Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cumberland Gap

Rocks at Pinnacle

Info board

Real view


Flowers of course

White moth with black spots

Fantastic formations

Broken ends from souvenir takers

Lots of cave diamonds

Mineral colors

Graffiti and weird formations

Iron oxide red

Manganese black

Surprise! We actually took a day off and went touring! We went an hour north east to Great Cumberland Gap National Historic Park where we visited several sites The first place we came to was actually the second on the hiking map. This is the Daniel Boone parking area. We drove around the lot then went down to the town of Cumberland Gap. We parked in the Iron Furnace lot and walked the quarter mile to what is left of the iron works. From there we drove through the tunnel to KY and the park visitors' center. I got my National Parks Passport stamped then we drove the Pinnacle Road to the trail head and ate lunch in the truck. From there we took the short walk to the mountain top overlook and to the Fort Lyon site. This particular spot changed hands several time during the Civil War. These were actually in VA. Time to drive back to the Daniel Boone trail head. There we joined 16 other people and two rangers for the Gap Cave tour also in VA so we visited three states today. This was a popular tour spot when the road was first there. Some of the caves were used for local meetings, weddings, etc. Many people left graffiti and took pieces of the formations. The caves were gated in 1992, and ranger led tours limited to 20 people. All of the electricity and other introduced items removed. Cement walkways were poured and metal steps and rails installed. Now the only lights are from the ranger provided flashlights. The tour took 2 hours and was well worth the $8 fee ($4 with the senior park pass). By that time it was 4:30. We decided to call it a day and hit some of the longer trails another day.
Till next time
Duane and Louise

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Birthday visit

New bike and helmet

New bike for sis
Madeleine's loose tooth

Birthday boy
Little brother

Simon and his Deere

Sis taking Jude for a ride
Hi everybody. This week instead of touring someplace we decided to make a quick trip to Ohio for our grandson's third birthday. Our daughter Rachel, son-in-law Benji, and grand kids Madeleine (6 in Sept.), Simon, and Judah (1 in May) live about 5 hours from here. We drove up on Friday and arrived early enough for a nice visit with our friend Pam Shouse before the kids got home. We stayed with Benji and Rachel on Friday and Saturday nights. Simon's birthday was on the 21st so he had his birthday party on Saturday the 19th. (In the pic he is sitting on Benji's dad's lap.) We were able to visit with more friends then. In the evening Benji and Rachel went out for their 8th wedding anniversary so we got the grand kids all to ourselves for the evening. Sunday am we packed up and moved to our friend Barbara Harmon's house for some quiet time. Barbara and I played Rummy Cubes and Duane took a nap. In the evening her friend Gene came over and we all had dinner at The Olive Garden. Monday Barbara's sis-in-law brought her grand kids for a visit and a swim. Unfortunately, thunderstorms chased us out of the pool after about 1/2 hour, so after lunch they left. For supper Duane and I met my sis Marycarol and her man Dave at Marion's, the local place to be for good pizza. After stuffing face and a good long chat, Duane and I went back to Barbara's. Gene took us to visit a woodcarving friend of his, Leonard Watts and his wife Beulah. We spent a wonderful evening admiring all of his beautiful carvings (some of them prize winners and featured in major carving magazines). He had carved several large dolls. His wife made porcelain dolls so she detailed his carved dolls. They were really awesome works of art. Before we left we were treated to ice cream and homemade black raspberry syrup. Yum! Our trip was over too soon. On Tuesday we packed up and headed for home. We drove through pouring, blowing rain until Kentucky, then through sunshine and increasing heat and humidity the rest of the way home. We made a long stop at the Kentucky Artisans' Center at Berea. This was a combination welcome center, cafe and showcase for the local artists. We had a good time viewing all the different art forms: pottery, fabric, blown glass, metal, and paint in sculpture, wall art, clothing and jewelry. Unfortunately we didn't think to take any pix of this. We arrived back home around 4pm without incident, ready to resume our normal pace.
Enough for now,
Louise and Duane

Monday, June 07, 2010

The wolf

Tonight we have 2 postings, the Smokies and the carving I just finished. This wolf I carved weeks ago. I just around to painting it and mounting it on it's base. I hope everyone likes it.


