The Beauty Around Us

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Posts tagged ‘Moon’

Full Snow Moon Followed by a Snowy Day

Various Native American tribes had various names for the different moons of the year, tied to natural phenomena that reliably occurred alongside them. February is a snowy month in the northern and eastern US; hence the full “snow” moon.

The moon rise last night happened at 6:06 pm, but it didn’t rise above the hill that blocked its view until 6:50 pm.  The moon had been full 7 hours previously, so the moon that rose wasn’t completely full.

The Almost-Full Snow Moon

Four minutes later the moon had risen a little higher in the sky.

The Almost-Full Snow Moon

It was a bit chilly last evening, waiting for the moon to rise over the hill so I could see it! I had enough of the cold, so I didn’t wait for the moon to rise above the tree!

The snow moon was followed by a snowy day.

Snowy day

Currently there is a winter weather advisory in effect until 6:00 am tomorrow morning.  Mixed precipitation is expected. Total snow and sleet accumulations of 1 to 3 inches and ice accumulations of up to one tenth of an inch are expected. Snow fell during the late morning and is expected to continue through mid afternoon.  The snow is expected to change to sleet by late afternoon, then over to lighter freezing rain this evening.

Front Royal, VA to Waynesboro, VA via Skyline Drive

We spent the week of May 14th on vacation in Virginia and North Carolina.  Earlier this week I uploaded a blog post about the first day of our vacation.  This blog post provides details and photographs of our second day of vacation.

We checked out of the Quality Inn Skyline Drive on Monday, May 15, at 6:20 am, after a complimentary breakfast at the hotel. We drove straightway to Skyline Drive; the north entrance was located within 2 miles of our hotel.  For the next 9 1/2 hours we drove the entire length of Skyline Drive (105 miles), from Front Royal to Rockfish Gap.  We stopped at LOTS of overlooks and hiked the trail to Dark Hollow Falls. Here are some of the photographs that I took at the overlooks.

_LG21346-with_textSignal Knob Overlook
Mile 5.7 Elevation 2,090 feet

From the Signal Knob Overlook you can see Signal Knob, the northernmost peak of Massanutten Mountain.  You can also see the south fork of the Shenandoah River.


_LG21348Gooney Manor Overlook
Mile 7.3 Elevation 1,930 feet

_LG21357Skyline Drive Deer

_LG21363Hogwallow Flats Overlook

_LG21364Hogwallow Flats Overlook
Mile 13.8 Elevation 2,665 feet

_LG21368Browntown Valley Overlook
Look at that moon!

_LG21370Browntown Valley Overlook
Mile 14.9 Elevation 2,890 feet

The view at Browntown Valley Overlook looks straight out across the Browntown Valley to the Massanutten, with Signal Knob at its right-hand end.

_LG21374Range View Overlook
Mile 17.1 Elevation 2,810 feet

From the Range View Overlook you can see Skyline Drive beckoning you on to the next overlook.

IMG_20170515_080818Little Devils Stairs Overlook
(photo by Bob)

_LG21382Little Devils Stairs Overlook
Mile 20.1 Elevation 3,120 feet

_LG21385Hogback Overlook
Mile 21.0 Elevation 3,385 feet

_LG21392Pass Mountain Overlook
Mile 30.1 Elevation 2,460

_LG21398Marys Rock Tunnel
Mile 32.4 Elevation 2,510 feet

_LG21400-HDRMarys Rock Tunnel is 610 feet long; it was blasted through the ridge about 1932.

I found a long, thin waterfall at Marys Rock Tunnel.

Click here in the event you are not able to view the embedded video.

_LG21413Hazel Mountain Overlook
Mile 33.0 Elevation 2,770 feet

Hazel Mountain Overlook
(Photo by Bob)

_LG21417Hazel Mountain Overlook
This was such a serene setting!

_LG21419-PanoPinnacles Overlook panoramic view
Mile 35.1 Elevation 3,320 feet

_LG21433Jewell Hollow Overlook
Mile 36.4 Elevation 3,320 feet

_LG21436Jewell Hollow Overlook

There was a sign at Jewell Hollow Overlook that discussed wall construction.  The sign read: “In the 1930s, stone walls in Shenandoah National Park were built in two styles of masonry: dry-laid and ashlar.  Dry-laid walls,  like those here at Jewell Hollow Overlook, could be built by less-experienced stone workers, like the young men of the CCC, since they require only moving and aligning heavy stones–more muscle than skill…”

_LG21438We saw this pretty Indigo Bunting, while at the Jewell Hollow Overlook.

