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Patterns Products

Ornate Yoga Mats

This decorative yoga mat is lightweight (approx. 3 lbs.), printed in vibrant colors on the front (back print optional), measures 72″ length by 24″ width by 1/4″ thickness, and is ECO friendly (composed of cellular vinyl, free from harmful BPAs, phthalates, and latex). A second, patterned version yoga mat is also available –

Categories
Disc Golf Products

Disc Golf T-shirt

Enjoy the sport of disc golf with this cool t-shirt, available in 18 different colors from Zazzle. And, you can also find more items at these shops: Cafepress, Tee Public and Design By Humans.

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Nature Photography

Emory Gap Falls

If you’re interested in taking the family for an easy & fun hike to see a waterfall, then visit the Frozen Head State Park – near Wartburg, Tennessee. The scenic 20-foot tall Emory Gap Falls is only a 3 mile out and back hike, and you’ll also pass Debord Falls along the trail.

See earlier post: Emory Gap Falls At Frozen Head

Like many waterfalls on the Cumberland Plateau, the best time to visit is when there’s water present. This was my second trip to the falls; though autumn foliage was gone, by comparison, recent rainfall bolstered the volume of water flowing.

Prints

If you’d like to enjoy the great outdoors in your living room or place of employment, you’re invited to visit my shop to select a print of your choosing. Many options available. Thanks!

Categories
Nature Photography

Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls

Wow! I’ve hiked many areas in the state, but so far none can compare to the plethora of waterfalls as found along the Laurel-Snow Trail To Laurel Falls, located near Dayton, TN.

From the moment I stepped out my vehicle and on to the trail, the sound of running water was loud, present throughout my hike. Though alltrails.com lists the hike at 6.1 miles out and back, a placard at the trailhead cites the total distance as 5 miles. Whatever the case, I definitely added another mile or two exploring off trail – there were photography opportunities around every corner!

The road into the park is filled (no pun intended) with potholes – it’s somewhat of an obstacles course. Thus, drive slowly with caution around sharp turns near steep hills.

Richland Creek was full, with a wonderful blue-green coloration in deeper pools and dozens of small-to-medium size waterfalls visible from the trail. Other water sources – including Paine Creek – were flowing with waterfalls to enjoy while hiking. Also, huge boulders – some 30 feet tall – periodically peppered the waterside.

The trail, formerly a railroad bed of The Dayton Coal & Iron Company, Limited, was mostly hard-pack dirt and flat, though muddy in areas. Though the trail splits (a white blaze leads left along the creek, and, orange ribbons around trees mark a route into the forest, leading to the right), both trails soon reconnect before reaching a new, aluminum bridge. Thereafter, the trail becomes quite rocky, and signs are posted for Snow Falls (left) and the 80-foot Laurel Falls (right).

Photographs

Prints

If you’d be interested in a print for your home, office, or in the lobby or cafeteria of your business, academic facility or hospital, then please visit my shop at Pixels. Thanks!

Video

See Also: Laurel-Snow Trail To Buzzard Point

Categories
Nature Photography

Black And White Stone Bench

This black and white photograph features a stone bench near stairs along the trail to the Chimney Tops, a popular hiking spot in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee. See more in my galleries at Pixels and/or Fine Art America.

Categories
Nature Photography

Hen Wallow Falls In The Smoky Mountains

Walking through a hemlock and rhododendron forest, I’d rate the hike to Hen Wallow Falls as moderately difficult. This 90′ waterfall is situated in the Smoky Mountains along the Gabes Mountain Trail, taking between 3-4 hours on a 4.2 mile round trip.

Because conditions on the trail are often rocky – or, covered extensively with tree roots – proper footwear is very important! More than the knees or calves, it’s always my feet which are most sore the next day, having hiked over such uneven surfaces:

Several signs are posted along the trail to help hikers find Hen Wallow Falls

Footbridges allow hikers to keep dry while crossing over several small streams –

Here’s some enjoyable landscape scenery you’ll encounter along the trail –

Finally, Hen Wallow Falls

Prints

You may not live near the Smoky Mountains, but you can nevertheless enjoy nature from your home or office with a print of Hen Wallow Falls. Please visit my gallery at Pixels to review several pleasant photographs from my hike.