Road far far away
Bee on raspberry blossom

Were were there!

Ok, so I didn't really hike on it

A quiet day at a Park viewpoint

Don't know, but pretty

Chimney tops we were there on a previous visit

Old mill--turbine powered


Join us on a trip to the Great Smokey Mountains National Park. We left this am and drove to Townsend and the woodcarvers' shop for some supplies before we hit the park, then spent the rest of the day leisurely driving roads like the one in the above pic (you can also see where the Smokies got their name) and stopping for beautiful vistas. We visited both visitors' centers--in Tennessee and in North Carolina. We stopped in a little diner off the main drag of Gatlinburg for lunch, in Cherokee (NC) for ice cream for a snack and in a Shoney's in Pigeon Forge for supper. We didn't really plan on doing anything in particular. We took our hiking shoes just in case, but didn't get inspired to use them. Instead we used the beautiful sunny day to stop at a lot of overlooks. The pix of the elk were taken outside the visitors' center and historic farm on the NC end of the park road. Someone said the elk had just recently been reintroduced into the park. In the first pic you can see the tag on its neck just at the antler tip. The grist mill was unique in that it was built in the late 1800's and used (uses) the diverted water to power a turbine to turn the stones. It has been refurbished and still grinds corn meal for sale there. The Chimney Tops is a very popular hike--there were several people up there in the pic. We actually hiked the 2 miles up there years ago. This time we contented ourselves with just looking. Duane wanted to go today because he thought there might not be many people there on a Monday. Wrong! There were tons of people there. The popular hikes all had overflowing parking lots. The visitors' centers and main overlooks were crowded. There were strings of cars on all the roads. Fortunately, it is still early in the season, so things weren't unbearable. The weather was perfect. A cool front moved in last night and left us with very pleasant temps in the valleys and cool temps on the mountaintops. We had a very pleasant, and decided that we would return another day for some hiking.
Enough for now
Louise and Duane

Friday, June 04, 2010


Trouble in paradise

No trouble here

Our little creek

Cardinal flower???

Intrepid hiker

Head and shoulders above the rest

Some kinda fungi (and poison ivy)

Dragonfly on a redbud

Shasta daisies

We are settled in here at Raccoon Valley for the duration, we think. So far nothing else has happened to make us beat feet back to Buddy Gregg's wonderful campground. Our new bosses took over on Monday. Wallace and Wanda Lewis are a treat to work for too. We are happy with our jobs here. Our new schedule is Duane--alternating Wed. mornings and Sat. mornings and both of us all day Thursdays. Works well for us. This morning we hiked the little 1/2 mile trail up the hill. Duane took his camera and I took my nippers to snip away any overhanging brush and poison ivy vines across the trail. The trail is a very nice hike in a typical mixed wood forest with enough elevation to make it interesting. When we returned we stopped to survey the repairs on a leaky water pipe at one of the campsites. It made Duane happy that he didn't have to work this morning. The weather here is typical midwest summer: warm and humid during the day and cool and humid during the night. We have officially taken off the down comfort and run the air during the day. There is always the chance of an afternoon thunder storm. The past few days have been mostly bright overcast. When we aren't working or hiking, we do our usual things. Duane has the garage just about organized now that he has the washer installed in the mini fridge cubby and a small tv on the wall. When its cool enough we drop the back door and have a screened porch. Otherwise we keep the connecting door open so the air can circulate. I am working on quilt 5 of 6. I have it done except for hand sewing the binding. Duane has finished his book and is reading one written by a guy who learned survival skills from a Native American. I am still plowing through Helen Santmyer's ....And Ladies of the Club. When I'm working on a project I don't read as much, but I will finish it as soon as I finish this quilt.
Basta por hoy (enough for now)
Louise and Duane

Don't know--maybe cultivar of bleeding heart