Blue Ridge Apartments

When I Was 69

When I Was 69
Click pic to go to "When I Was 69"

Wednesday, September 11, 2019


I'm going to include my "welcoming to my journey photos" and experiences all under "When I Was 69" blog.  So come on over there to see what's new in my life.  I have to cut back somewhere! This blog will be archived of many journeys that we've shared. I've posted 1061 times here!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

The view is worth it, but how long can you look at it?

Getting there is more of the fun...once you reach the summit, how long can you just look at thousands of mountains in the distance? They are fortunately labeled well now on photographic dioramas facing each direction.

 Looking down at the road we came up...

 Our 2 Barbaras selfie from the top of Mt. Mitchell.

 On Thursday there wasn't a big crowd, and each person took turns taking photos...everyone was very polite about that.

We were glad we'd brought our sandwiches, guacamole and chips, and ate in a picnic shelter. But none of the water fountains were available to fill our water jugs. (They did sell water at the concession, I wonder if that had anything to do with the fountains being turned off.)

Monday, September 9, 2019

On top of old (Mt Mitchell)

Once again I huffed and puffed my way to the top of this summit. It's a long drive (well, a bit more than an hour) from Black Mountain...go along the Blue Ridge Parkway then up 2 miles of steep incline in the State Park.  But the last 100 yards you walk up a very steep incline. Fortunately there are rest benches about every 50 feet.

 My friend has had one knee replaced, and is scheduled for the other one this next week!

 Looking up from about the halfway point, where there's a 180 degree turn.

 There are many dead spruce and fir trees on Mt. Mitchell.

 Being able to see the summit helps when puffing up that last incline.

 Catching one's breath at 6684 feet, where the air is a bit thinner than Black Mountain (2400 or so).

My friend came from Tampa FL, so she's used to about 20 feet above sea level!

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Tourists follow me

I've led tours when I was quite a bit younger, around my school during the summers, when families would want to see what it was like.

Now I love taking friends for their first time to Mt. Mitchell on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I have many other neat places to go as well.  As my aging has kept me from hiking in the beautiful woods, at least there are many sites which are available to us drivers/minimal walkers.

 A rather low overlook close to home.  We tried to limit the places we stopped!

 At Craggy Gardens Picnic area, the day was absolutely perfect for looking for miles in every direction. And being Thursday before the big Labor Day weekend, it was vacant!

 The little visitors center at Craggy Bald is always a fun place to stop along the Blue Ridge Parkway.

Just a glimpse of Burnett Reservoir shows behind all those leaves. The reservoir is low because the dam is being worked on.

We kept taking selfies, mostly with only half of my face!

Onward we went...Mt. Mitchell is next!

Saturday, September 7, 2019

The flora on Mt. Mitchell

We had noticed white flowers that we couldn't recognize while driving up the Blue Ridge Parkway to Mt. Mitchell.  When we saw several of them on the walk up to the top, we took their photos, and then asked a Park Ranger what they were.  Yay, he knew!

 Snakeroot has no real petals to speak of.

 Little white blobs in a cluster with fernlike leaves is Yarrow.

 Clusters of blobs on reddish stems are Hairy Angelica

 Another trail that comes off the one going to the top of the mountain, Balsam Nature Trail, goes down through the woods.

I have taken this trail several years ago, but we elected to skip it this trip.  Another side trail along it goes to Balsam Spring, which is probably completely covered with vegetation this time of year.

It does say in one sentence that the twisted dead trunks of Frasier Fir have fallen prey to an aphid infestation. I think they sure are downplaying the infestation which is killing so many trees.

Hemlock Woolly Adelgid

White Wooly egg masses on tree
White woolly egg masses
Photo: Connecticut Agriculture Experiment Station,
Aestivating first instars
HWA adults at the base of needles
Photo: Mark Whitmore, Cornell University
"Native to Asia, the hemlock woolly adelgid, or HWA, is an invasive, aphid-like insect that attacks North American hemlocks. HWA are very small (1.5 mm) and often hard to see, but they can be easily identified by the white woolly masses they form on the underside of branches at the base of the needles.

How HWA Damage Hemlock Trees

Juvenile HWA, known as crawlers, search for suitable sites on the host tree, usually at the base of the needles. They insert their long mouthparts and begin feeding on the tree's stored starches. HWA remain in the same spot for the rest of their lives, continually feeding and developing into adults. Their feeding severely damages the canopy of the host tree by disrupting the flow of nutrients to its twigs and needles. Tree health declines, and mortality usually occurs within 4 to 10 years.
juvenile crawler on tree branchClose-up view of HWA ovisacs and a juvenile HWA
on a hemlock branch
Photo: Pennsylvania Dept. of Conservation
and Natural Resources - Forestry,
All species of hemlock are vulnerable to attack, but severe damage and death typically occurs in eastern (Tsuga canadensis) and Carolina (Tsuga caroliniana) hemlocks only..." within 4-10 years of infestation. Source:

Friday, September 6, 2019

Louise's Kitchen

My friend and I enjoyed breakfast two times last week at Louise' is lovely in the morning when the sun warms the porch and dries the dew.

 The roofless building across the street at least has good art posted on it.

By the time you're reading this, she has returned to FL, and had surgery on her second and last knee...and is recuperating. She's hoping to move here to NC in the future.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Another sacred space

A peace pole has greetings in different languages.

Joe Pie Weed gives a bit of color to late August garden.

A nice door and porch welcomes us to come inside.

At some concerts, the musicians were on the patio and steps, and the audience spread out on the lawn...(not shown) but this day rain was very possible, so we were inside.

I sat for a few minutes to meditate on this handy stone.

Last spring's flooding of the Swanannoa River meant it changed where the banks were, cutting into the garden space of the Meeting House.  But Quakers can cope with a lot, and have gardened what areas they now have.