Another layer of snow

Another layer of snow

This morning we woke to an absolutely gorgeous winter wonderland.

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For the first time so far this winter, the tree branches hung onto a pretty thick layer of new fluffy snow. I have to admit that is my favorite part about snow. There truly is nothing prettier than white covering the darker hue of the branches.

IMG_3047 editWithin a few hours the snow began falling from the trees making it look like it was snowing again. IMG_3053 edit IMG_3060 edut

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I’m so glad Lucy and I woke when we did this morning, a little after 7 a.m. to witness the beauty and quietness of a fresh snowfall from the night before.

We probably received another 5 inches of snow. This of course was on top of the layer of snow, yes even ice, that has been on the ground since Monday, Feb. 16. We have had snow on the ground for 11 days!

I’m so proud of Lucy. She is getting the hang of going outside running crazy in the snow and even going to the bathroom IN THE SNOW! This morning when we ventured outside the snow was a little deeper than we both expected. Her legs disappeared as she walked to find a spot to go to the bathroom. My little short leg puppy.

IMG_3064 editShe loves eating the snow, which is comical. Her new favorite game . . . chasing after snowballs.

Here are a few pictures from this morning. She needed to go outside and let off some steam . . . and well I needed to walk away from my desk.

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And then the running began .  . . my favorite picture of today . . . her running mid-stride towards me with her ears flapping . . .

IMG_3069 editPoor thing was covered in snow once she reached me.

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Here are a few more pictures from this morning of the snow that blanketed our backyard and the fence that runs the distance of the yard.

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IMG_3063 editThe snow is absolutely gorgeous to look at . . . but I have to admit I am ready for the spring to come, as well as the sunshine and warmer temperatures.

 

Fun in the snow

Fun in the snow

Yesterday was the first day in almost a week temperatures rose above freezing.

We started the week off with Winter Storm Octavia, which brought a good amount of snow on Monday that never really melted as the week went on. After we went to bed Friday, we woke up to even more snow the following morning, thanks to Winter Storm Pandora. A good portion of Saturday morning, the snow came down rather hard, leaving probably about 8 inches of snow on the ground.

After Jason got home from his day of work, Lucy and I joined him outside for some fun in the snow. The temperatures, although cold, were bearable enough to build a snowman, and let Lucy play.

Poor Lucy hasn’t had much exercise all week-long, well, besides running circles in the house. With the below freezing temperatures, I pretty much let her outside to go to the bathroom and then we were inside again.

Needless to say, she let loose once we took the leash off, jumping as high as she could through the snow.

The snow that fell Saturday was good packing snow, so I made a few snowballs and threw them in the air. Lucy took off chasing it trying to find where it landed. There was a couple of times she found the indent in the snow . . . The best part was watching her take a huge bite out of the snowball enjoying a rather cold drink.

So here are a few pictures of Lucy’s time in the snow . . .

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Lucy3 Jason found a stick, which Lucy enjoyed playing with too.

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Lucy and stick

It was pretty funny watching her chase after the stick, but not knowing where it landed. After the stick hit the top layer of the snow it sunk enough so it was out of sight.

So here’s the result, Lucy’s head in the snow.

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Lucy head in snow2We also built a snowman while we were out in the snow. Lucy thought the snowmen’s arms were her toys . . .

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Lucy and snowmanAfter being stuck in the house all week long it felt good to get outdoors for a little bit. I definitely had a case of cabin fever this week. I’m ready for the snow to melt, so I can head back out for my weekly running on the Greenbelt. This month has definitely been hard sticking to my weekly routine with the blast of winter!

Here are a few more snow pictures from around our house.

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Blanket of white

Blanket of white

20150218_164759 editI’ve been pretty fortunate this winter . . .

Well, that all changed when the temperatures plummeted and a blanket of ice and snow-covered the area.

There are certain temperatures that I just won’t brave the elements and go for a run. When you add a layer of ice and snow to the mix, I hang my running shoes up.

