Below are some things I've seen over the past few years without having to travel very far. Mainly stuff within a couple of hundred miles of home. We live here in the Piedmont so a relatively short drive east takes us to the coastal plains, and about the same distance west will find us in the Carolina high country. So we've been able to vacation in some really neat spots without having to travel a great distance. Whatever shortcomings the South has, at least it does contain a variety of geography.
Here's something I never would have guess I'd someday witness. The return of the elk to the Appalachian Mountains. This is part of the herd that now makes its home in Cataloochee, in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Now several hundred strong, and growing.
One part of South Carolina that I absolutely loathe is Myrtle Beach. I've never been able to understand its appeal to so many. I hate the place. However, some miles south of that hideous town is Huntington Beach State Park. It's a gorgeous spot and relatively unspoiled. Here's a view in one of the picnic areas on the land side of the dunes, complete with shady cedar tree.
This is one half of the twin summit of Sam's Knob. Sam's Knob is one of my favorite mountains. It's one of our sixers and stands in at 6,040 feet above sea level. It's also one of the most easily accessible sixers and offers unimpeded views from its treeless summit. It's one of the few places in the North Carolina highlands that I keep visiting every year. I really like it there.
I love hiking around on exposed rock. We really don't have much of that type of territory here in the south, so what we do have seems unique. I took this self-portrait a few years ago on Stone Mountain...not the one in Georgia, but the one here in North Carolina. I can get there in about one and three-quarters hours of moderate driving.
I took this one on a kayak trip Carole and I made on the Blackwater River in South Carolina. This is the trip we took when we realized that we enjoyed kayaking more than canoeing. We have yet to buy kayaks, though, and still paddle around in our canoe.
I took this one several Christmases ago in one of the Mast General Stores. I forget which one this is--but I think it's the one near Boone. I like those stores and I've bought several items there for my hiking lifestyle. I've purchased a number of pairs of boots there.
Sometimes I like to go bushwhacking. I don't do that as often as I once did because Carole is deathly afraid I'll get killt way off trail never be located and my body will just lie lost there and rot and my bones will be chew toys for coyotes and mice and such. But I still do some off trail hiking from time to time. This was a self-portrait a few years ago on a mountain called Stony Knob. Despite its name, it was very un-stony looking. But it was a great place to nap in the leaves and take it easy after a long hike.
The writing went well today. I produced over 2100 words on the new novel. I'm once more slightly ahead of schedule.
Call it what it is: MURDER.