Video

Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Nature Photography

Alum Cave Bluffs In Tennessee

About

The 2.3 mile trail to Alum Cave Bluffs is located in the Smoky Mountains, approx. 8 miles from the Sugarlands Visitor Center, near Gatlinburg, Tennessee. It’s the shortest and steepest of 5 different trails to Mount Le Conte.

Originally mined in 1838 by the Epsom Salts Manufacturing Company for deposits of magnesium sulfate & alum, it’s now a popular hiking area with limited parking – one should plan to arrive early; or, park along the road some distance away.

Water

At lower elevations, the trail meanders alongside the Alum Cave Creek, providing a pleasant and constant sound of running water throughout the forest.

Here are a few photographs –

Arch Rock

At 1.4 miles along the trail, hikers have the opportunity to pass through a natural tunnel in the side of the mountain – at Arch Rock. A series of steps with a cable handrail make this a fun, navigable passageway.

Here are some photographs –

Eye of The Needle

As hikers continue up the trail, the sound of water fades and glimpses of the surrounding mountains begin to appear between the trees. Inspiration Point is situated at 4,700′, which, on a clear day, provides an unobscured view of the surrounding landscape, most notably Little Duck Hawk Ridge – which features the Eye of the Needle (a see-through hole cut into the side of the ridge). It is in this area, if you’re lucky, that you might see Peregrine Falcons.

Here are a few shots –

More Scenes From The Trail

Note: it’s not really a cave. Rather, large sandstone bluffs standing 80′ tall, extending 500′ in length, with a substantial ceiling-overhang.

Prints

If your home or office has an empty wall, please consider purchasing a print – framed, canvas, art, metal, wood or acrylic – from my gallery at Pixels. Customization options are available to make it your own! Other items to see, also.

Thanks for stopping by!

See also – Hiking Mount LeConte In Tennessee

Categories
Patterns Products

Golden Pattern Yoga Mat

Strike your sun salutation in style. This yoga mat is lightweight (3.6 lbs.), yet durable. Just toss it over your shoulder with the handy carrying strap and you’re on your way. It measures 24″ wide by 70″ long by 1/4″ thick and includes 1.5″ woven polyester carrying strap. Latex-free and free of heavy metals.

Enjoy!

Categories
Abstract Products

Abstract Black And White Yoga Mat

Stay in shape using this premium yoga mat from Pixels. It measures 24″ by 72″ and is 1/4″ thick, made of natural rubber with a blended microfiber top surface. The underside has textured dimples for better floor grip and, of course, it’s portable to travel along with you for your workouts. Also, see more great product options!

premium yoga mat with interesting black and white pattern design
Categories
Miscellaneous

Fitness Flashback

It was 1996 and I was 32 years old living in Kalamazoo, Michigan. My gym was American Fitness and I was working out 5 days per week (3-on-1-off, 2-on-1-off).

One day, I noticed a flyer posted on the bulletin board, advertising for a strong man contest to be held in 2 weeks – who could bench press their own weight the most times? This was my favorite exercise, so I decided to enter the competition.

The contest would be judged, and lifters had to adhere to the following rules:

  • no bouncing weight off of ones chest
  • no arched back – ones back must remain flat, in contact with bench
  • to count, each repetition must be full and cleared as “good” by judge
  • contestants would compete based on a weight class bracket

The event was to be held at an old, industrial building near the railroad tracks on the east side of town, used at that time for a bar known as The Warehouse. Based on my weight, I was in the 175-200 lbs. weight class bracket.

When it was time, I arrived to see that many others were also interested in competing, and a local news station had their camera set up to record the event. The first order of business entailed stepping on a scale to be weighed by an official. Each individual did so in private without clothing, and I weighed 190.5 lbs.

It was at that point that I learned another contest rule – that is, that weights would be rounded up in 5-lb. increments. Thus, I’d be lifting 195 lbs. instead of my actual weight. It was suggested that I run outside around the building a few times – hoping to lose 1/2 pound – and that a second weighing would be made available. I thought about it but wanted to conserve my energy, so I declined.