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I’m okay if a couple of days go by without going for a run, as long as I go at least three times a week.

Unfortunately our wintry mix has left me indoors. My last run was Feb. 10 . . .

The need to hit the Greenbelt took hold with a fierce grip yesterday. My body desperately needs its outlet to wash away the stress of everyday life. My body needs the blast of fresh air while my feet hit the pavement carrying me through much-needed miles.

I miss my “me” time. I miss letting it all go while running and taking in the scenery.

Yesterday in an effort to kick my winter blues, I asked Jason to stop by the Kingsport Greenbelt, so I could take a look.

The walk, which was not a long one because of the cold, was just a tease. I felt like I was home when Jason parked the car and I saw the sign for the Kingsport Greenbelt.

It was breathtaking to see snow covering the path and the outskirts of the creek. It was, however, quite cold as the gust of wind rushed across our face.

20150218_164820 editAs we walked a little down the path our feet stepped on a layer of ice that was beneath a layer of snow. Definitely not ideal running conditions. Definitely not safe running conditions.

In an effort to release some of what has been bottled up inside for more than a week, I breathed in the crisp air and looked, really looked at my surroundings.

Here are a few more pictures of what I was able to capture with my cell phone before the temperatures got to be too cold to bear.

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Hopefully the single digits will disappear soon taking the severe wind chills with it, so I can go back to my weekly routine. I have learned through this dry spell of running, that exercise is extremely important!

With all that said . . . .

My next 5K race is Saturday, Feb. 28, a little more than a week away. I sure hope the temperatures improve, or that is going to be one brutally cold race.

Broke my heart

Broke my heart

My heart broke a little this morning.

We have quite a few inches of snow on the ground, which is beautiful. There’s just something peaceful about the grass blanketed with snow. A layer of white covering everything in sight. A certain kind of quietness takes hold as you become mesmerized by the tiny to large snowflakes falling in front of you.

This beauty, however, has been hard . . .

I’ve never experienced having a dog during the winter where there’s snow.

Lucy walking in the snow for the first time Monday, Feb. 16.

Lucy walking in the snow for the first time Monday, Feb. 16.

At first Lucy, our 13-month old puppy, loved playing in the snow before it accumulated and made a few inch layer over the grass. I have video of her running in circles picking up small pieces and tossing it in the air before eating little pieces.

One of the challenges I have found is Lucy finding somewhere to go to the bathroom. There are certain areas of the backyard where she will go, which are all off to the side of the property.

The first day we had snow she walked me over to her typical spot. When she couldn’t find the grass and leaves, she became confused and took me to another corner of the property.

As we walked, her little paws sunk into the snow, which made her balance shake a little. On our way back to the house, she found my foot prints and started using those to walk on. That’s one smart pup. Although this helped, at one point she stopped and began climbing up my leg, so I picked her up and carried her back to the house. I knew by that point, she could not handle the cold anymore.

You hear all the time that animals are affected by the cold weather too. That they too should be taken out of the elements.

I know how cold the temperatures are to me. I could only imagine how cold it is for Lucy. My feet are covered, as well as my entire body with layer upon layer. A dog has it’s fur, which I’m sure isn’t nearly as thick and warm as it needs to be to protect them from the cold.

As of this morning I have a full understanding of just how cold the elements are for my puppy.

We went outside, so she could go to the bathroom. We walked down the sidewalk around the side of the house. There’s an open space under our house that has some vegetation that hasn’t been touched by the snow. This is the only area I have found where she will go to the bathroom.

My little pokey puppy, however, had to check out the snow and sniff along the fence that runs alongside our property for a while all while sinking further into the snow turning her belly white. There is a beautiful German Shepherd that lives next door that runs along that fence. Lucy was smelling her scent.

I finally was able to talk her into walking back under the house when she finally did her business. After telling her what a good girl she was we started walking through the snow to reach the sidewalk to the front door.

As soon as I opened the door, Lucy walked inside.

This is when the tears almost took hold . . .