_LG21442Stony Man Mountain Overlook
Mile 38.6 Elevation 3,100 feet

_LG21443Profile of Stony Man
at the Stony Man Mountain Overlook

Skyland Resort is located at mile marker 41.7 and sits at Skyline Drive’s highest elevation, 3,680 feet.

_LG21448Skyland Overlook
Mile 41.7 Elevation 3,680 feet

IMG_20170515_104711Timber Hollow Overlook
Mile 43.3 Elevation 3,360 feet
(Photo by Bob)

_LG21461Crescent Rock Overlook
Mile 44.4 Elevation 3,550 feet

_LG21457Crescent Rock Overlook

_LG21468Franklin Cliffs Overlook
Mile 49 Elevation 3,140 feet

What can I say about Dark Hollow Falls.  I have hiked the trail to the falls three times.  The first time was with Mom in June 1994.  I was 38 years old at the time; Mom would be 56 years old in a couple months.

Mom and I at Dark Hollow Falls in June 1994.

The second time I hiked the trail to Dark Hollow Falls was with Bob in May 2001.  I was 45 years old at the time.

              Bob and I at Dark Hollow Falls in May 2001

Sixteen years later I hike down that trail once again to the bottom of Dark Hollow Falls.  From the parking lot, which is located at mile marker 50.7 and at an elevation of 3,425 feet, the trail is a round trip of 1.4 miles.  The descent is about 440 feet, which means you have to climb back up from the falls 440 feet!  A trail description states that the time required to make the round trip on this trail is 1 hour and 25 minutes.  

This year the thought of hiking the Dark Hollow Falls trail caused me trepidation.  I had a scare, while at Bushkill Falls earlier in the month. We were hiking around the Main Falls. We planned to do more hiking than that, intending to see more waterfalls than only Main Falls. I got lightheaded, shaky. My breathing was not good. My heart was beating very fast. My chest started to hurt. I sat down on a wooden rail for quite a while, until everything returned to normal. Then we began the climb back to the car. It took a while because I had to make lots of stops.

I had no trouble hiking down the Dark Hollow Falls trail.

Dark Hollow Falls trail
The hiking pole was a great help on this trail.

There were a few small waterfalls along the trail to Dark Hollow Falls.

_LG21472Small waterfall along trail to Dark Hollow Falls

_LG21474Another small waterfall along trail to Dark Hollow Falls

_LG21476One more small waterfall along trail to Dark Hollow Falls

_LG21477Dark Hollow Falls Trail
This part of the trail was bad enough going down; I wasn’t looking forward to the upward climb!

Dark Hollow Falls

Dark Hollow Falls
(photo by Bob)

Will I ever see Dark Hollow Falls again?  I hope so, but I told Bob that this may be my last visit to the falls.

I took it very slow on the climb back up the trail, resting frequently. Thankfully I never experienced what I did at Bushkill Falls, while hiking the Dark Hollow Falls trail. But, man was I exhausted from that hike. Toward the end I began to feel quite weak from low sugar, I think, as we had not had anything to eat since 6:00 am. I mentioned earlier that a trail description stated that the time required to make the round trip on this trail is 1 hour and 25 minutes.  It took us about 2 hours to make the round trip…not bad considering all the stops I made.

Less than a mile south of the Dark Hollow Falls parking lot is Big Meadow.  We ate a picnic lunch (Bumble Bee meat spread and crackers and pineapple) at Big Meadow. We also bought Blackberry ice cream (for me) and peanut butter pie (for Bob) for dessert. I believe the blackberry ice cream is available only on Skyline Drive. It is the only place I have had that ice cream flavor. When we planned our drive to Maggie Valley, via Skyline Drive, blackberry ice cream and a Shenandoah National Park t-shirt were on my list of must-haves. In addition to the ice cream, I purchased THREE t-shirts.

It was 2:10 pm, when we continued our trip south on Skyline Drive. It wasn’t long afterward that I began to feel motion sickness. Bob parked the car at an overlook. We reclined the front seats for “20 winks”. I think Bob needed a rest, as he fell asleep for a short long time. As for me, I wasn’t feeling any better. I ended up throwing up the ice cream and pineapple that I had for lunch. I felt better, after throwing up.

We exited Skyline Drive at 4:10 pm. We didn’t make any other photo op stops at any outlooks past Big Meadow.

About a mile from our hotel we stopped at a car wash in Waynesboro. The car needed a bath, as it was covered with pollen dust and a bird had crapped on the hood.

