A Photographic Journey: Painted Rock Trail

French Broad River from Painted Rock Trail

Last week, we walked along a road to try to find Painted Rock.

We thought we hadn’t found it, and heard about another trail in the area so we decided to return.

We were hoping to see LOTS of petroglyphs.

Driving through Painted Rock Canyon, we started on what is called Painted Rock Trail, just up on FR 54.  It was only 1.3 miles long to the intersection with another trail, but it was UP.  I mean like 1,000 feet of uphill climbing.

It was like going up so many stairs that every few feet I used “picture taking” as an excuse to rest.

I really DID take pictures.

The first picture above was shortly after we got started.  And yes, when we started, we were level with the river below.

Painted Rock Trail - crest


The picture above was a little farther up the trail, but the views were getting epic.  In any season besides winter, there would have been too much foliage to see any of these views.  I loved the way the trees in the foreground almost looked haunting; like a price to pay to see the views.

Painted Rock Trail - grass


It’s amazing that even in the “dead” of winter, how many interesting patches of foliage and grass there are.  This dormant grass provided some excellent photo fodder as we walked along (still going up…and up…did I mention up?).

Painted Rock Trail - Burned Tree


Interestingly, there were a few burned trees along the trail.  We guessed that rangers had done controlled burns.  Either that or some butt-head accidentally started a fire and the rain put it out.

Painted Rock - Train


As we neared the top of the trail, we heard the train far below.  We watched it “round” the big “U” below and the tail end of it was on the right side of the U in this photo.

I got to thinking: why doesn’t the US use trains more for commuting?  That train in the above picture had to be over a mile long.  It looked like there were hundreds of cars.  That’s super efficient! 

I hate flying.  Last year I tried to book a train from Charlotte, NC to Colorado Springs, CO.  I couldn’t do it: the closest station I could leave from was Atlanta that had service ONLY to Denver, CO.  From there, I’d have to take a bus to the airport and FLY to Colorado Springs.

I ended up crammed in a tin can with a bunch of other sardines in those things they call planes.

I have to go off on a bit of a tangent here.  I LOVE trains.  I fell in love with them when I was in Spain and took the Tren de Alta Velocidad – the AVE – for short from Madrid to Seville.  

It was really cool.  We played games, used the wi-fi, went to the food car all while traveling 200 kph and you didn’t even feel it! Had it been an overnight trip, there were cabins like you saw in the Harry Potter movies where you could sleep comfortably.

If we had trains like that in the US, not only would I give up my car willingly, I’d happily take trains all the time to commute to Asheville and across the country.

Yeah, we went into a whole discussion about that while on the trail.  I love hikes for so many reasons, including the unprobable existential discussions that invariably characterize quite a few rest stops.

Painted Rock - Top of Trail


This was the view at the top of the trail before it merged with Chimney Rock Trail.  We didn’t know it would end there and there were NO rocks ANYWHERE, let alone any with petroglyphs.  Oh well.


We began our rapid-descent back down to the river.  That’s when I took advantage of the scenery and began snapping a lot of river shots.  I’ve shared a few of them, but of course, I love this black and white high contrast shot with the water smoothed over.  I didn’t have a filter and it’s slightly overexposed even after processing, but still…I think of Ansel Adams (not that my photography is anywhere near his caliber).

As for the Painted Rock.  We finally found it – by the river.  Not worth a picture, though, because the glyphs were so high up and really faded; you couldn’t see them with the camera.  We could barely see them with our eyes.  We stared and stared at one spot that looked like it had geometric markings…and stared some more before vaguely recalling that the Hot Springs website showed a close-up version of the glyphs.

Maybe if I was into rock climbing….

Wordless Wednesday #5

Painted Rock River
River near Painted Rock

Happy Wordless Wednesday #5!

The Pictimilitude version of Wordless Wednesday has really grown!

Because of that, we’re going to change things up a bit.