When I closed the door Lucy collapsed after taking a few steps. As soon as her hind legs gave out, she started whimpering and looked up at me with the saddest eyes. The whimpering went right through me . . .

I quickly scooped her up and walked into my office where the little space heater was running. I wiped off her paws with a towel and sat in front of the heater with her in my lap until she stopped shaking.

Now I know just how cold and unpleasant it is for this poor little puppy to be outdoors.

When she was comfortable, I sat down and clicked on Facebook because it was showing I had a message. As I was scrolling through the feed I saw an article about keeping animals safe during this kind of weather.

The article said that dogs and cats have good heat exchange through their feet and pads, which means it doesn’t take much time for them to get cold. Dogs, according to the article, can get frost bite too.

I sure hope that’s not what Lucy just experienced.

My heart goes out to the dogs that are left outside during this kind of weather. Animals should have some kind of safe haven they can go to during extreme temperatures and weather conditions.

I know my puppy does. She is spoiled beyond belief . . . blankets, space heaters and even a little sweater to keep her warm.

I just hope that pet owners are smart and give their animals the correct care during snow storms and cold fronts that are expected to dip down into the negatives over the next few days.

 

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

This morning Jason stopped by the house with a van full of apples and avocados that he had to deliver to Asheville. He stopped by the house on his way out to ask if I wanted to go along for the drive. At first I said no thank you, which quickly changed when he said the mountain tops might have snow.

This I could not turn down, especially since all we’ve seen is flurries and nothing that has really stuck to the ground.

So, I quickly threw on a few layers, grabbed my camera and we were off to Asheville. As we drove I-26 the scenery really did not change from where we just came from, Kingsport. Some of the roofs had a light layer of white, but nothing much.

Well that was until the elevation increased close to the North Carolina border. Our view instantly changed to a winter wonderland that was absolutely breathtaking.

Jason pulled off the road at a scenic overlook spot so I could take pictures. I only had five minutes to snap as many pictures as I could, so we could make it to his delivery spot.

As soon as I stepped out of the van I went from toasty to freezing. I guess I did not put on enough layers for this! But, with a camera in my hand my thoughts went from cold to I have to take a picture of this, and this, and this.

I loved hearing the crunch of the snow under my feet and seeing the branches holding onto a layer of snow.

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On our way back from Asheville there was another scenic overlook that Jason stopped at, so I of course could take more pictures. This time, the temperatures felt as if they dipped 10+ degrees. So it was a quick click, click before jumping back into the heated van.

I downloaded a new photograph program, Corel PaintShop Pro. I had fun editing some of the pictures.

IMG_2863 Look at the difference between these two photographs. I love the enhancement!

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IMG_2867 editI’m so glad Jason stopped by and picked me up. The views were incredible once we hit the higher elevations.

Phenomenal hike: Jones Falls and Elk Falls

I have experienced cabin fever this winter for the first time in my adult life. With temperatures sometimes as low as the single digits, Jason and I spent a lot of time indoors. This winter was definitely a change from what I’m used to as A Florida girl.

The last true hike we took was in September. That seems like forever ago, especially when we were used to going out at least once a week.

With Jason having the day off and the temperatures rising to the high 50’s, we laced up our shoes, put on a few layers and packed a few more and went for a drive. That drive took us to North Carolina.

IMG_1154As soon as Jason parked the car, I got out and walked towards the water. The sky was blue with a chill in the air. The sound of rushing water instantly grabbed a hold of me and reminded me why we decided to move to NE Tennessee. It had definitely been too long since we heard that sound.

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This is the beginning of Elk Falls in North Carolina. The parking lot sits alongside the water, which eventually turns into Elk Falls.

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IMG_1158Instead of heading straight towards Elk Falls, we decided to hit the trails and hike towards Jones Falls.

In order to get to Jones Falls, we had to walk  behind a gate in the parking lot area. This trail opens rather wide for a while and at times becomes hilly.

