Monday, June 26, 2017

Cumberland County Exploring

Looking straight on at a Canada lily 

Cumberland County Exploring 

Dana & Kenny Koogler

Sat. June 24, 2017

  We went out Saturday and had the most weird, messed up day.   I started trying to write this blog
entry about the experience.  I just don't have it in me.    I was going to warn others of the area etc.
I am not going to bother.  I'm going to learn from it myself and let the chips fall where they may.
I found out the area we visited has never been the greatest but the crime there is escalating.
I don't want to dwell on it so I'm just going to post some photos and let it go at that.
I found Canada lilies and some other pretty Summer wildflowers.   I am glad about that.
I learned that access to some areas we liked to go has been lost.  I learned that  the area we visited is not a place we need ever return to.  The crime there is bad and getting worse.  
Take away? Scratch this off the list for good.

 Above and Below.. Canada lilies

 Wild Bergamot
 Wild hydrangea
 Early St. Johns wort
 Pretty stream above and below

 Leather vase vine
 American Columbo.. just beginning to bloom
 Sunshine on the trail in a hemlock woods
 The only view we had today.
Lone canada lily in the forest

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trail Sex--Yeth, I am a freak and a Pervert

My hero.. Leon Phelps.. the Ladies Man

Trail Sex--Yeth, I Am a Freak and a Pervert 

  Several years ago I wrote a blog entry that was humorous, but true about trail romance if you will.
It was about crazy incidents that happened to me and Kenny on the hiking trail or out in the woods.
It was written because some folks were bashing a guy and his son for a mess they'd gotten into.
My point was that no one is perfect . Everyone is crazy. Some just hide it better than others. 
We're Southerners though. Everyone knows Southerners  don't hide crazy. They parade it around.
Sit it on the front porch. Give it a drink.  I thought one day about other hilarious things that have happened to me or to me and Kenny.  It got me tickled. I thought about how many locations there were or are that I can't go without having some funny or wild memory pop up.   You'd be shocked.
That being said I've lived a long time and worked at it getting to be a crazy old lady.   I may as well enjoy the status.  Tim Meadow's character The Ladies Man aka Leon Phelps with his courvoisiere and his lisp is my favorite.   There fore Yeth, I am a Freak and a Pervert is my mantra.  Prepare yourself.
It will only get worse.

          World Record Holders for the Most Popped Air Mattresses

Back in the days of being a truly classy Bus Station Skank
Hiking in a tube top

  We have gotten teased for being the couple who holds the record for the most popped air mattresses.  Why do you think we gave up tent camping and went back to a travel trailer?  It also helps to eliminate the laughter at the "wild cat" next door.  It eliminated the need for repeated trips to K Mart to buy replacement air mattresses, patch kits, and air pumps.    It eliminated the times we bout got throwed out of that campground for yodeling too loud or the time I like to call "Sing Along with Julio".  Imagine having wild sex in a tent while some Latino strums his guitar and sings the same tunes over and over.   We were just harmonizing.. ok?  We're music appreciaters.. among other things.
It is not fun trying to explain yourself to the rangers about why you cannot observe quiet hours.

Special Locations and Spots 

  I cannot go to some locations without remembering moments of crazy romance with my better half.  Indian Flats Falls will always be special.  Spruce Mountain Campsite 42 is very secluded and I'm so glad! Did you know there is a pull off on the Cherohala Skyway where you can "see God"?    We did.
Did you know that there is a natural hedge corral on Roan Mountain where you can play cowboys and indians?   Yippee I Oh!    He said "C'mere little girl and ride my horsie.   Campsite thirty is a long way out there. It is also a long way to go to demolish a pup tent.
They seem like such a normal couple.

