Turner Falls

On October 10, we went to Turner Falls, Oklahoma with some friends.


We parked in the lot near the entrance and walked. Our first stop was the castle.


The kids seemed to really enjoy climbing around in it. Some of the stairs were steep!

We walked up to the campground above the castle and got our first view of the falls.


Then, we went down to the pool and falls.


There wasn’t a lot of water coming over the falls, but it was still pretty.


We took a trail past the falls, to this quiet pool.


After that, the kids played in the pool by the falls, and we attempted to get to one of the caves but chickened out before we went back home. It was a nice, short trip, and the weather was perfect!

Rahr Oktoberfest 5K

On September 26, I ran the Rahr Oktoberfest 5K for the first time. It was so much fun, and I got a PR! In fact, I was having so much fun that the only photo I took was the one of my watch when I finished. My official time was 32:09. I was surprised I ran that fast, because it was already warm by race time. Instead of a finisher medal, you get a finisher pint glass, which you can fill 3 times. I tried an Oak beer (I didn’t catch the full name), and the Oktoberfest beer. The Oktoberfest was my favorite. There were a lot of people in costume, but I wasn’t one of them – maybe next year. We’ve already decided we must run this 5K again next year.

North Carolina Vacation – Waterfalls

I love waterfalls! I love taking photos of waterfalls! So, our last day in Asheville, we visited waterfalls. We drove to Whitewater Falls, near the South Carolina border.

It is a short hike from the parking lot to Upper Whitewater Falls.

The best vantage point requires that you climb down some stairs, so, of course, you also have to climb back up the stairs.

I had never visited South Carolina, so, in my quest to visit all 50 states, we drove across the border to hike to Lower Whitewater Falls. While driving to the parking lot for the trail, this deer ran across in front of us and paused long enough for me to snap a photo.

We actually missed the parking lot at first, and ended up at a viewpoint for Lake Jocassee.

Most of the trail is through trees, so you don’t see much scenery. But, you do cross the Whitewater River.

At one point, the trail follows a gravel road for a bit, and then it’s back into the trees and down to the falls viewing area.

Here’s a close-up view of the top of the falls.

According to my phone, we hiked 4.21 miles out and back.

After driving back into North Carolina, we stopped at Bridal Veil Falls.

And, then, a short drive away, we stopped at Dry Falls.
Dry Falls, NC

Dry Falls was my favorite, because you can walk behind it and stay “dry”, even though it involved more stairs.
Dry Falls, NC

According to my FitBit, this day was 7.09 miles and 129 floors.

Since I haven’t mentioned food for this trip. Our favorites were Central BBQ in Memphis (The brisket nachos and pork ribs were delicious!) and Moe’s Original BBQ in Asheville. We found Moe’s the first time we were in Asheville. This trip, we picked up food from Moe’s twice and had leftovers for lunch one day.

North Carolina Vacation – Blue Ridge Parkway

On our second full day in Asheville, we drove southwest on the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was cool and cloudy. We stopped at most of the overlooks.

We left the parkway for a quick side trip to Looking Glass Falls.

Back on the parkway, a view of Looking Glass Rock.

We decided to do a short hike at Graveyard Fields to a waterfall. I will admit, I was a little cold here when we first got out of the car. The elevation is 5120 feet, and I was wearing shorts. We heard that the upper falls trail was closed, so we set out for the lower or “second” falls. More stairs were involved.

The trail crosses the Yellowstone Prong above the falls.


And, then, goes down to a lovely view of the falls.

One last look at Graveyard Fields back at the parking lot.

Our last parkway stop was Devil’s Courthouse. We had planned to hike here, but both decided we were tired and ready to get back to Asheville and lunch.

Just after leaving the parkway, we stopped at one last waterfall.

North Carolina Vacation – Chimney Rock State Park

I’m finally getting around to writing about our vacation we took in June. We decided to drive back to Asheville, NC, and do the things we didn’t get around to doing the last time we visited. At the top of that list was Chimney Rock State Park. We got a later start than planned, because we were afraid it was going to rain. We finally decided to take a chance. If you like stairs, this is the place to be.

A view of Chimney Rock on the way up.

A view of Lake Lure from the top of Chimney Rock.

We decided to go up further, to Exclamation Point. Look! More stairs.

In the Opera Box, looking down on Chimney Rock and Lake Lure.

Devil’s Head.

We made it to Exclamation Point.

One more view of Chimney Rock on the way back down from Exclamation Point.

After we got back to the parking lot, we decided to take the much easier hike to Hickory Nut Falls.

My Fitbit said we did 101 flights of stairs. We decided to take it easy for the afternoon, and went to see a movie. A thunderstorm hit Asheville during the movie, and briefly knocked the power out. That was our second movie in a row to be stopped in the middle due to a thunderstorm.


After a relatively mild winter, north Texas decided to try to cram an entire winter into about a week and a half. On Monday, February 23, we had ice and sleet, which closed schools for two days. Then, on Friday, February 27, we got snow. It took me over an hour to drive home from work, and I left before the mad dash that occurred when most of the area schools released early. We ended up getting about 2.5-3 inches of snow, followed by ice. I took this picture of my favorite holly bush while we were getting snow.

