Roan Highlands

An absolutely perfect weekend in the NC and TN mountains.  The Roan Highlands are gorgeous any time of year, but seeing the Rhododendrons blooming is a real treat.  This was taken near the top of Jane Bald.  On a lovely June Saturday, you are not going to be alone, but the (tons of) people we encountered were happy, nice, had great trail etiquette and I didn't see a single piece of trash all day.


On top of Grassy Ridge Bald -- about 2.5 miles from the Carver's Gap Trailhead


A rhododendron Tunnel between balds


A short drive up Roan Mountain from Carver's Gap takes you to the Rhododenron Gardens which were not yet in bloom, but the thousands of buds were quite a sight!

How does it go?......Is this thing on?

A healthy 8 months since my last (measly post).   I've been thinking about getting more active to justify this little website.   I head to Florida for my (mostly) annual camping trip.   I may see if I can post mobile while I'm there.  We'll see.


The photo above shows the faint Milky Way from a camping trip to Bear Island, NC in late October.  Below is a gorgeous sunrise from Emerald Isle, NC in early October.

Emerald Isle, NC October 2016



Hiking the Tanawha Trail, December 2015

A gorgeous weekend in December with temperatures reaching into the 60s and 70s, even in the NC mountains?  I'll take it.    A final big hike for 2015, the last one before work gets crazy busy with a little thing called Christmas in the mix.

A few photos from the day.  It was over 13 miles with hikers that are really too fast for me, yet I tried to keep up.  Four days later I'm still a little sore!

Yellowstone and Grand Teton Fauna

Finally pulling out some shots of the wildlife we saw during our time in Yellowstone and Grand Tetons in June.

A black bear along the road on our arrival day... we didn't even stop the car and there wasn't anywhere to pull off.   Rangers kept traffic moving. 


Bison and Pronghorn Antelope in Lamar Valley


Harlequin Ducks at Le Hardy Rapids


Big Horn Ewes and Babies on the face of Mt. Washburn


Cinnamon Black Bear Cubs and their Mom near Yellowstone Picnic Area


And another Black Bear who is trying to go undetected by a Yellowstone Ranger at Tower-Roosevelt Ranger Station


Elk with tracking collar just before sunrise near Mt. Washburn


Bull Elk near Canyon just after sunrise


A bad photo of a pair of coyotes crossing the road in front of our car


Swans in Hayden Valley 


....and two photos of Grand Teton wildlife.  These two Moose ran us off the trail and passed us.  Due to my camera still being set for night photography, a great photo opp became a shot of their behinds after they passed us.


Finally, a marmot resting

Fun with Camera Settings: Oxbow Bend at Sunrise

I barely made it out to Oxbow Bend during this trip to the Tetons.  This was our third and final morning there, so it was my last chance.  It didn't help that we'd had our big hike to Lake Solitude (14+ miles) the day before, but I rolled out of bed around 5:30am, put on a sweatshirt and shoes and drove the 10 minutes to Oxbow Bend.

Here's two photos taken moments apart with different settings:

Canon 7D | Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 lens | ISO 400 | f10 | 1/320


Canon 7D | Tokina 11-16mm F2.8 lens | ISO 400 | f10 | 1/80

Backpacking on the AT from Carvers Gap to Hwy 19E

My second backpacking trip was a complete success with great weather and great views and a great group of backpacker friends, old and new.

These are all taken with my Canon G12.  I really planned on taking my 7D, but with iffy weather and a backpack that was completely stuffed, I didn't want to risk a downpour while hiking with no where to put the camera.

I'm still not great at taking photos when I'm trying to accomplish other things (like hiking up steep hills, setting up camp, chatting with new folks, keeping up with fast hikers, etc) but there are a few to share.  

So here's an attempt to 'document' the trip.  First missed photo opportunity was our group of hikers (8 of us started our hike from Carver's Gap around 4pm and the next 5, a few hours later) waiting out the thunderstorm that arrived the moment we got dropped off by the shuttle service from Mountain Harbour Hostel.  Picture 8 of us huddled in the covered area outside the pit toilet at the trailhead.

Once the storm moved away, we started out.  It didn't take long to see blue skies again.


We went over Jane, Round, and Grassy Balds before dropping down into the woods for the rest of the hike to Overmountain Victory Shelter.  I clearly should have turned around to get a better photo, but my group likes to keep moving, so this one was taken while hiking I think.  The forest was filled with these flowers underneath the canopy.

We made it to the Overmountain Victory Shelter and set up our tents in the field next to the large shelter as it became dusk.  

Sights from the next morning.

We spent day 2 taking a few day hikes (Overmountain Victory Trail and a preview of the next day's hike over Little Hump Mtn) and relaxing on a gorgeous day.

Our final day left us with 8 or 9 miles up and over Little Hump and Hump Mountains before a nice ridge walk and then a descent down 4 miles or so back to Highway 19E.   It was gorgeous and perfect.   I started out solo as I'm a little slower than most in our group and also wanted some time to hike solo and not get behind if I decided to stop and take a few photos.  It's a nice climb to the top of Little Hump Mountain, but the short mile or so is filled with views, gorgeous forest, and ends with an open bald.  You can't ask for much  more in a short stretch of hiking. 

The view back down to the Shelter.  The tents are not from our group, but some of the 20+ tents pitched by additional hikers on night two.  There may have been 30 tents in a field, but it was the quietest 'campground' I've ever been in.

My only AT "White Blaze" shot of the trip

Looking back from near the top of Little Hump and then descending the other side. 

And a view that took my breath away (and then the climb literally did it), emerging from the woods to the gap between Little Hump and Hump Mountain.  I could have enjoyed the view for a long time, but I was already at the rear after stopping to shed a few layers.  You can see the group along the ridge in the center of the photo. 

A final shot of the ridge beyond Hump Mountain before we dropped down in the forest for good.

Bluebirds on a Cold Day

I work facing our deck and can watch the birds come and go.  I can almost sense when the bluebirds might decide to come to feed.  They tend to come along with other colorful birds, cardinals, and yellow warblers.   Today I decided to get my camera out should they decide to show up...and they did.  There were probably 5 or 6 together.  They don't stay long either!

Canon 7D | 70-200mm F4 lens | ISO 1000 | F4 | 1/1250 | handheld, thru window, cropped