Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Mountain Trip!

"Your righteousness is like the great mountains; Your judgments are a great deep; O LORD, You preserve man and beast."
Psalm 36:6
Yes, I know I've been blog-absent for awhile.  The Lord has brought lots of different photography opportunities into my life and that must come first (before the blog, that is!)  So, thank you all for your patience in my extremely slow updating!  But to the mountain trip...

Thursday, October 28th we went up to the Blue Ridge Mountains!  For a week or so we had looked up potential waterfalls to hike to and we decided that Panther Falls sounded like fun!  It was beautiful, an approximately 1 mile  round-trip hike that was described as "easy".  So, that was where we went!

Eden enjoying the car ride!

Of course, we were well-stocked with books....the Bible and G.A. Henty's!  Hannah finished one entire book to and from the mountains that day! :) 

Daddy had found some directions on how to get to Panther Falls and he entered something into his GPS and it took us there safe and sound!  After a few hours of driving, he suddenly slowed down and turned down this steep, gravel road. It was over 5 miles in length, and we had to drive along slowly or risk diving off the edge of a cliff, so we had lots of extra reading time!

The directions Daddy had received from the internet said to go to the entrance 31C.  The waterfall book we used to find out about Panther Falls said to take 31A.  So, we tried 31C and came to a court that had 4 or 5 campers/RV's parked in a circle (no humans were sighted).  One of the campers didn't look very friendly (more about that later).  A little further away from the "campsite" were two trails with gates blocking the way that said "Road Closed."  So we decided to try 31A.  Along the road there was a little waterfall, so we decided to stop and explore for a little bit before trying to find the big waterfall! :) 

Seth demonstrating the size of the waterfall.

The little waterfall was actually more extensive than we had thought it was going to be.  It was quite pretty! :)

Daddy and Lydia walking through the woods.

There was a fairly obvious trail along the waterfall's edge, so it made exploring easier!  ;)

Daddy and Lydia standing right above the waterfall.

My dear Mama holding Lydia.

As you can see, the trees were very colorful (the Lord answered our prayers!).

The little waterfall.

Judah even emerged from the warm van to experience the mountains for himself.  I'll let you guess what he thought! :)

The sun was shining so brilliantly through the trees that day...it was so beautiful and peaceful.

While us less adventurous ones were admiring the little waterfall, the boys and Daddy had already found the bigger, more extensive part of the waterfall! :)

Daddy modeling for you. :)
In this photo, Daddy was actually sitting on a dead tree suspended over a pool of freezing cold water.  :)  He managed to get back to dry land with only a little boot wetting!


I absolutely love waterfalls!  What is there to not like about them?

There's a full photo of the more extensive part of the waterfall.

After exploring for around 30 minutes we went back to the car to try and find Panther Falls!

This was the little gravel road we traveled on.  Thankfully we only met one truck coming back up the road as we were going down...the road wasn't wide enough for 2 vehicles!

We made it to 31A and parked our van.  Then we got out and prepared to go hiking!  There were two trails with two more gates that both said "Road Closed" on it.  We think that the roads were only closed to vehicles and not to humans because there was more than enough room for people to go around the gates (on both sides).  
There also was a billboard at the beginning of the trails detailing how to behave on the hike.  It was sort of funny because it said it's best to limit your group size to no more than the optimum number of 6...we already were 5 people over the "suggested group size" and we're just one family! :)  Kind of funny!

There's proof that what I said was true! :)

The billboard also had a paper stating the last date of someone dying at the Falls...such a comforting thought to begin your hike with! :)

Caleb's all ready for the hike!

As you may have been able to tell, a good number of us were wearing short sleeves.  It really was a beautiful day and it was only chilly as the sun disappeared.

Our family was ready for anything.  Flashlights in case of sudden darkness and...

water to quench our thirst! :)

Reading the billboard.

You may have noticed that I have lots of pictures of the sun shining through the trees in this post.  Well, I was all excited because I had just figured out that if you set your shutter speed to around 1/10 of a second it makes the sun look more like a star instead of a useless orb.  I was very excited! :)

So, we began our hike.  We decided to take the trail to the left of the billboard first.  It was actually a beautiful hike and it was all downhill (it wasn't quite as nice coming back up, though!).  Most of us enjoyed the hike except for one person...

He actually didn't do this bad at all, he just wasn't happy with the idea of being in the position he was in at the moment! 

Lydia loves taking pictures (she's been known for stealing cameras), so she was enjoying the chance to take a picture of Lexi! :)

I just have to say it...Hannah, you're beautiful! :)
Okay, there, I got it out! :)

Aren't these rocks neat?  Eden found them at the bottom of the trail!

At what I refer to as "the bottom of the trail" was actually the bottom of the mountain.  There was no more walking downhill, just flat ground.  We found a little trail to the right of us and it was river-front - a perfect place for a picnic!

The river here was absolutely gorgeous.  I know I keep saying "gorgeous" and "beautiful" but everything was exactly that! :)

What's better than a gorgeous river and a handsome brother? ;)

Like I said...gorgeous river...handsome brother...