I waited for my turn back in the main room, stretching my muscles and warming-up on one of several bench presses made available.

When I was finally called, I walked up onto the stage, listened to a brief review of the rules by an official, and then got into position on the bench. Next, as with each competitor, a judge (a.k.a., the spotter) assisted in safely removing the weight from the rack, thereafter releasing contact for me to begin lifting.

I bench pressed 195 lbs. for 29 clean repetitions, good enough for second place in my weight class bracket. First place went to a 178 lb. competitor (from my gym!) who pressed 180 lbs. for 31 clean repetitions.

All told, I bench pressed 5655 lbs. during that series of lifts, which (in consolation only) was a total of 75 lbs. more then the winner. My 29 presses were also the 2nd most of any competitor across all weight class brackets at the event.

Categories
Nature Photography

House Mountain in Knoxville, TN – Part One

Part One: The Ascent

House Mountain is located in Corryton, Tennessee, just 10 miles northeast of Knoxville, and, at 2,110 feet above sea level, it’s the highest elevation in Knox County. The actual mountain stands 1,000 feet above the surrounding valley floor, with a few different trails available for hikers to select. I chose the Mountain Trail (blue trail), which is 1 mile long.

 The following photographs are available as prints in my gallery at Fine Art America, and provide a fair representation (in sequence) of the challenging terrain along the trail.

Despite a strenuous climb lasting for approximately 1 hour until I reached the 1-mile marker on the trail, the views along the way were wonderful! Huge boulders were strewn along the mountainside and, looking up, it sometimes appeared to be impossibly steep, where the mountain seemed to be leaning uncomfortably forward – a dizzying view!

The Crest Trail sign shown above reads as follows –

The Crest Trail traverses the top of the mountain and is 1.5-miles long from overlook to overlook, winding along the top of the ridge partly on public and partly on private land. At each end of the Crest Trail you can enjoy a splendid view. The approach to the East End Overlook winds through many large boulders. The East End Overlook provides a view of Clinch Mountain, the parent of House Mountain, and the ridge and valley toward Blaine and Rutledge. The West End Overlook provides a great view of Knoxville, the Great Smoky Mountains, and the Cumberland Mountains out toward Oak Ridge.

I first headed toward the West Overlook, took in the sights and then returned. Next, I hiked to the East Overlook – which, in my opinion and despite the aforementioned accolades, is a much more scenic & preferred location – before descending the Mountain Trail (blue trail) back to the car. Altogether, it was a 5-mile hike at a level of exertion certain to leave me sore by morning!

The hike was a slow process, with matters of proper footing a real concern along the way. Steep drops in close proximity to the trail were a good reminder to always remain cautious. Rocks and roots served as steps in many areas, and wet spots from a few different springs were observed. In a few instances, trails diverted to skirt around large fallen trees, though most of the hiking was ‘obstacle-free’.

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Categories
Nature Photography

Hiking Knoxville, Tennessee

As a follow-up to two previous posts…

Yesterday I visited Ijams Nature Center a second time, hiking around Mead’s Quarry Lake along a 1.1 mile trail known as Tharp Trace

Looped trail, steep in places. Named after Minnie Tharp who championed the restoration of Mead’s Quarry. Views of the lake and Mt. LeConte, plus the historic Stanton Cemetery, punctuate long stretches of woodland canopy along the trail above the cliffs.

This sign greets hikers at the beginning of the trail –

Ijams Nature Center, Knoxville, TN

After a short walk along the north edge of Mead’s Quarry Lake, the trail inclines for a more strenuous hike. In some areas, stone steps and the roots of trees provided helpful footholds along a damp, slick path –

Ijams Nature Center, Knoxville, TN

Here are some more photographs I shot along the Tharp Trace trail –

 

Near the end of the hike, an informational display provides an historical perspective of the early years at the quarry, including these two black & white photographs –

Despite overcast weather, the temperature was tolerable and I had a very nice hike through the woods. On my way back to the parking lot, I passed a few more spots beckoning to be photographed –

Ijams Nature Center, Knoxville, TN
Ijams Nature Center, Knoxville, TN

Enjoy the great outdoors in Knoxville, Tennessee!