Shining Rock – Tennent Mountain

On that original hike to Shining Rock, you pass over or around (depending on what route you take) four mountain peaks.  

One particularly beautiful peak is Tennent Mountain.  With no trees to hide the views, you can see 360 degrees all around you.  

When I started taking pictures, the clouds were gathering and getting ready to storm.  Luckily, they swirled all around us for most of the afternoon.  Only on our way back did it rain, but it wasn’t too bad and didn’t last for long.

Tennent Mountain was named for Dr. Tennent who helped get hiking trails established in western NC and get hiking clubs formed.  

The mountain offers spectacular views…to look at a cathedral of a sky.

View From Tennent Mountain / C. Calhoun 2012.  All rights reserved.

A Look at Shining Rock

As promised, I am sharing (and will be sharing) more images from my recent Shining Rock hike.  Though it was a long hike (just about 10 miles), the views and the final destination, Shining Rock, made this journey well worth it. I feel like I collected a treasure-trove of pictures.  I am scheduling a camping trip and a backpacking trip, so am I getting into this stuff.

Before sharing the image, can I just say how I feel like I’ve really stumbled on to something with photography?  I’m still learning the ropes.  Indeed, I hope to always be a student.  The moment we stop learning is when we atrophy and cease to fully experience life.

That being said, after discovering that I really like this, I keep wanting to find more and more opportunities to take pictures and share them.  It’s a fun challenge and more than my art, I find that people identify with it.  Hmm.

In any case, 4.3 miles in, here’s what I climbed up and saw:

Shining Rock / C. Calhoun 2012. All rights reserved.
Trail to Shining Rock / C. Calhoun 2012.  All rights reserved.

Shining Rock

I haven’t posted the last couple of days but there was a reason: I have been at Shining Rock.  I wrote an article about that very long hike – and I’m still sore from it – but I have to tell you, it was one of the most breathtaking hikes I’ve been on in a long while.  Usually when you go hiking in North Carolina, you end up in a lush, thick forest with trees everywhere.  Sometimes you’d think it was all a rain forest.
Not this area, though.  It’s completely treeless on all four peaks on this hike – it’s interesting.
Over the next few days, I will be posting my favorites from that hike.  I got a ton of pictures – many with exquisite details and views.  
The one below is one of my first favorites.  It had rained on the way back.  Mind you, it was nearly a ten-mile hike for me (I got lost a couple of times…even with a map!).  But, I think we were at about 8.0 miles into this hike when we happened upon this neat reflection on Trail 101. 

Reflections on the Trail / C. Calhoun 2012.  All rights reserved.  

After writing the article detailing our hike, I couldn’t help but keep staring at this image.  We took  Trail 101 back to the parking lot instead of the regular trail over the last two peaks.  We were tired, our legs hurt and our dog was tired, too.  I’m glad we did, though, because I was able to snap some majestic pictures.

Garden of the Gods

As mentioned earlier, I spent a good part of June in Colorado.  I try to visit family several times per year and the Colorado Rocky Mountains are so picturesque and offer so many breathtaking views.
Needless to say, one of the best photo-taking opportunities is in Colorado Springs at Garden of the Gods Park.  I grew up running there, walking, hiking, biking – you name it.  Even my mom’s hairdresser had a salon overlooking a trail leading up to Garden of the Gods – I spent a lot of time there.
Its history is rich, varied and full of tales of Native Americans and pioneers alike who called this place home.
It’s like a quiet spirit touches your soul when you grace the paths.  Early morning is a great time to visit, too, because it’s not yet full of people wanting to see the beautiful rocks.
This was one of my first experiments with panoramic photos.  I have to say I’m very pleased with the results.  The image was incredible.  See for yourself:

Garden of the Gods / C. Calhoun 2012.  All rights reserved.

The richness of color against the backdrop of Pikes Peak is incredible.  Red against green against blue.  Pikes Peak is beautiful, too.

Ironically, I took this picture two days before the Waldo Canyon fire started that closed down the park for a week.  Luckily, it was all right.

Blue Ridge Parkway

On one of my first posts, I talked about hiking the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I definitely love the flora and fauna.  
I found another picture I want to share from that hike.  I took this on my walk to Rattlesnake Lodge and just loved the way the rocks looked.  The vines and ivy were starting to cover the steps and the steps themselves were moist with water.

On the trail toward Rattlesnake Lodge – Blue Ridge Parkway
C. Calhoun 2012.  All rights reserved.

The hike ended up being about 4 miles in length.  It was perfect for a 4th of July hike.

Crooked Tree

Last year, I went hiking for my birthday with some really good friends and my husband.  Along the way, we saw a red-tailed hawk fly by.  I didn’t get a good picture of the hawk because I didn’t see it right of way.  What I did get instead was the tree that the hawk had left.

I have to wonder if it was symbolic.  Indeed, that experience, that moment, stayed with me.  The tree was “bent” at a sharp angle.  I have no idea what event in the tree’s life caused that to happen, but I took great pleasure in trying to capture the unusual angle.

I made the picture black and white because I feel like taking the color out adds a timeless quality.  

Later, I did walk over to the tree that the hawk had landed in and was thrilled that it stayed long enough for me to take in its beauty and majesty.  

I admit I’m not a “professional” photographer.  I definitely go with my gut on what I see and share what I think are good photos.  

This is a relatively new hobby of mine, though.  I am having such fun taking my own photos for the articles I write on HubPages and I feel like I’m improving.

I’m a student of life.  I will always continue to learn – about my favorite subjects, new plants and animals, art, and now photography.

Crooked Tree / C. Calhoun 2011.  All rights reserved.

Red Flowers

Red Flowers / C. Calhoun 2012.  All rights reserved.

You may have noticed from other posts that I adore taking walks.  It’s just something I’ve always loved to do.  It’s no surprise that I end up snapping photos on my walking journeys.  Life just has so many beautiful surprises and beauty.  I love being able to share these images, too.  

In any case, this photo was taken on a trip to Colorado.  I usually know my flowers pretty well, but these I’m not familiar with – they almost look like they are a type of paintbrush.  

It was mid-June and it was near the Broadmoor.  The sun was setting but there was a lot of smoke in the air because of the Waldo Canyon Fire.  That didn’t stop me from taking a beautiful picture of these flowers.