Lexi found this interesting root system and wanted me to take a photo of her by it! :)

Does anyone want to guess where Lexi is?
She's right here....

On a tree, above the river.

I guess Daddy thought the water wasn't too cold!  :)

Josiah eating lunch! :)

This is what we call a "crawdad."  They don't look as nice when you see their pinchers! :) [This is why Daddy had entered the river...he wanted to find some crawdads for us!]

Isn't it beautiful!?
(For all those photographers out there, I used a 1/10 of a second shutter speed, which makes the water look as if it were moving.  If you use higher shutter speeds like 1/300 of a second it just freezes the water and it doesn't give an idea of the water's movement.  Just a quick tip! :)

Our picnic site was very beautiful and scenic...we had no chairs to sit in for lunch so we used the towels we had brought, just in case we had decided to swim in the river! :)

Another view of the crawdad! :)

After lunch, we continued walking down the wide, scenic trail.  I then took Judah and Hannah took my camera so the next 5 pictures are courtesy of Hannah! :)

 Judah and I.

Lexi found this tree stump that looked like a chair...it was pretty neat! :)

This picture was completely Hannah's idea.  She saw the rock and told Mama and Daddy to kiss so she could get their shadows reflected on the rock.  Not bad, Hannah! :)

Judah-man enjoying the beautiful day.  

Judah really was being super good for us at this time.  He just loved being held and wrapped up tightly in a blanket.  I'm sure that the peacefulness of his surroundings also contributed to his contented mood! :)

After walking down the trial for a little while, we came to a dead end.  The trail suddenly ended in a circle and then the rest of the woods were covered in tall weeds.  So, we decided to go back and try the other gate.  (Daddy and the boys did go through the tall weeds to look for the waterfall, but they didn't see it.)

Going back up the mountain!

Once we made it to the van, we went up the other trail and after walking for a little bit, we came upon a huge clearing at the top.  This was more like the books' description of what the trail was going to look like.  But, the book also said that there would be a gate after the clearing and to go on that trail and you would find the waterfall.  Well, to make a long story short, we never found the gate (or the waterfall, for that matter).  We walked around in circles trying to find the gate.  Walking in circles at that moment didn't bother me, because I was just enjoying the beautiful photographic opportunities! :)

Hannah and Weedels.

Isn't this tree beautiful?

The maple tree has become my favorite tree now!  I absolutely love the vibrant yellows and oranges that bathe a Maple tree in the Fall!!!!  I'm thinking that if we ever buy some more land that is clear and flat, I"m going to plant 4, 5, maybe even more, maple trees (with Daddy's permission of course ;)!  It would make such a lovely picture spot! :)

My brothers look like they're tired of smiling for me....except for Seth...I like that smile! :)

Seth and some bark. super exciting!!!!

Lydia playing with a stick.

As we were walking around, we found that to the left of the clearing were some old campsites.  We would find circles of stones with charred wood in the middle.  The woods here were cleared out, leaving only the big trees, so it was obviously a fairly popular campsite at some time.

Lydia and a pine cone.

(I call Hannah, Banana....it's just an endearing name...really! :)


Okay, so after walking in circles we decided to go back to 31C and try one of the gates and trails there, before the sun went down.

We went back to the little circle of campers and RV's and Daddy parked the van.  He then took Caleb, Seth, and Lexi down one trail with him to see if he could find the waterfall.  Meanwhile, everyone else stayed in the van.  I was sitting in the back seat and we just happened to park in full view of this green camper:

The camper looks harmless enough but it had some freaky slogans inscribed on it.  My personal favorite was "One Shot, One Kill."  (Anybody want to guess if this person likes muzzle loaders?)  Nothing like going hiking in the mountains with the knowledge that some person who likes to kill things could be near you! :)  The camper also had "Sniper" written on it along with some other things I can't repeat on here. :)

So, yeah.  That camper was what I got to sit with my back turned to.  Not a very comforting thought but I managed to try and forget about it (another advantage of a good book!)! :)

Lexi and Seth were soon seen returning back up the trail.  They told us that Daddy wanted us to come down and play in the water a little bit.  So we all piled out to go down the trail, but before we went I took a few quick pictures of mi familia.



Lydia is the biggest chatterbox in the world.  As you can tell from the picture she has tons of personality.  It's so cute and funny, though at times you just wish she'd stop talking.  Even though she's 2 she talks constantly...and she knows when you aren't really listening so she repeats it again, and again, and again, and again, until you acknowledge her and repeat what she's told you 10 times already.  She's so precious and our family wouldn't be complete without her! :)


My dear Mama.


Daddy and Caleb had stayed down in the woods, so they weren't present to get their pictures taken (much to their chagrin, I'm sure! :).

We made it down the trail, and Daddy helped us down to the side of the river.

Daddy and Caleb had went jogging up the riverside as they waited for us to come down.  They were trying, one last time, to see if they could find the waterfall.  Still, no success...all they saw was water and rocks.