To Participate:

  1. Grab a photo that you think is worth 1,000 words.  Preferably it’s your own photo, but Creative Commons photos are allowed (with proper attribution).  This photo can be a regular photo, artwork, or even a video.
  2. Place it on your blog and link up below.  If you don’t have a blog, go to my Facebook Page and paste a photo there.
  3. Keep it Wordless or Wordy – your choice!
  4. I’ll be by your blog to tweet your photo and add the hashtag #Wordlesswednesday.  Feel free to do the same.
  5. I’ll feature your photo on this blog on Sunday.  Given that this has grown, I may have to do a selection of photos.  Thus, if more than 20 people participate, I will select my favorite top 10.
  6. Please visit at least 4 or 5 other blogs (especially the people who link up right before you do).
  7. Follow your favorite blogs!

About My WW Photo:

This was taken near Painted Rock, NC.  My husband and I returned to see if we could find the real Painted Rock after we didn’t find it last week.  We did.  It was anticlimactic, but I’ll share the story in a post on Friday.

// <![CDATA[
// ]]>

GIMPED Up! – Daughter of Maat’s Photo

Daughter of Maat's Cat
The “before” photo

I had the privilege of editing Melissa’s photo over at Daughter of Maat.  She’s doing a 365-day photo project – one photo per day – and I was thrilled when I found out.

It got me thinking that I should do my own project (hence the post yesterday about the P-Cubed Project), so thank you, Melissa, for that!

Well, I saw this kitty photo and just knew – I actually could see – an end-product in my head.  I knew I could do a few tweaks to really make Melissa’s cat really stand out.

Well, that and I have such a soft spot for cats.  I have always adored animals of the feline disposition.  But, well that is neither here nor there.

I edited the photo first in GIMP, and then there were some cool filters I knew I could apply over at BeFunky.com (I swear I send them more marketing plugs, haha).

Here is the finished result:

Daughter of Maat's Cat - Edited
Impressionist-style Kitty


The P-Cubed Project

Mother Earth Father Sky
This is entitled “Mother Earth Father Sky” based off of a sandpainting I once saw when I was in the southwest. It was the biggest painting I’d ever created: 5′ x 4′ and took up the entire back of my car when I went to deliver it to the guy to whom I sold it.

Something is happening.

When I left my full-time job, it was to spend my time writing and doing photography.  Maybe pepper in some art.

While I love writing for HubPages, since starting this website, my creative side is busting out of its own seams.  And, well, I am not sure if I want to dedicate my time to just writing how-to articles.

It’s like I have this insane need to create, and create some more.

I have always been an artist, though.

In 5th grade, I would have students lining up at my desk so I could make special “curly-que” letters for them on their mother’s day cards.

I won art contests and got into the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center in a national competition for artists.

And I minored in it in college, but still did the “portfolio track.”  (An extra credential so that you have a portfolio of material to present professionally.)  I only minored in it because I was scared that if I majored in it, I would get burnt out on it and I loved art too much for that to happen.

A couple years ago, I had a studio in the downtown area of my teeny, tiny town.

Except I had no idea how to make money at doing art.  I did a couple art shows and sold a few paintings and got into a few restaurants.

But it seemed like I never really got anywhere with it.

I searched for other ways to make money.  That’s how I came into writing.  Oh, the miracle of the internet, right?

Now that I know I can write, I also know a lot more about marketing and using the internet to my advantage.

And the creative side of me is screaming.

It needs to re-surface.

I will still write.  But I MUST include painting and artwork in this big picture of mine.

Mari Gold
This is entitled “Mari Gold.” I completed it in 2010 for Day of the Dead. I’m donating it to a fundraising auction that will be held this week.

Enter the project idea:

Photography, Painting and Prose or P Cubed (P3)

It will start February 1 and go for 365 days.

The Rules:
  • Post one thing I have created or worked on, whether finished or not (yeah, most of my paintings to NOT take one day to create).
  • Whatever I post, it needs to be something that includes writing, photography or a painting (or a drawing related to my painting style)
  • At the end of the 365 days, I’ll compile it all into a book.

As I write this, I know this is a slightly insane thing to undertake.