We checked into Best Western Waynesboro around 5:00 pm. Our room number was Room 414. It was a very nice room, a two queen bed suite. The sitting area, with its couch, two comfy chairs, one end table and a coffee table, was quite nice. The living and sleeping areas were separated by a half wall.

At 6:00 pm we drove to a nearby Outback Steakhouse for dinner. Bob ordered steak; I ordered chicken fingers, which Bob helped me eat.  My stomach seemed to have settled; dinner didn’t upset it further.

After dinner we watched an episode of “Elementary” on Hulu.

We went to bed around 9:30 pm.


Easter Vacation in Virginia – Day 3: The Evening Hours

Continuing on with blog posts about our Easter vacation in Virginia, today’s blog post concludes Day 3 of our vacation.

During the evening hours of Day 3 (April 4), we stayed in our hotel room and watched TV (“House of Cards” on Netflix and “Bones” on Hulu Plus), read, surfed the Internet, watched the seagulls and beach activity from our balcony, and checked in on Facebook from time to time.  I did take a short walk on the beach to capture some photographs of the waves,

I love the lighting of the waves!

I liked how the setting sun added a golden glow to everything.

Seagull coming in for a landing

Our hotel

As I was leaving the beach and returning to the hotel, I happened to notice Bob standing on our hotel room balcony.  As I mentioned in previous blog posts, our hotel room was on the 8th floor of the Best Western Oceanfront.  You can see Bob standing on the balcony of the room in the middle along on the top row.

I had hoped to be able to see the full moon rise.  I wasn’t disappointed.

April’s full moon is named the pink full moon, aptly so.  What a beautiful sight!

After watching the moon rise, we packed and prepared for our morning departure.  Our time in Virginia Beach was almost over.  Our vacation, though, still had time remaining.

Next stop:  Chincoteague Island, VA.

Weekend in Ohio – Days 3 and 4

September 7th was our last full day in Ohio.  Bob and I were showered, dressed and standing on “Top -o- World” by 6:50 am.

Top -o- World at
Whispering Hills Jellystone Park Camp-Resort
(photograph taken the day before)

We watched the sunrise together at 7:01 am.

The humidity and cool temperature (49 degrees!) added fog to the air.
The sunrise with fog was very pretty indeed!


Bob and I ate breakfast at the campground cafe. We ordered 2 egg cheese omelets with diced ham, home fries, toast and sausage. Orange juice and tea/coffee were complimentary. Breakfast was reasonably priced and very good.  After breakfast Bob and I walked to the West Terrace to say goodbye to our VROC friends. Everyone, except Mike, had already departed. Mike said we missed everyone else by 10 minutes. We said goodbye to Mike. Then we hopped on our motorcycle and went for a ride.

What beautiful countryside to ride in!

 We rode to Mohican State Park, near Loudonville OH.  We saw a fire tower, a covered bridge, a gorge overlook and a memorial shrine to Ohio’s deceased veterans.

According to the Mohican State Park website,
this is one of the last remaining fire towers in Ohio.

The Mohican Covered Bridge crosses over the Clearfork River.

Clearfork River

Clear Fork Gorge
The view from this overlook would be spectacular in the Autumn!

Memorial Shrine to Ohio’s Deceased Veterans

This shrine houses records of all of the names of Ohioans who lost their lives in all wars and conflicts. Printed books are available to look through, and hand written books containing all of the names are displayed under glass.

Leaving Mohican State Park we rode west and ended up in Bellville OH.  We ate lunch in Bellville at K.C.’s Steak & Ribs. Bob ordered a steak salad. I ordered grilled chicken. For dessert we shared a chocolate chip Cakie (a cookie and cake combination).  If we are ever in the Bellville area, we would definitely eat at K.C.’s again.  The food, service and ambiance were very good.

After lunch we began the ride back to the Whispering Hills Jellystone Park Camp-Resort . We made two stops on our way back to the campground.

Nice-looking barn!

This barn is located about half way between Bellville and Butler on Ohio State Route 97.  We passed by the barn on our way to Bellville.  When I realized that we would be passing by the barn again on our way back to the campground, I watched for it.  I asked Bob to stop so that I could take a picture.

Before we departed Bellville, Bob had programmed our route into the GPS.  He must have forgotten to instruct the GPS not to take us on dirt / gravel roads.

Riding Down Crooked Road, south of Butler OH

On Saturday, during the group ride with our VROC friends, I caught glimpse of a covered bridge. I made a mental note of the location,of that bridge. Bob and I found the “Bridge of Dreams” covered bridge during our ride.