          Kenny is a Masochist

  Yep. He must like pain and suffering. If he didn't why else did he marry me? Every day
is another flavor of pain and suffering.   It seems the dumb shit I do excites him.  I decided to 
ford Big Creek one early March day.  I was sure I saw a waterfall across the creek on Betty Branch.
He refused to go with me. I forded the creek up to my ass right in front of Midnight Hole on a 
very chilly day.    I bushwhacked up the creek. I found a pitiful example of a cascade. It was not a falls at all.  I had done all that for nothing.  I forded the creek back and was wet and had sticks and leaves up in my wig.   I had no idea my dumbness was an aphrodisiac.  It must have been because the next thing I knew I was being pulled off the trail into a little side area along that heavily traveled Big Creek Trail.  I just remember weeds and rocks.  And then we were going after it.... . I ain't complaining. but it was rather sudden and unexpected.  I am still not sure if I should be flattered or insulted.  Who knew being married to a Motley Fool like me could be such a form of masochism! 
The hair style says it all.. wild and wooly! 

Foster Falls Applause

  We had never camped at Foster Falls before.   We stayed there in Spring 2002.  We had our kids with us in a tent.   We had a buddy and his girls supposed to arrive the next day. We got up early Saturday morning before our kids. It was also too early for our buddy and his kids to have arrived. We had gotten there at 10:30 pm the night before.   We decided to walk down to see the falls.
Our first look at Foster Falls was marvelous. The falls was great. The hemlock gorge where they sit is lovely. It has  big boulders beneath rocky cliffs.  We knew there were rock climbing areas there.
We planned on climbing later that day.   We did not see anyone.  Kenny decided it was a good time to hide behind a boulder and shag a little.  We weren't going to get much action with our children in the tent.  We were hiding or so we thought.. behind a boulder just getting it on when finally from somewhere.......... above us.... came the sound of applause.   Rock Climbers. You can't trust 'em.
We looked up and there on the bluff way up was a line of several people clapping and grinning.
It pays to know your surroundings.


If the Trail is Boring... Spice Things Up! 

    Two examples of this are two different incidents. Both involve boring hikes and awful waterfalls.
One was hiking Rich Mountain Trail to Hesse Creek Falls.  We parked at the Ace Gap Trailhead.
We walked up the road and hiked out to a so called waterfall on Hesse Creek. We actually hiked further out to the campsite.  It was a pitiful waterfall that you had to work pretty hard to see all for
no reward.    We hiked back.   I am not sure exactly where the starting point was but I do remember
that on that last level stretch and the downhill I was running from Kenny. He was chasing me like Uncle Pervy and mu wah ha hain'g it up.  I was laughing and squealing. I'm sure anyone in the area would have heard it and thought I was being killed.   It was great fun and a delightful memory.
We jumped in the back of the jeep put the seats down and had a good romp.
The other time was at Blue Suck Falls in Douthat State Park, Virginia.   We hiked there and found that the falls looked a lot like a cement drain tile with a garden hose turned on at low flow.  It was a boring hike and a disappointing waterfall.  However.. there was this bench made of stone sitting by the waterfall.  Kenny talked me into making it up to him by having sex on that stone bench. Since Blue Suck Falls really did suck..... I was to make it up to him by doing the humpty dance on the bench there.    I never saw them, but I heard people behind me. We didn't realize another trail went on past and up a hill behind us.   At least those folks had the sense to either sneak past or hide in the woods for a few minutes.   I did not care which.. just don't be a buzz kill.    I bet you always wondered why I sometimes pick dull hikes?  Its the consolation prize that counts.

Getting older but not any wiser

Bus Station Skank as a Park Service Volunteer

  If there is a rule in the book saying bus station skanks cannot be park service volunteers it has nothing to do with me.   They ain't ever caught me for sure so I know it has nothing to do with me.
I used to do a little camp site maintenance and such for the NPS.   I was out one day with my camp site maintainer buddy. We were heading to one of the back country sites to maintain CS 19 and 20.
He was pushing seventy at the time. He also volunteered with some kind of fish study.   He was a data collector.  He told me about something that happened to him a few weeks earlier.   He was mad because he went to talk to fishermen along Little River and got a surprise.  He ran upon a couple on a rock in the middle of the river going after it.   He was angry and upset.  The story sounded all too familiar.  I quickly changed the subject and hoped to hannah he would not realize WHO that couple was.  Especially the woman.     I listened to his sermon for quite awhile before he let it go.
I never went with him camp site maintaining again.  