IMG_1159Once we started walking along the path, I remembered why I loved the hike to Jones Falls so much.

About a half a mile later, the trail opened to a river. We continued walking along the river on a narrow trail that was quite muddy in some places today.

The views, the sounds, what more could you ask for.

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IMG_1217We eventually caught up with the Appalachian Trail, which is marked by white blazes on the tree.

IMG_1172I love this hike because you start hiking in North Carolina and end up in Tennessee. We crossed the state line by foot.

IMG_1207When we saw the blue blazes, we knew we had to take that trail to get to Jones Falls.

I loved walking the trail. There was so much green everywhere, something we haven’t been used to since winter came. We even saw trees starting to blossom, which I have to admit made me smile.

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IMG_1222We started to hear Jones Falls and eventually saw it from a distance. It looked like there was ice, but we weren’t sure until we got closer to it . . .

I think both of our jaws dropped as Jones Falls came into sight. Wow, also left our lips. We couldn’t believe all the ice and snow  . . . a wish definitely came true today. Jason and I have been wanting to hike to a waterfall since winter hit, but don’t really have the proper winter gear. We wanted to experience the frozen waterfalls in person . . .

IMG_1176So when we saw this it was a nice surprise.

IMG_1180The temperature dropped quite a bit as we came closer to Jones Falls. It was nice at first because we were both warm from the hike to the waterfall.

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IMG_1188As I was mesmerized by the view, listening to the incredible sound, Jason found a trail that went up towards the top of the waterfall. Yep, I of course went up to join him. Well, he came back down to help guide me. It was steep in some places and slippery. Jason of course helped me.

The site was even better than below. The temperatures were even colder than below. With that said, it was worth the hike up.

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There was a break in some of the ice and you could see the water running below.

IMG_1205After our bodies had enough of the cold, we headed back down the trail to grab our backpack and headed back. Jason packed us some sandwiches, which we stopped and ate where the sun was shinning, so we could soak up the warmth.

Before we starting walking again, I gave Jason a kiss. I was outdoors with the man I love. I was beyond happy . . .

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Of course on our way back we headed off the trail and found a new place to play.

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Some things just don’t change, I found a rock and sat down and took in the sound. Jason, on the other hand, found some rocks that he could skip in the water.

Now back in North Carolina we headed towards Elk Falls. As you hike down the path, there is a place where you can walk out on the rocks and view the waterfall from the top. This is always a great place to see a waterfall. The rushing water is powerful at this view.

Jason walked out closer to the edge and sat down for a while right over the waterfall.

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By the time we made it to Elk Falls it was getting colder, so we didn’t stay for long. Last time we stopped here there were a ton of people swimming in the water and sun bathing on the rocks. This time we had the view all to ourselves.

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My mind instantly went to a different place as I sat and watched the water hitting the pool of water below.

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IMG_1253Today was absolutely perfect. A perfect day with Jason. Really, I could not ask for anything more. We were both in our element once again.

IMG_1237My mind is completely clear and the stress was left along the trail.

Fresh air, the sounds of nature and your best friend by your side does wonders. It felt good to smile all day long. It felt good to be outdoors for a few hours today.

Beauty

Every snow storm that comes our way brings a beautiful robin that plays in the branches right outside our door. Every time I would grab my camera, have it ready to start snapping away, this beauty would fly away and make it impossible to capture him.

Well, I’m happy to say that today he granted my wish as he flew from branch to branch close enough to take pictures.

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IMG_1095He even took the time to look straight at me and pose while I snapped away.

Today, Winter Storm Pax continues to show its presence. The snow is still falling this morning, creating more of a blanket of white all around our home. I wonder when it’s going to let up. I want to make a larger snowman and Jason wants to go sledding down our driveway. That sled ride will definitely be an adventure, one that I will capture.

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IMG_1100This has definitely been a true winter for Jason and I. We have experienced the cold temperatures, at one point -2, and a good amount of snow. It’s different from Florida winter’s that’s for sure.