Bridge of Dreams
located near Brinkhaven, OH

The Bridge of Dreams is 370 feet long and spans the Mohican River.  It is the second longest covered bridge in Ohio after the Smolen-Gulf Bridge, and third longest covered bridge in the United States.

The Bridge of Dreams is closed to motorized traffic but is often used by Amish buggies.  In fact, while we were at the river’s edge looking up at the bridge, we heard an Amish buggy crossing overhead.  I would have loved to capture a photograph of an Amish buggy crossing this bridge!

We planned to eat dinner at the campground cafe, same as the night before. Our plans changed, though, when I discovered that the kitchen and camp office/store closed at 4:00 pm. We ate dinner at East of Chicago in Shreve, located about 3 miles from the campground. Bob ordered a buffalo chicken salad. I ordered a personal size pizza with pepperoni and a side salad. The food was good.

The moon was almost full our last night in Ohio.
We were able to see it from our cabin’s porch swing.


The next day we departed Whispering Hills Jellystone Park Camp-Resort, en route home, at 7:20 am. Our first stop was an hour later on U.S. Route 62 near Canton OH.  We stopped for breakfast at Bob Evans Restaurant.  We made it home around 1:30 pm.   What a wonderful weekend we had!

Easter Vacation – Day 4 of 5: McConnells Mill State Park

On the fourth day of our Easter vacation we drove from Waynesboro VA to Grove City PA.

Approximately 20 miles before we reached Grove City, we stopped at McConnells Mill State Park.   The gristmill for which McConnells Mill State Park is named sits along Slippery Rock Creek.  It was one of the first rolling mills in the country.  The gristmill processed corn, oats, wheat and buckwheat for local customers.

We walked through the covered bridge to the other side of Slippery Rock Creek.

McConnells Mill

I like the view of the mill from across the creek on the far side of the covered bridge. I wish someone would trim the tree branches that cross in front of the mill!  I would love to take a photograph of the mill without the tree branches obstructing the view.  I considered jumping over the guard rail and climbing down to Slippery Rock Creek,  but I decided the climb down was too treacherous for me.  I do not walk well on rocks, being very unsteady on my feet.

We did follow a trail to the right of the covered bridge, which led to the rocky bank of Slippery Rock Creek.  With Bob’s help, I was able to walk on some rocks into the creek basin.

While standing on a rocky ledge, I was able to capture a photograph of the covered bridge from a new (to me) perspective.

With my confidence at a high, owing to the fact that I was able to walk on some rocks, we climbed back up the hill and crossed through the covered bridge to the other side of Slippery Rock Creek.  We followed a trail on that side of the creek, until we found some rocks that I thought I would be able to walk out on to.  Again, with Bob’s help, I walked across some rocks to the creek basin.

Bob took this picture of me photographing the covered bridge.

Here are a couple photographs of the covered bridge that I captured from this side of Slippery Rock Creek.  Again, these photographs of the covered bridge were taken from a new (to me) perspective.

McConnells Mill Covered Bridge

We followed the trail back to the gristmill.

This was the last photograph that I took before leaving the state park en route to our hotel in Grove City.  It was not, however, the last photograph that I took at McConnells Mill State Park while on our Easter vacation.
The next morning, after checking out of our hotel, we returned to the park.  The morning light provided more photo opportunities for photographing the gristmill and covered bridge from the dam side of Slippery Rock Creek.

It was approximately 7:30 AM, when we returned to McConnells Mill State Park.

For the next hour or so, while waiting for the sun to get higher in the sky, I entertained myself by taking photographs of the moon, of Bob and of the reflections in the water.

The Moon



The Moon



At 8:51 AM my wait paid off.

My next blog post will continue what I began sharing here — day 5 of our Easter vacation.

Our Outer Banks 2013 Vacation: Day 5

Bob and I visited two lighthouses on Thursday, September 19th.  Before sharing photographs from our visit to the lighthouses, though, I have to share these two sunrise pictures.

Sunrise South Nags Head Beach

Sunrise South Nags Head Beach

What a gorgeous sunrise we had that morning.  I had never personally witnessed such a beautiful sunrise!

The first lighthouse we visited was Bodie Island Lighthouse.  This lighthouse was located only 2 miles from the beach house at which we were staying.  In fact we could see the lighthouse from the south side of our ocean-front deck.

We hadn’t seen Bodie Island Lighthouse since 2007.  Scaffolding covered the lighthouse during our Outer Banks vacation last year.  The lighthouse looks brand new.