365 days?  Do you know what happens in 365 days?  Holidays, life and its ups and downs, work, getting colds, vacations, travel and the kitchen sink.

Stupid kitchen sink.

So this means I have to plan, schedule posts and spend more time creating and less time on Facebook.  Eh, Facebook makes me feel slightly twitchy sometimes.  I mean it sucks you in and it can be hard to tear yourself away.

But, the goal is to really powerstart my career as a writer, photographer, and artist.

Did I mention that I’ve started a children’s book?  It’s a really simple one – about a butterfly and colors – but I’m illustrating it.

It’s because I have to create things and I can’t stop.

My house is filled with paintings:

My owl painting…completed in 2010. I love owls.

I love geometric designs and patterns.  And animals.  And color.

Armadillo – completed in 2010.

So, this also means that my website is going to evolve, too.  Not only will I have photography, but I’ll also have art, paintings, illustrations, prose and poetry.  (I should like change those metatags or something.)

Oh yeah, prose.  Yes, I want to put stories to the things I create.  But that’s a whole ‘nother discussion.

I have no idea if I’ll complete this project, but I’m going to tell everyone.  It’s how I did NaNoWriMo and kept at it, even though I didn’t feel like that particular novel is indicative of what I might be able to write.  I don’t know.  Maybe I’ll go back to it at some point.

The P-Cubed Project: Feb. 1, 2013 – Feb. 1, 2014. 

I dare you to join me.


Wordless Wednesday #4

Rock and Sand Reflection

This image is taken at Paint Rock in NC.  It was one of my favorite shots of the day, so I made it my Wordless Wednesday photo.

It’s Wordless Wednesday!  I know it’s not completely Wordless, but that’s because I would love for you to stretch those photographic muscles (it CAN ONLY HELP your blog, you see) and join me!

Here’s how Wordless Wednesday works:

You can find and post any photo (your own photo preferably or a Creative Commons one) – just try to look for one where there might be more than meets the eye going on.  You know, the “picture is worth 1000 words idea.”

You can post your photo to my Facebook page with the caption “Wordless Wednesday.”


If you have a flickr account, post it there and leave a link to it in the comments.  I’ll go comment on your photo and tweet it.


You can tweet your photo and include “@ccliteraturegrl” in the tweet.  When I get the tweet, I’ll retweet it.


Share the photo on your own blog, but let me know in the comments so I can be sure to go to your blog and tweet your photo.

What Happens Next?

I will gather all the submissions and choose the most striking photos.  I’ll create a photo montage and feature it on Sundays – both on the blog here and on my Facebook page and Twitter page (and these will not be Creative Commons photos unless you specifically ask me to label them that way).

Before you go, look back up at the picture.

  • What does it make you think of?
  • How does it make you feel?
  • What other thoughts pop into your mind as you look at it?  Let me know in the comments!

Awards and Tags

The Gargie Award

I have my fellow bloggers and readers to thank for the Gargie Award.

But before I say anything further, have you taken a closer look at that gargie?  Is that short for gargoyle?  And what happened to his eyes?  I suppose that’s the photographer in me going, uh, what the hell?  I’m thinking I could GIMP (not photoshop) that little gargie and make him look like one of those gnomes with the flurescent-colored hair.

Alas, my penchant for pretty images has hijacked my writing.

Janine and Terrye, thank you so much for thinking of me.  You’re both so sweet and kind to recognize me.  I am grateful for the elevated status to…gargoyle?  Ha!  I shall pass on this award and turn others into gargoyle recipients.

Sometimes I think these awards are tests in disguise.  Tests for following instructions:

  • Display the award badge on your site.
  • Publish a post to inform the world of your great achievement.
  • Nominate some fellow bloggers (who have been outstanding in their field or perhaps who you admire).
  • Indicate to your nominees that they have received the award… provided you have completed step three.
Okay, so check, check, and oh…I have to nominate some people.
All right then.  I can handle that.  (So far, I have a 50% on this test, but I haven’t finished answering the questions…)
With this list, I check off the next two things – check, check!  Here are some awesome bloggers whose work is really worth checking out:

 Now that I got a 100% on that little quiz, it’s on to the next award:

Versatile Blogger

I received this one from Gina and Ruchira.  Gina’s blog is full of hilarity and witty life stories.  Ruchira’s blog has daily mantras which are always uplifting.  Thank you both for thinking of me.  That means a lot – even if I do have to carry out the rules of these tasks.  Ha!

