Thursday, August 1, 2013

Heading to the mountains

We are getting ready to head up to the mountains for a week.  The weather here has been rainy and humid.  The wind that has been blowing since mid-February has become calm which adds to the feeling that the dog days of summer are here.  The forecast for the mountains looks to be chilly at night with the highs for the day around 70.  I can tell you that will be a welcome respite from what we have been experiencing lately.

I am taking along photography gear, of course.  There will be new terrain to photograph and hopefully some waterfalls will provide interesting and beautiful photos.  Hiking, relaxing and visiting sites in the area are definitely something we want to do as well.

Although I live on the coast and consider myself a coastal person, I do like the old Smoky Mountains for their weather beaten beauty.  I haven't hiked in the Rockies so I know that I would like their spectacular majesty as well.  There is something about the Smokies though that brings back many good memories of childhood vacations--a chance to get away from the coast and get into some cool, crisp air.

And their geology is fascinating.  Here is a summary from the National Park Service:
Between about 310 and 245 million years ago, the eastern edge of the North American tectonic plate collided with the African tectonic plate becoming part of a "supercontinent" known as Pangaea. Continental collisions take place at a rate of a few inches per year over many millions of years and are the result of continuing global-scale plate tectonics. Evidence of earlier plate tectonic geologic events are found in rocks of the Great Smoky Mountains, attesting to an incredibly long and active geologic history in this area. During one of these earlier continental collisions, tremendous pressures and heat were generated, which changed or "metamorphosed" the Smokies sedimentary rocks. 

The last great episode of mountain building uplifted the entire Appalachian mountain chain from Newfound-land, Canada to Alabama. These mountains probably were much higher than today, with elevations similar to today's Rockies. As the African tectonic plate gradually pushed against the edge of the North American plate, the original horizontal layers of the rocks were bent or folded and broken by faults. Huge masses of older, deeply buried rocks were pushed northwestward, up and over younger rocks along a large, nearly flat-lying thrust fault, known as the Great Smoky Fault. 

Following this final episode of Appalachian mountain building, the supercontinent of Pangaea broke apart, and the North American and African tectonic plates gradually moved to their present position. The new rugged highlands, the ancient ancestors of the Smokies, were subjected to intense erosion from ice, wind, and water. As mountain valleys were carved, tremendous quantities of eroded sediment were transported toward the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico by rivers and streams. 

As the mountains were worn down, the layers of rock most resistant to erosion were left to form the highest peaks in the Smokies........ Most of the beautiful waterfalls in the park were formed where downcutting streams encountered ledges of very resistant metasandstone that erodes more slowly than the adjacent slate or metasiltstone. Today, geologists estimate that the mountains are being eroded about two inches every thousand years.

Several of you asked about the movie that we saw.  It was Kon Tiki and was excellent.  I read the book many years ago and saw the old documentary film at some point when I was a child.  But this newly released movie is really worth seeing.  What an adventure to travel nearly 5000 miles on a raft! I could feel an urge to do something similar with my boat.  And there may be an opportunity for me to sail from the Dominican Republic back to SC later this fall on a friend's catamaran.  More will be revealed with that adventure.

Not much else is going on, except we are making plans to create an outdoor cooking and dining area in a wooded area near one of the outbuildings.  It will have a stone fireplace, with a wood fired oven, a fire pit, teak furniture, and containers of plants.  We are designing it now and that should provide some interesting DIY opportunities beginning in September, once we are finished with the staging of the parent's home for real estate listing.

So far, we have moved over 70 boxes from their house to a storage unit. Gradually, we will go through those boxes to decide what to sell and what to keep.  Much of what they had are antiques, including china, glassware and collectibles.  It has seemed like an overwhelming task in the beginning, but every day we are making good progress.  In about two weeks, we expect the house will be ready to list.

I have found great comfort in going to meetings and working with those I sponsor.  I have a list of meetings to attend next week.  I enjoy going to meetings out of town and find that most people are friendly and welcoming.  It's another way to practice the principles of the program in my life.

I had an opportunity to do that last week when I had a meetup with about 20 sailors at the marina, taking half the group out on my boat for a two hour sail. We also hosted a group of about 16 photographers from around the area at the house following a photo shoot in the historic village nearby.  Both events went well and gave me an opportunity to socialize with other people with whom I share a common interest. But now, it's nice to know that I don't have any further obligations for a long time.  I can retreat back to some relative solitude and look forward to enjoying time with just the two of us in the weathered mountains.


  1. enjoy man...when i loved in florida, i missed the i miss the ocean....we are heading out right now as well to baltimore for 4-5 days...the city...i miss her too at times...smiles...

    glad you are making progress on the moving stuff too...its not easy but one of those things you have to do...

    and will have to look up that movie...intrigued...

  2. I look forward to your photos. I love the mountains. I am laughing that I suggest you go to see The Heat and you were seeing Kon Tiki. LOL It sounds wonderful. I just watched a Netflix movie called The Way with Martin Sheen about hiking the Camino De Santiago trail in Spain. I loved it. Have a wonderful trip Syd!

  3. Syd, I am so sorry for your loss. The idea of renting storage to give you time to sort through the stuff is a revelation to me. I'm going to tuck that away for the day I have to deal with the loss of my parents. Your trip sounds lovely. Being a resident of the mid-Atlantic, I can understand the desire to flee the humidity. It's so great to have a minute or two to read blogs again. I've missed being here.

  4. I just hope that you and your beloved have a magical time of restorative peace in those beautiful old mountains. You surely deserve it.

  5. I am glad you are moving on and looking forward to good times again. I look forward to seeing your pictures.

  6. Wow- I am sure you will have a wonderful time. A place so beautiful and majestic sounds peaceful. Reminds me of the time I spent in South Dakota and Wyoming. The landscape was so different from Minnesota and it just had a very earthy and spiritual feel to it all. I CANNOT wait to see the pictures. I imagine you will take some great shots with such a neat subject.

  7. I'm looking forward to more gorgeous photography by you.

    I'd also like to thank you for your kind words on my blog. It helps to know someone else going through similar grieving processes, and I am grateful you have shared your story so that I feel less scared and alone as my family goes through ours.

  8. First a word of advice..don't try to pack the sailboat up into the mountains Syd. I guarantee you there will not be enough draft to sail it.

    Yes sir there is plenty of differences between the mountains on the right side of the country from them on the left. Both are great for hiking but the Rockies are a harder climb.

    I am just so glad you and C are finding a way to escape for a week, I just finished my once a decade get out of Detroit. I sat in probably the most quiet camp i have been in, in more than 35 years. Enjoy!

  9. That is a beeyootiful picture of the mountains.
    Thank you for your message about my Uniqueness it gave me quite a lot of pause for thought and I tried to write a proper post in reply, but it's a load of shit so I kept it in draughts...

  10. We have a place in Gatlinburg and we spend every weekend there and any chance we get. We live about 2 hours away and we feel that there is no better place on earth than the Smoky Mountains. If you get a chance hike up to Clingman's Dome on a clear day and you can see for 70 miles in every direction. Enjoy!

  11. I'm glad that you two are getting wawy for some solitude,thats always good.I look forward to the waterfall pictures!

  12. Really awesome to hear that everything is going well. I'm near the Great Smokey Mountains myself so they definitely hold a special spot in my heart. I'm sure you'll have a great time there. Keep up the awesome work bud; definitely inspiring!


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