I’m in love

For a week now, I have been staring out my office window wishing I was hiking the trails at Bays Mountain instead of being stuck at my desk working. The  stunning fall colors were constantly catching my attention with the curtains drawn causing me to drift away from the work before me.

The outdoors were calling me . . . .

Instead of wishing I was there, today I decided to make it happen. It was a perfect day to step away from the four walls of my office and breathe in some of that fresh air.

I’m so glad I did.

With Jason working nonstop, Lucy and I went for a hike, just the two of us.

A morning that started off in the 30s warmed up to be an absolutely gorgeous day with the temperatures climbing into the 60s. There was not a cloud in the sky.

The layers I dressed in before leaving the house, slowly were removed as Lucy and I made our way around the Lakeside Trail. We ended up hiking 3.43 miles with an elevation change from 1,673 feet to 2,053 feet.

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I love this trail during the fall months. The trees are stunning, especially when the water is calm and you can see the reflection of the beautiful fall colors.

IMG_2489Today there was a slight breeze. Well to be honest, there was a good wind at times. As the wind picked up, it began raining leaves, which spooked Lucy just a little.

IMG_2560My thoughts constantly wandered as Lucy led the way around the lake. For starters, I was proud of myself for actually going out for a hike. Jason received a free pass to Bays Mountain a couple of weeks ago that he gave to me. I was holding onto the pass because I wanted to go for a hike with him. But, with him working two jobs he’s always tired. So, today was the day, he wanted to rest, and I wanted to play.

It was really an invigorating feeling to go, just Lucy and I.

As those thoughts came and went, I began to think about yesterday.

Friday I drove to Jonesborough to interview the executive director of the International Storytelling Center for an article I was writing for the Herald & Tribune. An interview that left me smiling. That interview inspired me even more to write a book, to become a true published author. The interview also may have possibly opened another door for me. Kiran asked me to send him my resume and some writing clips. I’m very excited to see where it all takes me.

That thought sent positive energy circulating through my body at a rapid speed as I looked at Lucy in front of me clearly enjoying our adventure outdoors.

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Life with a dog is incredible. Life with Lucy is completely fulfilling. This little 9 month old puppy is my little best friend, my exercising partner and often times the one who makes me smile.

As my mind cleared, the scenery became even more vibrant, more attracting, more enticing. I could not get enough of all the vibrant hues that surrounded the trail.

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IMG_2550Honestly, how could you not be on a natural high when taking in this kind of beauty?

The trail was stunning and more times than not covered in leaves creating a crunch as we made our way along.

IMG_2522Lucy was such a good sport today. When you get her going on the trails, she has one thing on her mind, “must keep going.” Lucy is really good about staying on the trail and walking at a good speed. But, with a camera in hand, she was asked to “stop” on more than one occasion.

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I took almost 100 pictures today.

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Instead of trying to take pictures with the leash still on . . . she had some freedom at one spot along the trail. So, what did she do, stop and pose 🙂

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My little beauty.

After we finished the trail, we headed over to the manmade waterfall.

IMG_2563And then continued to walk down the trail where we sat and listened to the water.

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IMG_2582It was an absolutely perfect couple of hours.

I’m in love with the fall colors. The colors are so much more vibrant this year than last year, my first year of experiencing the seasons as an adult.

I keep juggling which season I like more . . . the fall or the spring. Right now the fall is definitely my favorite season.

More fall colors

After going out into nature yesterday, I got the bug, I wanted to go out again today and take more pictures of all the beautiful colors. (That’s the beautiful thing about freelance work, I can make my own schedule. The only downfall is when I get back from hikes like this, I don’t want to go back to work.)  Jason and I went back to the first place we visited when arriving in Kingsport in May, Bays Mountain Park & Planetarium in Kingsport. I really enjoyed seeing all of the changes, our hike was gorgeous today.

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We decided to take the trail that circled the lake, about a 2.3 mile hike on the Lakeside Trail. I wanted to take some pictures of the trees with the reflection off of the lake. unfortunately I had no such luck, there was too much wind, making the water rather choppy.

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I’m happy with what I was able to capture, especially with the cloud coverage . . . and then the bright sun.  IMG_0749

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There were lots of places along the trail that had flashes of color in a sea of green.

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Always catches my attention!

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Last night it rained pretty hard, so there were even more leaves on the path. I could really smell fall this morning, the smell of leaves. There is nothing like that smell, it again brought me back to my childhood.

IMG_0702I picked up some more leaves today for my friend Dorene. I was so excited to see so many beautiful leaves at the rest area in Virginia last weekend, I didn’t think it all the way through. By the time we made it to Maryland the leaves were already drying and the corners were shriveled. So as soon as we hit the path today, my hands became full again. I gathered more than a dozen leaves and brought them straight into the house, so I can flatten them and send them off. It was exciting choosing the right ones, sharing a piece of our new home with a friend.

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The picture above is one of my favorites, the vibrancy of the colors were amazing on the trail today. Yesterday it was the red leaves that caught my attention, today it was the bright yellow and orange.

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IMG_0740How can you not like the fall, when you see colors like this? Breathtaking!

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I like when I saw the red and yellow leaves together, incredible.

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Before leaving the trail we saw a beehive and what looks like some holly.  IMG_0730

This is the road leading into the park. Jason and I kept saying we couldn’t wait to see some of the roads we traveled when visiting the waterfalls when the leaves began to change. The sight was more incredible than I could have imagined.  IMG_0765

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IMG_0769Like I said yesterday, fall is my favorite season so far. Well now that I am completely relaxed, I better get back to writing.

Another hike, Bays Mountain

Jason gave me a great surprise today, a phone call telling me he was on his way home … no working a double today!

An early day for him meant another adventure for us. We decided to go back to Bays Mountain and find another trail to hike. 

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The start of our hike looked down over a dam along the Lakeside Trail, which led us 2.3 miles around the lake.

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This beautiful park is 3,550 acres and houses the old city of Kingsport reservoir, which now serves as a 44-acre lake. The reservoir was built in 1917 and served the city water until 1944.

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The elevation around the Kingsport Reservoir is 1,835 feet.

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As we were walking, I told Jason I love looking out on the water and seeing trees and mountains in the distance. Everything is so green right now. I’m used to seeing an endless body of water coming from SW Florida.

The little yellow flowers in the water caught my attention …

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Although the trail led you both up and down around the lake, it wasn’t as strenuous as the other hikes we have done.

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I love the trails …

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Especially when they take you over little manmade boardwalks across the water. Sometimes they look a little too scary to cross …The best part of this particular path was Jason spotted a dear in the water, which I was unfortunately able to capture.

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There were a lot of trees that had fallen over on this trail, or near the trail leaving unique stumps on the path.

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We eventually made it back to our favorite spot where we sat for a little while taking it all in – the beauty, sounds and smells.

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I look forward to these little adventures, especially today because this week starts my full-time job. Tomorrow kicks off training and Tuesday is my first full day as the new police beat reporter for the Bristol Herald Courier. That is both exciting and nerve racking!  Jason and I have come a long way since we arrived in Kingsport on May 1.

I never knew how much of a nature person I was until Jason started taking me outside on hikes in Florida. No matter how stressed I am, or how worried I am about something it all disappears by the time the hike is done.

I’m grateful Jason and I moved to Tennessee. The best part is we really have not even begun to explore what is around us.