Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fall Foliage Tour


Blairsville, Georgia (high 70, low 58)

We had a sunny day yesterday, so we decided to take advantage of the weather and do another fall foliage drive.  (one of many)

I will apologize in advance for so many photos.  I just couldn’t narrow them down any more.  I took wayyyyyy  more than I posted.  :)

It looks like we will be having the potential of rain the next two days, but that seems to change from hour to hour, so we’ll see.  I’m getting a little worried about the approaching cold front that has the potential to bring tornados.  You know me when it comes to bad weather.  Why wait and worry later when you can start worrying now!

Yesterday morning, this big hawk was sitting on our deck, eyeing our bird feeders.  The picture didn’t turn out well because I was in too big of a hurry to give Al the go ahead to shoo him away.  We don’t want him eating any of our birds.  That was the second time I’ve seem him stalking our feeders.


Our trip started heading down to Unicoi State Park and Anna Ruby Falls. I needed to exchange a t-shirt I bought that was too small, and highway 75 is a scenic road, so we thought it would be a good place to start.

On the whole, the colors seem more muted and less vibrant than normal fall foliage, but there are areas where they are pretty spectacular.


It was a pretty day with blue skies.


I believe this dock was on Lake Hiawassee, which seems to be a little low right now.


Lots of windy mountain roads.



fall foliage Blairsville area



You can see in the distance the mountain colors are not nearly as vibrant as usual.  I guess wet summer really does make a difference.


But some areas were really spectacular.


We took highway 180 back towards Rivers Edge and decided to drive up to the highest peak in Georgia, which is at Brasstown Bald Mountain.  The top of the mountain is at 4784 feet elevation.

Brasstown Bald

We got in free with Al’s  Senior Access pass, but opted to pay the $2.00 each to take the van from the parking lot, to the top.  There is a .6 mile paved trail that’s pretty much straight up. 

We were glad we took the van up, because the van driver told us a few things that we didn’t know.

For instance, the reason the mountains often look hazy (smokey) is because:

“This fog is caused by the vegetation exhaling volatile organic compounds, chemicals that have a high vapor pressure and easily form vapors at normal temperature and pressure.”

Some days, we see what looks like smoke from a big fire, but I never have quite been able to capture those images. 

Yesterday, was particularly hazy so the distance shots weren’t too good.  We were told the best time to come is when it’s cold.  That shouldn’t be a problem since another cold front is on the way.

Brasstown Bald


The next picture is where we parked our truck.  You can see it’s a good ways UP to get to the top.

view from Brasstown Bald Mountain

There was some color, but also a lot of bare trees.


We decided to walk back down the trail to the parking lot.

view from Brasstown Bald Mountain

I think being paved made it more difficult that a regular trail.  It was hard on my knees and toes.

trail at Brasstown bald

This tree needed a little boost to keep from falling down.

blocks to hold up tree on trail at Brasstown Bald

view from Brasstown Bald Mountain

The lowest temperature ever recorded on “the bald” was –27 degrees and the warmest was 84.  Yikes.   They say it makes it’s own weather.


Once we left there, we were almost home, but we found more pretty scenery.

fall foliage off hwy 75? 

Most of the grass in our campground is brown since the freezes we had, but for some reason these pastures are still pretty and green.


We love to drive the back roads around Blairsville.


fall foliage 

Once we got home, we decided to get our refreshments and take a long drive around the neighborhood on the golf cart.  It’s been a bit chilly lately for the golf cart, but last night was warm and really nice.

The fall colors were pretty nice around Rivers Edge.

back roads near Rivers Edge

roads around Rivers Edge

Roads around Rivers Edge

The next picture shows Rivers Edge Rv Park from above on the road leading to Rivers Edge II Rv park.   Off to the left sits Brasstown Bald.

Rivers Edge

This a favorite stopping spot for us.  We always expect to see a bear here…..but never do.

Roads around Rivers Edge

These are some of the prettiest maple trees in the park.  They have gotten a little past their peak, but are still pretty nice.



No plans for today.  We had intended to do some hiking, but the weather changed and it’s cloudy and supposed to rain.  I guess we’ll tackle some chores around the house.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Winding Down our Mountain Stay


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 74, low 52)

Our weather has warmed up some, but we’re having too many cloudy days.   We’re not ready to head south, but we’re getting close.  It’s still very beautiful here, but the sunny days are becoming more rare as the cold fronts approach from the north.

The fall foliage hasn’t been as spectacular as we remember.  We have been told it’s because of so much rain during the spring and summer.

The trees around here, for the most part, still have their leaves, and the colors are more muted and not the vibrant reds and yellows that we remember. 

Richard B Russell hwy

The next few pictures are taken by our site at Rivers Edge.

This is one of the routes we take for our golf cart rides.  There is a beautiful river down below and was the site of an old grist mill.


The following picture was taken from the bluff above the campground.  The cornfield in the foreground is where the bear spends his nights chowing down on the corn.  The little white specs are the RV’s in our park.

Overlooking Rivers Edge across cornfield

We were hoping to see the bear in the field, but unfortunately, we didn’t see him.

Overlooking Rivers Edge across cornfield

It was supposed to be mostly sunny yesterday, so our plan was to head out for a hike.  Before we left, we decided to start painting the cabin at the new RV site.   We figured we could slap a coat of paint on it pretty quickly, and then head our for our hike.  Boy were we wrong.  We ended up using one gallon of paint on one side of the cabin.

First of all, I think we made a mistake by buying Behr paint from Home Depot.  We bought the most expensive paint they sell but when we opened it, it was very thin and watery.  The cabin was very porous and the paint just soaked right in.   We had quit using paint from either Home Depot or Lowes several years ago and had switched to Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams.  I think we will go back to them the next time.  