Hazel Creek Hell Hike-- I  Need Medical Attention

   I told before about turning a backpack trip into a dayhike. About Kenny having knee problems.
About getting caught out in the dark with no light.   What I did not say was that on the way back up Hazel Creek from the falls....... there was this log. Kenny decided he needed some medical attention to help him feel better.   A couple advil and some sex on a log at a clearing and he was ready to continue.   However.. I am sure that our little escapade only made us later getting out of there.
And I doubt it did much for his knees to help them.  It was fun though. 

She Likes Me Too! 


A real winner

  I knew my son and his buddies could be mischief, but I had NO idea how bad it could get.
I took the kids to Little River in Townsend to swim  at the Gee Swing swimming hole.
There is a rope swing there and a good bunch of rocks to jump from.     We were all swimming and having a good time.   I was wrapped up in  diving and using a mask and snorkel to see fish swimming in the shallows.  I was having a great time.  I noticed Jared and Caleb talking to a man.. a dad .. and his son up around the rocks.   I finally decided I was ready to go jump off the rocks some and check on them too.   I greeted the man and his son with a simple hi. He seemed friendly enough. Too friendly. A little overly friendly........... I thought it was odd.  We kept swimming and diving off.
He kept chatting me up.   I remember hearing little giggles out of the boys.  I didn't think anything of it at the time.   Finally the man and his son left and soon after we did too.   They told me in the car on the way home that the fat guy really liked me.  They had told him that I liked him too and that I was single and available.  They gave him my phone number.  Since he never called I am relieved to say they must have given him a fake number.  I was livid.  I hoped I would never run into him again.
They had convinced that guy I was really into him! She likes me too! No. No I don't. Don't give him my phone number either!  Dang! If you're gonna send me a fat guy.. send me a specimen.  I leave the following example of what is acceptable. 

Shoe Fetish Guy 

  Not everything funny and of a sexual nature that has happened to me has been outdoors.
Some of it has happened indoors.  I was in West Town Mall one Sunday afternoon. I had been to church. I was wearing a flouncy dress and a pair of lucite Paris Slides.    You know.. Cinderella shoes. They are clear. These had sparkles on the instep. I loved 'em.  I had my toe nails polished and I was so proud of myself.  Kenny and Jared were along and they were in a store looking for something.
I sat down on a bench outside the store to wait on them.   I was sitting there resting and admiring 
how nice my toenail polish looked with those 'glass slippers".  In my peripheral vision I saw a form walk to a bench across from me and sit down.  I glanced up after a bit only to meet the eyes of a fellow who blushed crimson when I met his gaze.  What passed between us in that unspoken moment was both hilarious, shameful and cute all at once.  He had a foot/shoe fetish.  I wasn't the only one
checking out those glass slippers.  My mind usually is not clever or quick to have any kind of funny response, but today I nailed it.  I wiggled my eyebrows and smirked. I dragged my left foot slowly across the floor with toes pointed.  That guy nearly fell out of his seat.  It was a harmless flirtation. It made an old woman feel special.  It was comical. I was just happy I could see the humor in it and 
that I thought fast.   I had heard of such things, but until then I had never run into someone like that in person.

            Crazy Old Folks

I'm not the Bus Station Skank named Flossie anymore. 
   I'm getting fat and old.  Kenny is getting old right along with me. He still looks as handsome to me now as ever.   I still chase him around like Granny Klump on the Nutty Professor. Pretending to be Granny Klump chasing Buddy Love. I call him the Muy caliente negro special..... Aw Stripper man, Stripper man!  You wanna have relations?  Relations is lovely!
Gimme some sugah lips.... no.. I ain't fallin' fo' that. I'll scream!  