It partially melted and re-froze, causing my 5K to get canceled Saturday morning. We didn’t get above freezing until late Saturday night, and our neighborhood streets were still icy that evening. It was so bad everywhere, Cowtown ended up canceling all races for the weekend, except for the half marathon on Sunday morning. This wasn’t even good snowman-making snow. It was dry and powdery, and ended up coated with a glaze of ice.

And, finally, Wednesday night, March 4, we got more snow. This is the closest we ever get to a blizzard.

Thursday was another school snow day. I measured 4 inches of snow in a few places, but with the wind the night before, I don’t know how accurate that was.

The kids finally got to build a snowman before it all melted.

I was able to run my 5K “virtually” on Saturday morning, so I’ll still get my finisher’s medal.

Colorado Vacation Part 4: Emerald Lake Hike

I’m finally getting around to posting the final post of our 2014 vacation. Before we started on the Emerald Lake trail, we took the loop around Bear Lake.
I was surprised at how much snow was still around this lake. It was a cloudy morning, so I was afraid we weren’t going to be able to see much on our hike.

After the loop around Bear Lake, we hit the Emerald Lake trail. I loved this hike! The scenery is beautiful! My one regret is that, in the interest of saving some weight in my backpack, I left my ultra-wide lens back in our room. I really wished I had that lens when we got to Emerald Lake.

There are 3 main lakes on this trail. The first is Nymph Lake.

Walking around Nymph Lake, we saw this dead tree.

The clouds started to lift a little after we passed Nymph Lake.

The trail had a lot of snow on it near Dream Lake.

We briefly lost the trail just before Dream Lake. Dream Lake was absolutely beautiful, and this is probably my favorite photo of our entire vacation. Hallett Peak is the peak to the left and Flattop Mountain is to the right.

After losing the trail several more times in the snow, we made it to Emerald Lake. We were the only ones there. It was so peaceful. The lake was still mostly frozen over.

As the clouds cleared out, we got some better views on the way back down.

And, two final, non-hike photos. On the way out of the park, we drove by Sheep Lakes, hoping to see some bighorn sheep. There were no sheep, but a lot of Elk.

As a huge Stephen King fan, I couldn’t leave Estes Park without stopping for a photo of The Stanley.

Colorado Vacation Part 3: Trail Ridge Road

I am slow, slow, slow to post. We spent one morning of our vacation driving over Trail Ridge Road from Estes Park to Grand Lake. A word of advice to Texans visiting in early June – wearing shorts is a bad idea.

Before we started out, we make a quick stop near Moraine Park so that I could take some photos of Longs Peak.

Our first stop on Trail Ridge Road was the beaver ponds.

This is the view of the beaver ponds and alluvial fan from Rainbow Curve. This is also where I started to notice that I was a little chilly.

The views were beautiful!

We hit a small patch of ice just before we got to the Alpine Visitor Center. We stopped here for a minute, even though it wasn’t open, yet. Based on the temperature when we stopped here again on our way back, I’m guessing it was somewhere in the 30s when we stopped the first time.

The Never Summer Mountains on the western side of the park

We saw a deer grazing just off the road.

Some elk grazing near the Grand Lake entrance.

We stopped to get gas in Grand Lake before heading back. This was the view from the gas station.

On the way back, we saw more snow-covered mountains.

And a frozen Forest Lake.

This was a beautiful drive! Next time, I won’t wear shorts, so that I can spend more time outside at some of the higher stops.

Colorado Vacation Part 2: Hiking to the Loch in RMNP

If you hike this trail, I recommend you start early. We parked at the Glacier Gorge trail head before 8 AM. It is a short ways to Alberta Falls, and this is the main reason I say start early. There were about 5-6 people here on our way up, and it was a traffic jam on our way back.

Once we passed the falls, we started seeing more and more snow.

And wildlife.

Near the Loch, the hiking trail started looking like this.

The Loch was beautiful!

We had planned on going past the Loch, but, unfortunately, we kept losing the trail in the snow, so we turned around.

This is one of the views on the way up/down.

Colorado Vacation Part 1: Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak

So…the 52 week photo project kind of fell apart. In early June, we took a Colorado road trip. I decided to try taking driving photos in addition to my regular photos this time. The driving photos are compiled in this video.

We spent 1 day in Colorado Springs our way to Estes Park. First, we went to Garden of the Gods. It was a cold and dreary morning.

We went back and forth all morning about driving to the top of Pikes Peak based on the clouds in Colorado Springs. Finally, we decided to go for it, and I’m so glad we did. The clouds started clearing as we drove up the mountain. But, they started rolling back in after we got to the top.

On the way down, we saw a tornado. We found out later, it hit Lake George. It did some property damage, but no one was injured.

That night, it was stormy in Colorado Springs and snowed on Pikes Peak. This is a photo from our hotel the morning we left.