Even after a spell of cold weather and a bit of wet snow, Spring is making itself known. Bradford Pear trees are flowering all over the Piedmont region of Virginia and North Carolina, and the Weeping Pussy Willow tree, which I planted two years ago, is showing why the tree has that name.
Madison, NC. One of my favorite small towns nearby. Always find interesting photo compositions there.
As stated on the North Carolina State Parks website, “Since its creation as a 1930s Civilian Conservation Corps project, Hanging Rock State Park has offered the best of a traditional outdoor experience with 73-site campground, picnic grounds, stocked lake for swimming and canoe rentals and more than 20 miles of hiking trails that climb onto spectacular views and weave alongside clear streams and waterfalls.” For me, the attraction has always been “hanging rock” cliffs and rugged trails that lead to great views of the surrounding North Carolina and Virginia Piedmont region. My age and weaker legs have prevented me from hiking and climbing today, but I have fond memories of once doing so on several occasions. It’s near Danbury, NC and is a jewel just waiting for fun and exploration. Here’s a “peek” of what gave the park it’s name.
Lake Junaluska, NC is beautiful. Anytime of year, such as in the Fall with colorful scenery (above) or along the shoreline during the summer with blooming flowers all around (below).
The lake is surrounded by mountains in Western North Carolina that rise upwards over 5000 feet. Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center surrounding the lake, first opened as a conference center of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church in 1913. The center is host to ministry events and concerts throughout the year and is open to the public for group retreats, weddings, reunions, family events and vacations.
The last time I was sort of overwhelmed with the beauty of nature all around me for a short period of time was when my wife and I visited Alaska. Everywhere I looked I saw a great “keeper” photo. The same thing happened to me a week ago when I was in the high mountains of Western North Carolina. The colors this year were spectacular. My camera lens smiled, as did I.
Mt. Mitchell,NC is, at 6684 ft, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River. I’ve always wanted to go on top; now in my mid-70s via car, but when I was younger perhaps via foot. So, recently with my son-in-law and two grandsons, we did just that, right when the 2016 Fall colors were perfect … for us. Beauty all around. Just wonderful. This, my friends, is why I love making photos!
When most people go into Western North Carolina’s very popular Maggie Valley, they go because of the surrounding mountains and the activities so related. I agree that’s mainly why I like going there. As some say, “The mountains are calling and I must go.” However, I’ve found there is a lot of beauty, manmade and natural, besides the mountains that makes me want to come back more and more. The following photos I made recently may prove my point.
It’s that time of year when people all across the country are planning for, or are departing on well deserved vacations. We just returned from a great trip to Northwest North Carolina, where we stopped along the way to take a look at one of the top places to see, Grandfather Mountain. The day we were there the top was closed due to thunderstorms and lightning; however, having been there several times before I pretty much knew knew what there was to see. But, as we were driving out of the parking lot I saw a part of the rugged mountain that I’d missed before. Here is that scene in all its beauty.
This beautiful scene made around 5000 feet in elevation recently is what I usually hope to find during my journey in and around the mountains of SW Virginia and NW North Carolina. However, when I find these same mountains in view right after thunderstorms have passed, leaving misty valleys, I believe they look better photographically in black and white. See for yourself.
We are indeed fortunate to live very close to mountain country in SW Virginia and NW North Carolina. At this time of year there are spectacular views from high elevations, especially on days when the sky adds some drama to the scene. Photos made at Blowing Rock and Grandfather Mountain.