Monday, June 19, 2017

Hooper Bald Azalea Hike with the Family

Bright orange flame azalea bloom on Hooper Bald 

Hooper Bald Azalea Hike with the Family 

Thursday June 15, 2017

Hike distance 1.25 miles RT --easy

Dana Koogler
Crystal, Michael and Tessa Lindsey

Pictures are here starting with frame 643

Hooper Bald Azalea Hike 2017

   I have talked with my daughter Crystal numerous times about making a short hike up to Hooper Bald with the kids to see the native azaleas in June.  We finally jumped on the chance and went down to the Cherohala Skyway to do just that.  We packed a picnic and brought along
extra clothes towels and water toys to make a day of it.  We'd hike up and see the azaleas. We'd have a picnic. We'd stop by Tellico Grains Bakery on the way back. We'd go let the kids play in the creek down toward Conasauga Falls. We'd hike to the falls and wrap up our day if time permitted.   I felt we had a pretty good plan and probably plenty of time for it all.

    We stopped on the way down at Ingles in Madisonville. We lacked a few things for our picnic, but the drive was a long one. It would do us all good especially the kids to get out and stretch our legs.   We had promised them a treat if they behaved.  They were really good all day.
We did not tarry at the store.  Everyone used the bathroom at Ingles for the rest of the drive.
The day was a pretty one. It was sunny and warming up.  It was actually a little on the cool side once we arrived at the parking area for Hooper Bald.    It is worth mentioning that the vault toilets at Hooper are out of order. They have a ruptured vault that will need replacing. 
They have placed porta potties at Stratton Ridge picnic area about two miles back toward Beech Gap.    
My granddaughter Tessa age 3. Grandson and big brother Michael age 8.  
Michael has brought his binoculars! 
  We gathered our gear up and hit the trail.  Everything went well to start off.  The trail is a maintained path and a very easy one.  It has little or no elevation change unless you count the few steps up to the bald.   I knew Michael would not find this the least bit challenging. I also knew that even little Tessa would not be bothered by the trail.  She did fine on the trail too.
We got up to the grassy open bald and began seeing native azaleas.  It was beautiful. The trouble began with Tessa deciding she didn't care for the unmanicured tall grass at the summit touching her legs.  It made her uneasy.   She wanted to be carried not because she was tired, but because she was leery of the weeds.    We got through the experience ok, but not without some encouraging and cajoling by Nanny.   I kept pretending to be scared or need saving. I kept trying to get her to enjoy the mystery and intrigue of wandering around the various "rooms" up on the end of the bald formed by trees and shrubs.   It helped a little, but this part of the trip ended with her stating " I hate this place and I'm never coming back here."   She asked me "Nanny, do you like this place?" I told her I did and that I had always liked this sort of thing.
She was in disbelief that I could have liked this stuff as a child.  Life certainly is different for different people.  
 Hiking out the trail. Easy so far.
 Arriving atop the bald.
No more view at the pulpit now.  
    The view at the rock pulpit on Hooper Bald is obliterated by growth of briers and shrubs.
It needs clipping out again.  I hope that can happen.   We enjoyed all the beautiful colors of the azaleas.  Reds. Oranges, golds, copper and peach.    Not as many colors as up on Gregory Bald, but certainly plenty to see and much easier.   I was thrilled to find that the balloon flies were mating up here today.  I have seen them up there once before and figured it was a once in a lifetime thing. Nope! They were up there today!  We all got to see them toting their little silk bundles around.  The males carry silk presents for their potential mates.   Below is a short video I made in 2014 of the balloon flies.  It shows them better than any photos I took of them today.

   Balloon fly video above.