And of COURSE there are some rules:

  1. Thank the blogger who nominated you and include a link to their site.
  2. Add The Versatile Blogger Award picture to your blog post.
  3. Nominate 7 fellow bloggers that you’ve recently discovered or follow regularly and include a link to their site.
  4. Let them know you have nominated them.
  5. Share 7 random facts about you.

Let’s see…seven bloggers?

There’s Terrye.  She’s special because she’s always been encouraging and supportive and just when you think life gets too serious, you can go to her blog and really laugh until your gut hurts.

Then there’s Clark.  Can I tell you how much I’ve learned about the inner-workings of my brain on his website?  Holy moly I feel like I’ve gained insights into the deep, dark recesses of my mind that I didn’t know were there.

And Lisa.  Oh Lisa!  I always see her like a hummingbird bringing joy and happiness wherever she goes.  She’s a wonderful writer and a very resourceful business owner.

There’s Amy.  Her blog is always such fun to read because she and I think alike.  She’s a fellow “clark” and her visions of life as it should be are so refreshing.

And Rich.  I will never look at snakes the same way again, nor will I ever expect a photo critique without a different perspective from this dude.

Melissa has another great blog.  She has poignant stories about life and its trials and tribulations.  She tells it like it is and sometimes it’s funny and sometimes it’s serious, but you always walk away having learned something new.

Janine.  I have to recognize Janine because she’s the most go-getter blogger I ever met and she’s a great role-model.  She’s a power blogger and I have a feeling she’s going to rise to the ranks of Pioneer Woman.

Now for the 7 random facts that I haven’t shared here before…which will be difficult…but um…um…

1. I used to hate beer and wine.  Now, I prefer red wine and stout beer.  Did someone say Vanilla Porter?

2. I used to believe I never wanted much money.  I was delusional.  It’s what makes our society tick and it sucks if you don’t have it.

3. I wish women’s shoe sizes were the same.  When all your shoes are size 7 and/or 7.5, and then you order a size 7 pair of hiking boots online, it’s awful hiking in them because your toes are banging the ends.

4. I have written 2 novels.  And I have not published them.  There must be something wrong with me but I’m scared to.  They’re both in first-draft form.

5. I have cold hands and feet.  In fact, I have Raynaud’s and winter pisses me off because I can never seem to warm up, especially when my hands and feet are numb.

6. I used to laugh at people who put up cots or air mattresses in their tents when camping because I thought they were wimps.  Now, that’s all I want when I go camping.  Better yet, can we just rent a beach house?  Or take a motor home?

7. I’m 33 and I still care deeply about what my parents think.  In fact, I want them to be proud of me.  My dad has only ever said it to me once, when I graduated college with a second Bachelor’s degree.

And don’t forget: tomorrow is Wordless Wednesday!

GIMPED Up! – Stacy

Stacy Ramblings of an Undiagnosed Mad Woman

Last evening, I got it into my head that I should do a Tuesday post.  I don’t usually do Tuesday posts because, well, Tuesdays and Saturdays are the two days that I need to get things done and they aren’t really conducive to blogging.

However, I am loving this GIMPED Up! series and thought it would be fun to edit another photo.

I got on Facebook and posed the question: Who wants me to edit a photo?

Stacy stepped up to bat.

And, she said, “this is going to be so funny!”

She had no idea I was looking to “beautify” a photo.  The above picture is the original of the one I chose from her Facebook page.

After working in GIMP and editing and tweaking, adding a colorize filter and a cool border with a gradient, here’s the result:

Stacy Ramblings of an Undiagnosed Mad Woman 2

Aww, now isn’t she pretty?