Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Myrtle Beach and Murrells Inlet, SC

I had 2 weeks between my Townsend, TN stop and my trip back to Georgia so I decided to go back to the beach at the beginning of October.  I had looked at Huntington Beach State Park previously, but it was full and I could not get a campsite.  This time when I looked it was full on the weekends, but during the week they had a few spots available.  So, I ended up staying half the time at Huntington Beach State Park and half at Myrtle Beach Tourist Park. 

The Tourist Park was typical of many (if not all) of the private campgrounds in Myrtle Beach with most spots very close together, but I was luckily enough to ask for a spot with shade.   My spot was one of the larger spots and backed up to the lake.  I could just make out the ocean by looking over the lake  and above the RVs closer to the ocean.

One day while biking around the park, I noticed the above in the lake.  It kind of looked like a shark, but of course this was in the lake not the ocean.   Upon a closer look, I realized it was the back fin of a fish who was swimming very close to the top of the water.

Luckily most of the time I was there it was warm enough to swim.  So I kept myself busy by walking, biking, swimming, reading by the pool and floating in the Lazy River. 


Above I am in my Renetto Canopy chair.  A great chair to enjoy the sun, but keep it off your face!  From here, I headed about 25 miles south to Huntington Beach State Park.  While here I hiked, biked and watched birds.  I went on one of their bird walks.  Below is an Ibis with a small eel in his mouth.  At least some people in the bird watching group said it was a small eel.

Other Bird pictures --

About 15 minutes after taking the picture above, the egret flew away and a great blue heron took his place.  At one time both were there, but they flew away before I could take a picture.  That seems to be my luck, always a bit late with the camera.  One day I was sitting on the beach watching the dolphins.  One of the dolphins decided to start jumping out of the water. 

I finally got my camera out as the dolphin made his last jump and of course he was almost out of the view when I snapped the picture!  One morning I saw what I would guess to be 50 – 60 dolphins.  It was a great walk, even though it took me much longer to walk the 4 miles than it should have.  I stopped too many times to admire the dolphins. 



From here I headed back to Georgia.  Like other years, I started at Fort Yargo State Park in Winder and then headed up to the North East Georgia Mountains.  I am currently in Mountain City in a campground about 5 minutes from my mom’s condo.  I’ll blog about this later.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Townsend, TN–part 2

All of the pictures below were taken from Cades Cove in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  I visited it probably 10 or more times during the month of September.

I like to visit in the morning as the wildlife is a bit more active during that time.  Sunrise in the cove --  

I saw bear several times.  Once I saw a mom and her 3 cubs, but didn’t have time to pull my camera out before they got out of sight.

None of my bear pictures are that good.  For some reason when I suggested to the bear that they quit moving, they did not listen.  Also I am not as stupid as some tourist.  I stay my distance, it is illegal to approach closer than 50 yards.  Not everyone obeys--

I have visited Cades Cove many times in the past, but I have never stopped at every stop.  I attempted that on one of my trips this time, but ended up skipping 2 stops.  One of the first stops is the John Oliver Cabin --


There are a couple of churches in the cove, but I had to post the Methodist Church since I am Methodist.  I knew that when you see the 2 doors it typically meant that at one time women went in one door and men in the other.  I didn’t think Methodist ever did this.  I found out that this church borrowed the plans from another church and just left the door that way.

I enjoy old cemeteries and Cades Cove has a few.  This tombstone caught my eye--

I enjoyed the Elijah Oliver stop.  It was about a mile hike to get to the cabin and other buildings. 

Elijah Oliver cabin -

Gristmill close to Cades Cove Visitor Center -

Mushrooms -

I enjoy looking at and photographing the mountains when they look kind of like an abstract painting, when you can just see the outlines of the mountains.  Either early in the morning or on foggy days.  They never turn out as well as I want, but here are a few of my favorites--

From here I headed to Myrtle Beach for a couple of weeks, before making my way back to Georgia.  The next blog will be about my trip to Myrtle Beach and Murrels Inlet (Huntington Beach State Park).

Townsend, TN: The quiet side of the Smokies

The month of September I stayed in Townsend, TN.  I have stayed here a few times as some of you may remember from past blogs.

After being in Townsend just a day or 2, I drove to my mom’s for a visit.  She lives about 2 hours from Townsend.  On the drive over the mountains, just before the Smokies visitor center outside of Cherokee, NC I saw several elk.

And of course, any wildlife cause a traffic jam – especially when they are crossing the road.  Luckily it was early in the morning so there were not too many cars.

You may have noticed from my blogs that I have slowed down a bit in hiking. My knee was still bothering me. Some days it was ok and other days it hurt quite a bit, especially going down stairs or downhill.   I visited the doctor and of course, she couldn’t say much and suggested I go to an Orthopedic clinic where they could really tell what it was.  They made the appointment for me.  The next day I started to get a sore throat and the following day I was sick.  For 3 days I didn’t do much other than go to Walmart for some medicine.  Then it rained for 2 days.  After that my knee felt much better.  I had not exercised at all for 5 days and walked very little.  So I decided to postpone my appointment until after my trip to the beach to see how it was. 

But back to the rain.  It rained about 6 inches in 2 days, but most of it within several hours.

It’s not a good sign when your Welcome Mat floats away!  I had ended up in one of a few spots that flooded badly.  Another camper asked how I enjoyed my lake!

I seem to have good luck in trying to go somewhere I can’t go.  A couple of days after the rain, I was headed back to Elkmont and found the sign above.  While it says, Road Closed and Ice and Snow, I found out it was really a mud slide that closed the road.  One Sunday morning,  I debated going to the campground church service or to the River Trail.  I decided to go walking.  I was just a minute or 2 from the turn off to Elkmont and there were cars stopped (this was about 8:15 in the morning, so I didn’t think there would be too much traffic).  It ended up that a tree had fallen across the road and the ranger said it might be 30 minutes or so before they got it moved.  I decided that maybe that was a hint that I was supposed to go to church.  I made it back just in  time for the service. 

Most of my time was spent walking the River Trail at Elkmont (one of my favorites in the park), hiking a little and going to Cades Cove.  Below is the river beside River Trail.

I saw a lot of wild turkeys while in the Smokies.

While in Cades Cove, I saw the 2 deer below fighting.  I have seen deer many times, but I had never seen them fight.  I have a few pictures of them actually fighting but because of the grass when there heads are bent you can’t really see them. 

The Foothills parkway is a scenic drive that they (whoever that is) have been working on for a very long time.   One of the open sections is not far from Townsend.   The picture below was taken from one of the scenic overlooks.

The next blog will be some more pictures I took while at Cades Cove.