        The near end of the bald is the best for azaleas so once we'd checked out the far end we went back in the direction of all the good stuff.  I always like the contrast of the dark fir trees against the bold colors of the azaleas.  It is just richer and more appealing to me. I like this spot and Andrews Bald for this reason.  Gregory Bald has its charms, but no fir trees.

 red azalea bloom
 Michael and Crystal amidst the red azalea blooms.
 my favorite spot on the bald.  what a sight to see. We all loved this!  Michael said everything up there reminded him of a life sized Fairy Garden!
 Tessa looks cute next to the pink mountain laurel.
 Michael in a clearing under the trees.  The photo doesn't show how dark it was!
 Closer view of azaleas.  You can see some blooms turning loose.

 A little bit of blue sky visible behind those peachy colored blooms.

A cloud has dropped down to cover the bald.  It was kinda neat to see the conditions change from one minute to the next!

I stopped to photograph this grave marker on the hike out.  I'd love to know the history of this fellow and how this came to be here.

  Next time I want to walk down the King Meadows Trail and see the cabin ruins.

          Back at the parking area we stowed our gear and set up our picnic lunch. We had croissants with turkey or ham and cheese and sub dressing.   We had blue berries and water melon.  We had sweet tea, lemonade, water and sodas to pick from to drink.  I foolishly left the chips and cookies at home, but we did not miss them.   We stopped to let Tessa have a mercy call at Stratton Ridge. She was not having the peeing in the bushes thing either.   We drove back toward Tellico Plains. On the way I spotted a mountain camellia blooming. Crystal kindly turned round for me to go back and photograph them.   I had never seen camellias in this area before!  So pretty and perfect.
The ones here were pure white with gold centers. The ones in the Smokies I have seen are white with gold and purple centers.

Mountain camellia. Its fancy binomial is Stewartia ovata

    We finally made it back to Tellico Plains and figured out where the Tellico Grains Bakery was.
We went in to see it for ourselves.   It smelled so good. It looks really quaint too. I had heard only great reviews of it.   I was having my mid afternoon schlump.  I was thrilled to get a cup of strong vienna coffee.   Michael and I split a piece of what we called Death By Chocolate cake.  Yum!
It is the best chocolate cake EVER! I am going to ask for that for my birthday this year.  You better believe it.    Even with all four of us working on it...... we could not quite finish it.  It was too rich and sweet.    But what a way to go!  :-)   Tessa got some kind of pastry, but I don't remember exactly what it was.  The kids got white milk.   Crystal had some water and dessert.   While we were in there the rain cut loose and began to pour down in buckets. Thunder and lightning were booming and cracking round.  We tried checking the weather radar to see if it would soon clear out or if it was a settled in rain.    No luck.  We got a poor phone signal down here.   We decided we'd best head home and try the creek thing another day.   It was already 3 pm.    We were tired and had a good bit of a drive home.  It was all in all a good day.  I had fun! I can't wait to go with them again.

 I appreciated spending time with my daughter and my grandkids.   They are very sweet and fun and I am proud of them all.

 Tellico Grains Bakery is very quaint in the historic downtown of Tellico Plains.
 Tessa with her serious face.
I was baiting Michael to do a chocolate cake mouth picture for me.  He was happy to help me out!  

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cades Cove Summer Wildflowers

Bumblebee on Clover 

Cades Cove Summer Wildflowers 

Dana Koogler

Wednesday June 14, 2017

Hike distance 2 miles

Pictures here starting with frame 44 CADES COVE PIX

   I had wanted to go to Cades Cove to do some exploring. I wanted to see Ragged Fringed Orchids since it was time for them to bloom. I also wanted to see the heirloom gladiolas that bloom in the fields.  I had been wanting to visit the various ponds in Cades Cove. I finally had a day when I could go and I packed my car with all my stuff and left.  It was a Wednesday morning so I had to wait until
the loop road opened at 10 a.m.. It gave me time to get organized so I did not forget anything.  

