Sunday, February 16, 2014

The Value of Snowjacks

Hmmmm, what's that covering up part of the kitchen view?  
Some sort of cloud???

No, it's 4' long sheet of snow and ice
which has been doing a sloooooooow slide and melt 
over the past two days!
 There's no danger of this landing on our heads since we never walk under here.

It's been an eyeopener to see this and makes me SO glad 
that we installed snowjacks over all of the entrances and exits!  

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Crabtree Falls Hike…. Interrupted!

Joe spent Friday morning on the tractor clearing out our driveway
and the county snowplow got to our road by that afternoon.
So we're no longer homebound,
and I was easily able to get into the shop for work this morning.

There were strong blustery winds with blue skies today,
and although the snow is melting,
it's still a lovely sight.
I'm hoping to have time tomorrow for a walk in the woods

But I need to finally finish that hike description
that got interrupted
as you'll see in more ways than one!

The group was going along on the Crabtree Falls hike,

when we came to this icy section….

There were  enough patches of bare rock peeking through here and there 
and a flat spot for scooting along at the top, 
so it was crossable without being too dangerous.

I took the icy route, but a few of the group
opted for the mountain goat approach on the upper slope.
Dorothy went for a brief slide which caused a few stopped hearts, 
and John and Pat decided it was more than they wanted to chance and turned back.

We were rewarded with a few more amazing views
but as it turned out, 
John and Pat were the smart ones; 
we hadn't gone more than two tenths of a mile past the icy trail section when….
There was no getting around this patch.
Ice about 3" thick with a drop off on the left,
and  more ice and no way up and onto the uphill side.

28 people have died at Crabtree Falls; 
a college student last spring was the latest fatality.  
Most of them slip on the rocks 
trying to get closer to the water in the summer months.  

None of us old folks wanted to be 
the start of a new statistic: 
wintertime ice fatalities, 
so we turned around and headed back down the trail.

Even though I didn't get to the top of Crabtree Falls
(we did 2 miles out of 3.4), 
I did tick off something on my "first time" list…..
Eating at Gerties Country Store in Vesuvius on the way home!
And yes, there is a Gertie! 
Friendly service, hot coffee, BBQ and onion rings hit the spot!

That evening was the monthly gallery walk in town
and wine tasting at the wine shop.  

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!

You may need to squint and cross your eyes
to "see" this.  

As I was going through a small cave/rock formation 
at Crabtree Falls, 
I looked up and saw …..

A heart shaped opening in the rocks overhead!

Happy Valentines Day! 

Thursday, February 13, 2014

If Only I Could Ski!

Part Two of the Crabtree Falls hike will have to wait.

Late yesterday afternoon,
it finally began to snow….
so it's time for snow photos!!!

I may have been one of the few in the County excited about the prospect of a BIG snow!
I've been feeling a bit cheated with our few measly snows since moving here, 
So todays 12 inches of glistening powder had me happy as a clam!  

I'll be upfront and admit that the generator
has a lot to do with my blasé attitude
toward the distinct possibility of a power outage.

During the midmorning break in the snowfall,
we went out for a walk
(or a trudge to be more accurate).
What I wouldn't give for a pair of  snowshoes!
What driveway??
Attagirl was in heaven!
Hurry Up!!
I guess the snow makes it easier to hear mice
because she loves to dive her head down into snowbanks!
The snow under the garage overhang was as deep as out on the driveway!
We certainly never needed a snow shovel in Louisiana!
The winds were strong enough that this section of the garage roof has NO snow
while the kitchen side of the house is heaped up well over 2 feet.
I don't think that Bernard, the Mini is getting out anytime soon!
Shortly after we got the porches shoveled  off,
we lit a fire in the fireplace
we were content to watch from indoors 
as it begin to snow heavily again and continued all day. 

It's about an hour before sunset and for the first time since yesterday, 
I can see the mountains and a few patches of blue sky,
so perhaps we've seen our last flakes.  

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Crabtree Falls Hike…. (Well, Almost)

Last Friday was another Newcomer's Hike 
and it was one that I was really excited about: 
Crabtree Falls in the George Washington National Forest.  
The Tye river forms a  series of waterfalls (or one really long one?)
dropping about 1200 feet.  An aerial view of Crabtree Falls by Greg Cromer
 The views began almost as soon as we got on the trail….
Ice and falling water mixed together…. 
Tom, Dorothy, Anita, Warren, Charlotte, Debbie and Don
A "Comb" of Icicles over the River
It was uphill the whole way, 
but the trail was well laid out and maintained 
with steps and occasional handrails and platforms.
 Mostly woods and river views, but the occasional vista….

We all stopped and took so many photos that it's a miracle we ever made forward progress!  :)


An especially large cascade
Part Two tomorrow….
Notice that the title says "Almost!"

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Big Rocky Row Creek Hike

One of my New Years goals for 2014
(I'm lousy at resolving to do things) 
was to start hiking so that I can see more of our beautiful Valley.

I've been starting out slow, but am making progress in my hill climbing stamina!

The Newcomer's Club has a group which meets weekly for hikes.  

Two weeks ago, Atta and I joined a short hike along the Blue Ridge Parkway
(which was closed due to snow)
and this week the hike was a section of the Appalachian Trail 
in Jefferson National Forest.  

We started near the James River Foot Bridge 
and went north along the AT 
alongside Big Rocky Row creek.
The snow was all melted on the trail, 
but the creek still had a gorgeous layer of ice and and snow along the sides.

These photos make it look colder than it was:  
I had on a light jacket and hat and was plenty comfortable.

John's Hollow Shelter,
an overnight camping spot on the AT,
was 2 miles in and our turn around spot
after a short break for snacks and a little visiting.  
Back at the parking area,
I quickly put Atta in the back of the Xterra 
and zoomed home.

Within 30 minutes of my return
I was due to have Pat, Dana and Barb over to play cards!
Hiking and bridge…. 
it was a great day here in paradise!  

Monday, February 3, 2014

What Happened to January?

Isn't it a good thing that my New Years resolution wasn't to blog daily??!!

Sometime at the beginning of January, 
I decided to take a short break from the blog.  

A month off seemed like a good idea 
but now I don't have a clue why I thought I needed a hiatus.  

What in the world was I thinking?  
Now I've sort of "lost" January!

Last night I was looking at a few posts from early in the life of the blog 
Seeing the old photos and re-reading my own words 
brought the purpose of blogging back into clarity.  

I'm blogging to help me remember this time in my life.

Occasionally I lose that perspective 
and I get caught up in wondering if family or friends are "out there" reading.
Our neighbors cows silhouetted against the Blue Ridge Mtns

Making the blog public means that I'm trying to find a balance between having a personal diary 
and that teeny tiny twinge of aggravating aspiration to "grow" the blog into something more.  

Nah…. I'll just keep carrying on!