Wednesday, October 23, 2013


Sweetie and I took a trip this past weekend - just a 2 hour drive southeast - to hike in Natural Bridge State Resort Park.  The leaves were not in full autumn glory.  In fact, the spots of bright red, orange, or gold, were few and far between.  A late autumn?  Or no autumn at all?  

Although I wasn't the only one huffing and puffing to make the almost straight up climb to Natural Bridge (a .75 mile hike), I realized how out of shape I am and my body was tired that evening.  We hiked a lot, ate too much (they don't serve small servings or small meals at the Hemlock Lodge dining room!!), and didn't sleep well at all the night we spent at the Hemlock Lodge.  (The Lodge was fine with every room having a balcony surrounded by trees, but the fan kept clicking on and off all night and I never sleep well the first night in a strange place.)

Since we didn't sleep well, we rose early the next morning and took another hike (this curving and downward moving path was much easier, ending at the lodge pool area and pond first so the hike back up didn't seem so hard on our legs).  The early morning mist on the water and sunlight streaming through the trees was beautiful and we were the only ones out and about.  Quiet, beautiful nature at it's best.  

Everyone down in southeastern Kentucky says their fall is late in coming.  I wonder if a day trip, just to drive down and hike and return home at night,  is in order later?  Maybe a phone call first to ask about the leaf colors.  Autumn may just not come this year.  They are predicting snow this week!

There is something completely rejuvenating (even if you're pushing yourself physically) about nature.  There is a special joy and contentment that comes from walking in the woods, hearing birds singing, seeing and hearing little streams racing down rock faces to create mini waterfalls, crunching through leaves that cover the ground path, just hiking and looking around, breathing in the air.  I could live in the woods. 

What about you?  What place makes you happy?  
Are you a woods person or a seaside person?  
Do you need a mountain view, or a small, secluded valley blanketed with early morning fog?  


Carol Blackburn said...

Great sun flare, Rhonda. I love the tall, tall trees reaching toward heaven like they do. I live in an area that has more trees than people and I love it.

CrimsonLeaves said...

Oh I love the mountains and the sea. We're getting some pretty colors here but we've also been hitting below freezing temps. From mid 70's one week to low 30's high 20's the next? We'll have some people getting sick, for sure! I love day trips like this one you and your sweetie took.

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Carol. I had to try to capture that - and the mist on the water (which I'll share in another post next week).
Sherry, we are going into winter too soon!! I do like a day trip, too, that isn't stressful or involves air travel :)

Barb Sailor said...

Your photos are beautiful and your trip must have been very renewing.
I feel the same way when I am painting en plein air - painting outside is a very spiritual experience.
I don't think we are going to have a colorful autumn here - the trees will lose their leaves before they change. The same thing happened last year. Weather patterns have changed!

Debbie Nolan said...

Rhonda - lovely pictures...I know our fall really has not came yet either...even the cider isn't as robust - think it is because no frost. Love the fact that you took a hike. There is something wonderful about hiking this time of the year. Take care and have a great week-end.

Studio at the Farm said...

Rhonda, that looks like a fabulous area to hike, leaf color change or no. I hope you aren't too stiff from all that exercise.

Celia Blanco said...

I love both but not when they are crowded. There is something invigorating about being alone with nature. A beautiful trip to enjoy this time of year!

RH Carpenter said...

Thanks, Barb. I'm not a plein aire painter as I never seem to get together what I need when going out!! Or, like packing for a trip, I take twice as much as I need. I always take a little sketch book and pencils or markers when I travel and rarely even use it - perhaps it's just a mental adjustment.

Debbie, thanks :) We have frost this morning - wonder if it will make a difference in the trees.

Thanks, Kathryn - yes, my thigh muscles were very sore Monday night - a delayed reaction!

Thanks, Celia. I prefer less crowds, too, but when you go to a park, you can't usually be alone.