      I arrived at the gate a few minutes after it opened.  I was so eager to see the flowers more toward the back of the loop I decided to do that first.  I figured if I wanted to do the other stuff on my list it would wait until I made the loop or half of it again. Traffic was not very bad today.  Weekdays in Summer can be crowded, but I was fortunate it wasn't.   I started seeing beautiful views of the mountains. I also started seeing lots of daylilies and bright orange butterfly weed.  I saw a second shade of orange butterfly weed and even some yellow.   I was warned by a buddy that some of the orchids at a previous site were not that good this year.  They were able to tip me off to a better spot or two.  I was thrilled to go find out for myself.  

        Today was sunny and hot.  I really did not expect to see any animals during this time of day.
I got to the first place and pulled over. I got to take some photos of daylilies against the blue mountains.  It was really a sight to see. 

I squatted down to get this view.  I took my time and got a good composition. I used a manual setting.
I was so tickled with how it turned out. I had a feeling it would be good.  About the time I started back toward the jeep a park volunteer waved me down. I first thought he was going to scold me for "going off trail".  All I did was pull over and step into the field.  He greeted me not to fuss at me but to offer advice on things to see. He was really nice and just did not want me to miss things. I thanked him for the information and for volunteering.  He informed me they had a problem bear and were keeping an eye on things to help the rangers be certain no visitors got injured and the bear did not get chased.  I asked if wildlife chasing had let up any? He said yes it was a little better, but apparently it comes in spurts.   He related to me some of the uninformed ideas visitors have. It left me incredulous.
He said the volunteers try to educate visitors about such things so they hopefully leave less ignorant than they were when they came in.  If you see yourself among this kind of person please take time to read about wildlife in the areas you plan to visit so you know the basics.  You'll get more enjoyment out of it. You'll be safer. The animals will be safer from your kind.  
  • What time do you all feed the bears?
  • What age do deer have to be to turn into elk?
  • What elevation do the bears live at?

    I continued round the loop road.  I spotted one lone gladiola out in the weeds. I pulled over and parked. I got out and walked over there and waded out into the thicket.   I got my legs all scratched up by briars for my efforts. I only saw two of the heirloom gladiolas which was very disappointing.
I saw lots of leaves of them though. They were still around.  I found I was there too early. I shall have to make time to return. Maybe Ma and Pa will feel like going? I hope so.  Maybe brother Doug will feel up to a good sibling fight in the back of the car? 😄😄😄

 One especially beautiful heirloom glad above.. and one really pitiful one below!

       I pushed onward to my next stop.  I had only seen one turkey up to this point. Today I was blessed to be surrounded by courteous fellow visitors who used the pull offs!  It was very nice.
I parked and got out to hike. I hiked in one direction into the field.  I got photos of the various shades of butterfly weed.  I then continued my search for orchids and gladiolas.

 Above-- bright orange butterfly weed
Below.. yellow butterfly weed with a honeybee.

    I was enjoying the sun and the blue skies.  I hiked into the woods leaving the fields behind me.
I saw the forest floor laden with ferns. They are thick and soft and cover the ground in places.

Example of a fern patch in the forest at Cades Cove.

     On one of my winding treks in and out of the woods I spotted a flash of bright pink down low to the ground.  I looked closer and it was a pair of heirloom gladiolas that were drooped all the way over.  I gently stood them back up. They were too flimsy to stay on their own so I leaned them back against the other weeds. I was able to enjoy seeing the shades of pink. My great grandmother grew these in about every color in her garden each Summer.   I think that is why I favor them.
They have such a sense of history. They are "antiques" that come back each year!

Heirloom gladiolus in pink with a yellow center. I have searched and searched without finding any information as to the variety. It is probably very old.   It is an abyssinian type for sure.  The nearest thing I've found is a mention of the extremely old Maid of the Mist variety. I can find no photos I am 100% sure are of that so I can't compare them. I'm betting these date to the 1920s.

Great Spangled frittilary I saw today.  I only saw one of these.
I also saw a little terrapin that had crawled up beside me.

