In January, we took our first family vacation to Florida. We had a wonderful (and very non-crowded, which in Florida was a good thing) afternoon at the Mead Botanical Garden. There were so many anoles all over!
Last weekend, we got lots of rain, which has resulted in lots of mushrooms. We went for a hike at Occoneechee Mountain this morning. I didn't want to try anyone's patience so I didn't take photos of every different type of mushroom (close to a dozen), but here are a few that were very unusual, and a box turtle which had been eating one.
You can get a better view of the partly eaten mushroom in this one:
Ross's jack-o'-lantern was a large eyeball. The squirrels in our yard love pumpkins. By late afternoon on November 1, they had eaten the iris part - leaving a large hole. This morning, I was able to take this photo of a squirrel having breakfast.
So far, this seems to be more of a photo blogging month than a writing blogging one. I've really enjoyed photography lately. Here are photos from our October trip to the Blowing Rock area:
View west from the Beacon Heights trail
The trail around the Bass Lake at the Cone Manor
Dear husband and older son at the Flat Top Tower at the Cone Manor
Green Knob trail in Price Park
One of our favorite trees - with Grandfather Mountain in the background
I have a need/For solitude/I'll never be/Safe in crowded rooms.
Saturday, we returned from our two week vacation. While we were on vacation, we only got on the internet long enough to check Ray's Weather Forecast for the Blowing Rock area. Cell phone reception at the house was very bad. Even the hikes were less populated than in a usual year. Because of the government shutdown, all of the National Parks on the Blue Ridge Parkway were closed.
Not prohibited, just closed...
...which means that there was a longer walk in to the trails from where the car is parked by the side of the road. Only the really dedicated hikers did so, which made for much quieter trails.
We didn't do much shopping this year either. Since we planned better, we had fewer grocery trips. Two days before our vacation ended, it was a very foggy, dreary day. That was the only day we shopped for fun. Dear husband and I went to just a few of our favorite stores in Blowing Rock,* but then we were talked out and headed back to the house for a quiet afternoon before another walk at the Cone Lake. We walked at the Cone Lake almost every evening.
Not that it was a totally quiet vacation. We brought lots of music, old and new. We had long conversations after meals, and on hikes, and while watching sunsets at the Cone Lake.
We read lots of books.
Yesterday, I mentioned to the guys that we had a very introverted vacation. Younger son replied that it wouldn't be a vacation otherwise.
Mary Chapin Carpenter's song was unfamiliar to me before vacation. Now, I know almost all of the words, and I can hear the guitar accompaniment in my head when the room is silent.** It goes along with who I am and with my trying to accept that (more on that in tomorrow's post).
I have a need/For cool verdant spaces/Beneath the trees/Secret empty places
It was wonderful to spend all that time on vacation out in the woods. We hike every day when we're in the mountains on vacation - whether we need shorts & t-shirts, rain jackets, or winter coats. I haven't spent that kind of time outside this year, and that's not good for me. Partly in order to get myself outside, regardless of the weather, I'm considering starting a photo blog of someplace local (closer than Duke Gardens).
On my birthday, I decided that I wanted to do some of the trails that we see, but haven't ever taken. One of my favorites that we did that day was the hike at Grandmother Mountain (right) on the BRP. It was a rainy, foggy morning, but we spent it hiking.
It cleared up in the afternoon, and we saw some beautiful views before we headed back to the house in the early evening.
But you can find me/When the light is changing/At that time of day when/There's little day remaining
The time of day she's describing is one of our favorite times of day, although we call it the "Golden Afternoon." When we're on vacation, even if we have a quiet afternoon after the morning hike, we always go out for another hike in the Golden Afternoon.
** I learn music quicker than words.