It is hard to believe we are turning over from Mid-Summer to Late-Summer as July turns into August. I’ve had so many things to be thankful for this month and thus have been filled with gratitude for all of July. So for this month’s changing season post, I present to you some of my favorite moments of gratitude.
I was fortunate to spend a weekend in The Appalachian Mountains in both the Smokies and the Blue Ridge ranges. The weekend gave me lots to be thankful for. I had two outstanding moments, however, that I’d like to share with you here.
I was there with two friends and we spent an afternoon hiking The Graveyard Fields trail. It is a lovely loop that takes you by two different waterfalls. When we pulled into the parking lot we could see storms surrounding the area and hear the claps of thunder echoing off the mountains. We knew at some point we’d be getting wet. We weren’t wrong and it was lovely. Walking through the woods as the rain came down around us bringing with it the music of falling water, cooler temps and a bug free hike. At one point the skies really opened up and we took cover in a grove of trees as my one friend shared with us a lovely tale of how she got her hiking shirt.
Another amazing moment in the mountains was the morning we went into the Cataloochee Valley at sunrise to the see elk that had been reintroduced to the area in 2001. The herds had become completely extinct in the area and The Great Smoky Mountains National Park brought in an initial 25 to see if they could re-populate. 18 years later at numbers estimated to be around 200 or more they consider the experiment a success.
My particular moment of gratitude came as my two friends and I along with our tour guide stood in the early morning hour, watching 11 elk graze in the valley field as the mist and fog rose from the mountain tops. No other people were present and we stood in solitude enjoying this rare moment of beauty.
I’ve been thankful countless times this month as I’ve spent many a cool morning riding my main squeeze Tucker. There are so many things to be grateful about during these rides; a flexible work schedule which allows me to do this, an amazing horse that I absolutely love to ride and our quiet home with pastures to ride around and an arena to work in. Not to mention the low traffic road I can ride up and down.
Hubby and I had an amazing paddle one night that was rich in wildlife viewing. We were gifted with close up and stunning views of a hunting Osprey, a sunning Heron and we particularly enjoyed the Egrets who were completely unconcerned with our presence as they went about their nightly meal gathering.
I had a lovely moment of connection with complete strangers, during a nighttime photo shoot in Uptown Charlotte. A couple observing me taking pictures struck up a conversation and we spent the next 30 minutes sharing snippets of our personal stories.
One of my favorite times this month was when I took Tucker to an obstacle challenge. It was a day filled with fun as the hosting venue had 40 obstacles to present to your horse and test out your relationship and communication. I was so proud of my guy who took everything in stride, tried his heart out and worked those obstacles like a true champ.
Another sweet moment of the month was a night spent at Tryon Equestrian Center when a group of 8 of us went to watch what we thought was going to be the Pony Club gymkhana games playoffs. Unknown to us there was a change in schedule and the night’s performance was centered around various discipline demos instead. At first disappointed at the lack of action and competition we thought we were going to see, it turned out to be a lovely night where we had a chance to visit and talk since the show’s activities required much less of our attention than the original plan would have.
Today I ended the month in just about the best way possible. I rose early and took Tucker over to the local park where we spent a pretty morning on the trails. I made a quick exchange at home, putting him out to pasture and grabbing the kayaks to meet a friend at a lake I’d never paddled before and to top off the perfect day, I just wrapped up some sunset shooting.
On to August we go. Let’s all stay grateful!!!!