Bodie Island Lighthouse

A new-to-us boardwalk (the boardwalk was laid in 2009) provides great views of the lighthouse.

Bob and I at overlook at end of boardwalk

Bodie Island Lighthouse and Boardwalk

The second lighthouse that we visited was Currituck Lighthouse.  This lighthouse is located north of Nags Head, about an hour’s drive from where we were staying.

Currituck Beach Lighthouse

After “lunch”, which was a peanut buster parfait at Dairy Queen, we stopped at Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head.  The park contains the tallest natural sand dune system in the Eastern United States.

A boardwalk is located near the parking lot.   Interpretive displays along the boardwalk offer information about the plants and animals in the area.


We walked to the end of the boardwalk, where we found a deck with a bench with a great view of the dunes.  From the deck there were steps that led to the sand.  Bob climbed the sand dune to Jockey’s Ridge, where he enjoyed a wonderful view of the surrounding area.

Bob walking to Jockey’s Ridge

jockey'sBob took this picture of the view from atop Jockey’s Ridge.

Bob took this picture on his way back to the boardwalk.
See the deck in the distance?

I opened this blog post with two gorgeous sunrise pictures.  Not to be outdone, the moon put on a spectacular show in the evening!

Full Moon Shining on Ocean Waters

Our Outer Banks 2013 Vacation: Day 4

We did not wander far from our Outer Banks vacation home on Wednesday, September 18th.

That morning Bob and I went to Roanoke Island.  We stopped along the waterfront in Manteo.  I walked along the waterfront, taking photographs of the lighthouse and other points of interest, while Bob waited at the gazebo.

Roanoke Marshes Lighthouse
and the gazebo where Bob relaxed while I was taking pictures

Spirit of Roanoke Island

Elizabeth II 16th Century Representative Ship

This ship is anchored at Roanoke Island Festival Park,  located across from the Manteo waterfront.  We have not visited this park during our three Outer Bank vacations.  It doesn’t appear that an opportunity to visit the park will come anytime soon, as we are not planning another vacation at the Outer Banks in the near future.

The Sea Gypsy IV provides a pirate adventure for children.

From the Manteo waterfront we continued along Route 64 to The Elizabethan Gardens.  The Elizabethan Gardens was created to honor the first English colonists who lived on these shores.  We spent a couple hours there exploring the gardens, statuary and fountains.

The Gatehouse was designed to resemble a 16th-century orangery.  It was built with handmade bricks from the Silas Lucas kiln in Wilson, NC.

Pineapple Fountain

Queen Elizabeth I Statue

American sculptor Maria Louisa Lander carved this statue in Rome, depicting how Virginia Dare may have looked as a grown woman.

The Colony Walk honors the famed lost colonists who trod these same sandy shores.  The walk ends at a Water Gate.

This 16th-century Gazebo replica was constructed with period tools and techniques.  The reeds for the thatched roof came from Norfolk, England.

the Sunken Garden

Jupiter, ruler of all gods

This is one of four statues in the Sunken Gardens.  The other three statues represent Apollo, Diana and Venus.  All four statues are from the Whitney collection.  I didn’t take pictures of the other statues, as their faces have fallen off.

The central focal point of the Sunken Garden is the ancient Italian fountain and pool with carved balustrade from the Whitney collection.


A closer look at the ancient Italian fountain

These four statues were in Woodland Garden.


In the center of Woodland Garden was this fountain.


We sat and listened to the falling water for several minutes.  It was very relaxing and peaceful in Woodland Garden.

The Lion Couchant Birdbath sits atop a column with a reclining lion at its base.  Cherubs and other decorative elements adorn the bowl.


In the afternoon, back at our vacation home in Nags Head, I went for a walk on the beach.  I met a nice young man by the name of James.  He is a lifeguard who rides a 4 wheeler up and down the beach.  I took a picture of him a ways down the beach.  He saw me taking his picture.  He turned around and asked if I had taken his picture.  I said yes and showed the picture to him.  He asked if I would take a picture of him by the no swimming sign and email it to him.

This is the picture that I took of James, which I did email to him.  The “no swimming” sign was up for several days during our Outer Banks vacation.   No swimming was permitted as the sea was rough.  You will see in a later post, though, that the sign did not deter surfers.



Full Moon shining on ocean waters

The moon was so lovely this evening.  Words cannot describe how beautiful it was to see the moon light shining on the ocean waters.

Ocean waters lit up by full moon

Stay tuned; more posts about our vacation in the Outer Banks will be forthcoming.

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