pour in handfuls of food...I was too stunned to snap a picture of that. He was surprisingly charming.
They were ganging up on me
My very favorite critters (the giraffes!)
Gordon got up close and personal.
This is the ostrich that wouldn't believe me when I told him I was out of food. He pecked my upper arm just to get my did.
He finally left me alone so I could get some more giraffe pictures. What amazing creatures!
Gentle. Soft. Funny looking. A fine example of God's sense of humor.
On to the rhino!
I'd like you to meet Luther. 5,000 lbs.
I don't know this beauty's name, but she had personality!
And was totally lacking in manners.
Oh my. You too?
What a trio.
These guys kept to themselves.
Synchronized grazing.
And after the safari Gordon and I went to Grandma & Papa's house. We spotted more wildlife.
Can you see them down there?No? Let me zoom in...there were at least two, they live inside those railroad ties under the porch. Yikes! But they keep poisonous snakes away, and other pests. As long as they stay way down there!