 I was not disappointed. I found Ragged Fringed Orchids a plenty today.  I found three where I expected to find them.  I also realized I had a macro lens I was not aware I owned! I had never used it before.  I used it today for detail shots on these little beauties. Turned out best macros I've ever done.
Detail of the bloom of 'Ragged Fringed Orchids. You can see the dew drops on them.

  I hiked back the way I came. I kept looking.  I decided I'd hike in the opposite direction. I went
way out through the fields of Cades Cove.  I saw lots more butterfly weed and some sundrops.
I also saw common milkweed.  I thought again of my great grandmother.  I don't know what she was as far as ethnicity. She was a dark skinned, dark eyed woman with long snow white hair she kept plaited and put up with combs. She wore a poke bonnet much of the time.  She was Brethren in her
faith. The women keep their heads covered when they pray.   She had lots of costume jewelry. The prettiest she had was some that looked like milkweed blooms!  It was made of porcelain.

 Common Milkweed is a pretty flower that looks like it is made up of tiny pink jewels!

More pretty orange butterfly weed against green fields, red brush, and blue skies.

     I had grown hot by the time I hiked back to the car. I did not see anymore orchids in this direction.   I got in the jeep. Cranked up the AC and cooled off. I sat in the back seat and ate lunch in the cool.
I was too hot to eat much.  I drank plenty to stay hydrated. Once I cooled down and felt refreshed I began to look around me.  I had been studying my surroundings, but had failed to spot the landmarks  I needed.  I was about to give up and move on when the light came on over my noggin. I looked out across the fields and there before me was what I had needed to see.  Had I not gotten in the back seat to eat and rest I probably wouldn't have noticed my sought for markings.  I was very excited and got out with my backpack and once again waded out through the fields.   I stopped as I drew nearer my destination and carefully scanned for orchids.  I saw one. Then another and another.  I counted nine at this spot. I cannot believe I even saw the one as it had not yet bloomed.  All the rest were perfect.

 Looking out at the light and shadows on the mountains in Cades Cove
 Ragged Fringed Orchid Platanthera lacera is its fancy botanical name. :-)
A macro shot of the same orchid.  You can see clear into the nectary of each bloom.

  I was so tickled to have found no less than a dozen orchids today!  Thanks to my buddies for the tips. I ain't using your names on here because I don't want anyone hassling you.  Don't think for a minute I'm not grateful.

          I heard a lady going by in a car around the loop saying something about "Look at that woman out there in the field going around. ...." I couldn't hear the rest.   I guess I was doing it wrong since I was not chasing bears or deer.    I also heard some gnu gnu holler out their car window "Get out of my picture!"  People can be all sorts of different assholes.

   Once I got done with orchid hunting I headed out to see if I could find Stupka Sink. I had recently gotten all the GPS coordinates for all the sinkhole ponds and ephemeral ponds around Cades Cove.
I had imagined I'd try to see at least a few of them today.  I pulled up within what the GPS unit said was 226 feet away from Stupka Sink. About the time I pulled over and parked a very big bear stood up on its hind legs in the weeds where it was eating blackberrries.  I was glad I saw it now instead of encountering it while I was out in the field with it.  I decided quickly I'd best wait til Winter when the bears are asleep. More likely for these ponds to have water then anyway. Also less snakey and weedy. I next went round to Forge Creek Road to see if I could relocate other heirloom glads I had seen.
None were blooming. I did get some pretty scenery along Forge Creek though.
   Advection fog has formed over the  cold waters of the creek.
Here is a video of the tranquility along this stream.

Forge Creek in Summer.

   Next I stopped off at the Gum Swamp. I got eaten up with mosquito bites. It still looked pretty and I was glad to see it still had some water in it.  You can see the trees reflected in the dark water.
I did not do much else today. I stopped to see some flame azaleas I spotted and some rosebay rhododendron.  I saw three deer... all does.   I was satisfied with my finds so I wrapped up my day and headed home.
Flame azaleas
Rosebay rhododendron glowing in the sunshine.