We ended up getting the entire cabin painted (minus the trim) and ramp, but it took us most of the day.  By the time we finished, we were both pooped.   So much for a nice hike, but we felt good about getting the project finished.   Between the cold weather and rain, we have to take advantage of good painting weather.

So…, we plan on taking our hike.  We just need to decide where.  

Our time here is winding down.  We’re thinking of leaving on November 17th.   The plan is to leave on a Sunday when the Atlanta Falcons are not playing so that we can miss most of the traffic through Atlanta.   Of course, the weather will play a part in our travel plans.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lake Chatuge Damn


Blairsville, Georgia  (high 58, low 39)


Well, we survived the coldest night so far this year.  It was 24 degrees this morning.  There was frost on the pumpkin….or there would have been, but we put the pumpkin in the cabin last night along with my flowers!

Can you see the frost on the deck and grass?

frost on deck. 24 degrees

Our two maple trees evidently are not the pretty colorful kind, but our neighbors have some beautiful trees.


Our new heater kept the house about 62 last night, which is apparently as warm as it will be with such low temps.  That’s fine with us though because we like cool temps when we sleep and of course we’re under the electric blankets.  Despite their fur, the kitties get chilly, so we have an electric blanket on the couch for them!  So far we haven’t had to run the dreaded noisy furnace!


We took a drive up to Murphy, North Carolina yesterday, and picked up our friends Karen and Ken.  We decided to have lunch at Shoebooties Cafe for lunch.  Al and I had a delicious black bean burger.  One of these days I’m going to try their “shoetini martini” sampler. They have a $24.95 all you can eat snow crab special that Al wants to try, so that might be the time for the martinis.

After lunch, we walked down to the Trail of Tears Museum.  It was only $3.00 per person, and well worth the money. They had some wonderful Indian artifacts as well as a lot of information on the removal of the Cherokee Indians from this area.  What a shameful time in our history.

After visiting the museum, we decided to take a drive towards Franklin, North Carolina along the scenic highway 64.

The fall colors are fading with many trees bare.  There were still some pretty spots though and the vistas from the higher elevations are always pretty.

I loved the sheer rock walls along the highway.

highway 64 between Murphy and Franklin NC


highway 64 between Murphy and Franklin NC

Here are Ken and Karen posing for us.

Ken and Karen Williams

We didn’t really have any specific plans, so when we came across the sign for the Lake Chatuge Damn, we decided to check it out.

We were glad we did, because it was beautiful.

Lake Chatuge Damn

It was also very cold.   You could walk around this barricade and walk along the walkway on the berm.  There was a campground in the distance.  The further we got, the more the wind picked up.  The cold wind on my face gave me the feeling you get when you eat ice cream too fast.  We decided to not walk all the way across, but we’ll go back on a warmer day.  It was lovely.

Lake Chatuge Damn

campground at Lake Chatuge Damn

Lake Chatuge Damn

There were some gorgeous slate rocks along the berm.

rocks along Lake Chatuge Damn

You can see the wind blowing across the water.  Burrrrr.

Lake Chatuge Damn

Since it was too cold to walk to the campground, we decided to drive.  It’s a lovely campground with beautiful waterfront sites.  I didn’t even think about taking pictures of the campground.  Sorry.

Lake Chatuge was formed by the TVA in 1942.  There are 7200 acres of water and 133 miles of shoreline.

Al at Lake Chatuge Damn campground


Lake Chatuge Damn

We left Lake Chatuge, and headed a little further towards Franklin, but decided we’d better turn around or we would be going home in the dark.

It was a lovely day spent with good friends.

Today, we’re going to hang out around home and do a few chores,  and hopefully can start painting the little cabin on the new RV lot.  It’s small so we should be able to get it done pretty quickly.  Of course, we have to wait for it to warm up a bit.

Despite the chilly weather at night, other than yesterday, the days have been pleasant and we’re not feeling the urge to head south just yet. 

Friday, October 25, 2013

Visitors From Florida


Blairsville, Georgia (high 48, low 28)

We awoke to am outside temperature of 26 degrees this morning.  That is our coldest morning so far.  After today, it will be warming up and the day time temps are supposed to be in the upper 60’s.  We are staying nice and warm, and only use our new portable heater at night.  We love our new heater and prefer it to our heat pump or furnace.


We had visitors from Tampa yesterday.  I worked with Karen at USAA.  She and here husband came to see the fall foliage.  They were unable to get a hotel here in Blairsville and had to to up to Murphy, North Carolina.  This is a busy time of year and you need to make hotel reservations early.

They wanted to see the new RV lot, so they drove into Blairsville.  We visited awhile, then went to lunch and then off to see some sites.

We ended up driving through Helen, Georgia, which is billed as Alpine Helen in the Bavarian style.

This is a picture I took last summer.

Helen, GA

Our destination was nearby Anna Ruby Falls.  It’s a nice short .4 of a mile paved hike along a mountain stream ending up with a huge double waterfall at the end.

Anna Ruby Falls

Karen and Ken Williams

I am always amazed how these trees seem to grow out of the rock.

tree growing from rock


Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls

Our route to the falls took along the Richard B. Russell Byway and some pretty fall color.


We stopped at a scenic overlook for a few photos.


The colors still have not peaked in this area and I’m afraid the leaves might drop off before they completely change colors.

We took the other route back home, over the infamous Blood Mountain.  It’s a popular ride for motorcycles and bicyclists.


It’s also a gateway to the Appalachian Trail, so we stopped at a shop along the route.  They sell all kinds of hiking and camping gear.  There is a nice overlook on the deck behind the shop.

Ken and Karen Williams

We plan on heading up towards Murphy today and seeing what interesting things we can find to do today.