So, we decided to give up the search for the mysterious waterfall, and just to enjoy the last hour or so of daylight that remained.

This splash was from Seth throwing rocks into the water.

Most of the family members took their socks off and rolled up their pants and entered the freezing water.  I was going to, but I decided not to.  I stayed and took pictures instead.

A neat rock Seth found.

Lydia was the cutest little thing when she was in the water.  First she shivered and then she pulled her arms tightly to her body and smiled so cute.  It was absolutely adorable.

See what I mean?
We asked her a few times if she was okay but she was enjoying the water too much to want to get out.  :)

Before everyone managed to get really wet and sandy (there was some sand beside a part of the river) we got everyone together to get a family photo:

Voila! :)
I was planning on using this photo for Christmas cards or something but we all don't match and the scenery isn't as pretty as it could be...so I'll have to try again! :)

After the picture, everyone went back to playing.

The line of shoes and socks of various little ones who were enjoying the water.

Here are two crawdads for you.  The one on the left is, obviously, much bigger than the one on the right.  My siblings wanted me to take a picture of them so I could show you the size difference.

The big crawdad in the water.
This picture is supposed to be vertical, but oh well.
After this, it was starting to grow dark so everyone dried off as best they could (no one went swimming, they all just waded and rarely went above their knees) and then put their socks and shoes back on.  Daddy went up to sit on a log that was over the river as this was going on, so he could put his socks back on, and he eventually dropped one.  Daddy let out a manly uurgghh and Lexi went running to catch his sock as it drifted downstream.  It was kinda' funny! :)

We then trekked back up the trail to our van and some of us changed our wet clothes for some new, dry ones.  (Mama is always thinking ahead!)

When everyone was changed and dry, Daddy decided to take us to another waterfall that was nearby.  The thing about this waterfall was that it was right by the road, so all we had to do was park and get out to see it.  It was also only about 5 miles away from where we were, so we decided to go! :)

We reached the waterfall right as the sun was sinking down (it was mostly gone) so we scrambled out and ran across the road to the waterfall.  It was an absolutely beautiful waterfall!  It went from a bubbling creek to a gushing waterfall and it was amazing.  I only wish we had more daylight left to enjoy it!!

Hannah sitting right next to the waterfall.

The rocks beside the waterfall were fairly flat and even, so we could get within inches of the water.  It was so beautiful! :)

Lydia sitting by the waterfall.

It now was bitterly cold, so most of the family didn't stay out long.
Daddy soon found a way down to some rocks where I could get some photos of the waterfall, at a better angle.  Getting to where Daddy was required walking along a slippery trail, crossing a log that was over some of the water and going from the log, over the water, to a rock.  I was nervous to be doing stuff like that with my camera but Daddy soon took the camera from me and held it for me, so I could get across safely, without wondering what shape my camera was in! :)

I made it to the rocks safely and took some waterfall photos!

Isn't it beautiful?  
This was only part of the waterfall.  After the pool at the bottom of this waterfall, the water ran down some more rocks and continued down the mountainside, spurting and gushing everywhere.  I love waterfalls! :)

After some photos of the big waterfall Daddy and I crept down the rocks to the steeper part of the waterfall.  We stayed real close to the rocks and Daddy helped me, so together we made it to within inches of the waterfall, without slipping. 

This gives you an idea of how steep the rocks were here.  It was a little freaky being so close to falling off, but so neat to be next to the waterfall! :)  Plus, I had my Daddy there making sure I didn't fall.
Once the sun was gone, darkness fell quickly and we made our way back up to the van and then drove to the nearest Outback Steakhouse.

Dinner was so yummy!!  I had the chicken with bacon and cheese on top and it was awesome!  I also had this mixed berry tea that was really yummy!  The disappointing thing about the whole dinner was that they automatically added the tip onto our charge and the tip was over $20.  Daddy doesn't mind leaving tips it's just annoying when your credit card is charged over $20 without you having any say in it...just because we were a "big party."  (8 is the number of people were they start this automatic gratuity stuff.)

Anyways, after eating we went back to the and headed for home.

 Reading Narnia to Seth and Eden.

We got home fairly late and we all went to bed as soon as we could! :)


I think I told you that my uncle's wedding was this past Saturday.  Well, it went really well!  The update will come whenever I get time to post it! :)


One more quick thing, some of us have colds and we'd appreciate any prayers that you could offer up on our behalf.  It's amazing how much we take good health for granted! :)
Delighting in Jesus,
Kimber :)


  1. Glad you guys had a good time! Sounds like it was fun! I'll be praying for you all (regardless of if you have colds or not). I can't wait to see you all again. Well, I really need to go to bed, I'm brushing my teeth while writing this!

    Love and Blessings,

  2. Kimber,

    Glad you had such a great time in the mountains! I was driving through the mountains last week and this is the time that they're so beautiful! The leaves are just stunning! I've gone backpacking in them, camping trips, hikes :) Great mountains! Glad you had fun!


  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

  4. Great post, Kimber! Beautiful pictures of a beautiful family and of God's incredible creation!