Friday, December 28, 2018

2018-12-25 Christmas 2018

Chirstmas 2018

 The Thyen/Hitchcock Family Group Christmas Photo

This year Amy and I drove up to my sister's house in Northern Virginia to spend the Christmas Holiday with my side of the family.

 My sister Mary with her dog Dewey, My Dad, and My Mom with Katie's dog Jackson

On Sunday (December 23rd) Amy and I took a Metro Ride into Washington DC with my Sister Mary, my Niece Katie, and my Nephew Conner!

 My sister Mary with my wife Amy on the DC Metro

We started out with the National Geographic Museum to see the Titanic exhibit and the "Tomb of Christ".  Afterwards we took a stroll past Donald's House!

 Group Selfie Time in front of the White House!
L to R:  Me, my wife Amy, nephew Conner, niece Katie, and Sister Mary

We enjoyed a fabulous lunch at The Hamilton Restaurant

Washington Monument Group Selfie

We finished up our trip into DC with a visit to the Holocaust Museum!   I didn't take any photos at any of the Museums, but the Holocaust Museum was an intense emotional experience and in my opinion is a must see for anyone visiting Washington DC!

Conner, Katie, and Mary on the Metro ride back into Northern Virginia

The rest of our visit was spent enjoying family time, walks around my sister's neighborhood, presents, games, food, and drink!

Here are some more photos from our Christmas visit!

 Christmas Eve Sunrise 

 Old Barn near my sister's house

 Not a good day for a picnic!  Broad Run out of it's banks!

Conner entertaining the family 

The Saran Wrap Game!

 The Candy Cane Game

 The Candy Cane Game

 The Candy Cane Game

 Mea and Liam


 My sister Mary directing the Twelve Days of Christmas


 White Squirrel  (Sorry about the lousy zoomed in and cropped cell phone shot)

The Monkey Tree

 Christmas Monkey

 The Polka Dot Clubhouse

Interesting place for a no parking sign
Flooding from the Potomac River

 My Sister's Chickens

 Katie, Scott, Mary, Dewey


My Sister's Chickens


My complete set of photos is posted here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

2018-11-23 Black Friday Team Waterfall Adventure

Team Waterfall Black Friday Adventure
Morning scenes around the Lake Lure Marina,
 Rumbling Bald Cave with Captain John, 
Hickory Nut Falls from across the Gorge, 
Flamboyant Falls and Rainbow Falls
Rutherford County, NC
Friday, November 23rd, 2018

Team Waterfall Group Selfie by The Badger
(photo by Thomas Mabry)

In the United States, Black Friday is known as the biggest shopping day of the year.  Just about every retail business offers up some incredible sales attracting hoards of crowds to every shopping center across America!

However, there is a small percentage of the population that prefer to celebrate the Black Friday holiday by going hiking!  We call ourselves "Team Waterfall"!

There was a Team Waterfall adventure planned for Friday Afternoon, but since I like to get a much earlier start, I suggested a morning hike for any other early risers.  Captain John was the only one interested so we decided to explore the caves of Rumbling Bald Mountain.

While waiting for John to arrive, I enjoyed a nice morning stroll around the Lake Lure Marina area!

 Black Friday Morning around the Lake Lure Marina

 Black Friday Morning around the Lake Lure Marina

Black Friday Morning around the Lake Lure Marina

Once John arrived, we headed over to the Rumbling Bald to explore the caves!

 Captain John inside the Rumbling Bald Caves

 Captain John inside the Rumbling Bald Caves

 view from the Attic Window

 Captain John outside the Attic Window

Captain John inside the Rumbling Bald Caves

After our cave exploration, John and I met up with the rest of the group and headed over to Chimney Rock Village where we would begin our main adventure of the day!

Rainbow Falls is part of the recent Chimney Rock State Park expansion.  However, it is very difficult to get to without going through private property.  Fortunately Andy had a plan!

The first part of the hike offered up some really nice views across the gorge of Hickory Nut Falls!  Some pops of late season fall color was an added bonus!

Hickory Nut Falls

 Chimney Rock State Park

Hickory Nut Falls

We continued on up the mountain until we were within earshot of the un-named stream that Rainbow Falls is located on.  The topo map showed potential for additional drops downstream, so we decided to head towards the creek.

We were rewarded with a beauty of a waterfall that none of us had ever been to or was even aware of.  We are calling this one Flamboyant Falls!

 Flamboyant Falls

 The Professor at Flamboyant Falls

 Flamboyant Falls

Spencer at the Top of Flamboyant Falls

Note:  at the time, we thought we were still inside the State Park Boundary, but I believe Flamboyant Falls is located on private property.  We did not come across any no tresspassing signs or property boundary markers.

Continuing on up, we came across some impressive boulder fields which some of us took time to explore!

Carlos on the Rocks!

Me taking a shortcut through the rocks!
(photo by Jill Cash)

Jill checking out the rock cave

 Carlos and the Professor

Eventually we arrived at the spectacular Rainbow Falls!

 Rainbow Falls

 The Badger and Spencer at Rainbow Falls

 Selfie with The Badger at Rainbow Falls

Cameron at Rainbow Falls

After a nice long break at Rainbow Falls it was time to either head back or continue on!

How do we plan to get from here to there?

About half the group decided to continue on up the mountain, while the rest of us decided to head on back.  I wasn't in the mood to be hiking after dark and I had a college football game I wanted to get home to, so I went with the group that decided to head on back!

Christy and The Badger heading down from Rainbow Falls

Andy and I did decided to check out another short section of stream between Rainbow and Flamboyant Falls and found a few smaller waterfalls and cascades.

For the final stretch of the hike, we enjoyed some additional views of Hickory Nut Falls and ended the day at a small carnival in Chimney Rock Village!

 Back on Pavement

Badger Selfie

 Me after the hike at Chimney Rock Village

This was the perfect way for me to celebrate Black Friday!

My complete set of photos is posted here: