Tag Archives: North Carolina

A Walk in the Woods






Mule Days Outtakes

These are some pictures that didn’t make the final cut into my 2010 Mule Days photo gallery. Some of them didn’t end up fitting into the overall theme of the project, but I still liked them as individual shots. Others are similar to other pictures that made it into the gallery, but I didn’t feel like they really said anything new or added anything to the project.

Click any image to open up a fullscreen viewer. Click here to see the rest of the pics in the final edit.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Mule Days, Come and Gone

Finally, Benson is back to normal after a busy weekend of rodeos, street fairs and wagons backing up traffic. I’ve put together a photo gallery from the weekend that tries to show just a little bit of what Mule Days is about.

This is the third Mule Days festival I have experienced since Kristen and I moved to Benson. It was the first time I haven’t been working for a newspaper over the weekend, and so I decided it would be worthwhile to try and put together a photo essay of my own. My main goal in picture taking was simply to improve my photography skills. I had hoped to get pictures from throughout the week — before, during and after the main celebration Friday and Saturday — that show a comprehensive look at everything going on. As the weekend got closer, however, Kristen, Samuel and I got progressively sicker. By Friday night, our plans to go to the rodeo turned into plans to go to bed early, after loading up on ibuprofen and pseudoephedrine. It may have worked out better this way, however, as I never could formulate a solid plan for tying all of my pictures from the different events together. My current edit is more focused on trying to convey the atmosphere around the campgrounds and the street fair, which is really the hub of the event.

You can see the current collection of pictures here.


Asheville

 

Last weekend Kristen, Samuel and I piled into the car, slipped onto I-40 and headed west. Our friends Sam and Heather had moved to Asheville a few months earlier, and we were long overdue for a visit. We arrived Saturday afternoon and proceeded to the Pisgah National Forest for a late picnic lunch. Once our burgers were gone, we let Sam and Samuel splash around in the stream a bit before we moved a little further into the forest. When we got to Looking Glass Falls, a few rays from the late afternoon sun managed to pierce the summer foliage, casting a brilliant rainbow that seemed to dance in and out of the mist on the water’s surface. A fairly large crowd had gathered to take in the sight, and several people decided to wade out into the pool at the base of the waterfall. Not bad for Samuel’s first mountain-top experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Terror of the South

museum2The last time my brother Jacob spent the weekend with us Kristen and I took him to the North Carolina Museum of History, where we could spend all day studying photographs and learning about how people lived in our state years ago. Jacob enjoyed the museum for a few minutes here and there — a new pirate exhibit and the complete gun-making workshop of Dunn-native “Carbine” Williams caught his interest — but for the most part, he dutifully followed us around and told us how bored he was. We promised the next time he stayed with us we would go to the more kid-friendly Museum of Natural Science. We got the opportunity last weekend.

I visited the science museum often as a child when my dad would take me and my younger brothers strolling through on Saturdays while my mom was at work. At that time, the coolest things in the museum were a fake T-Rex skull in the foyer and an impressive blue whale skeleton that hung high overhead in its own exhibit hall. Years ago the museum underwent a major renovation, and though I had stepped in from time to time, I hadn’t taken the opportunity to really soak it all up before.

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Obviously bored with his audience, this guy made his own perfectly sized hammock to chill out in.

One of the highlights of the museum is a prominent exhibit hall with a fully-developed dinosaur display. The old T-Rex model still greets guests as they walk up the stairs, but the star of the show is a full size display of Acrocanthosaurus. The dinosaur supposedly lived 45 million years before the first Tyrannosaur arrived on the scene. More importantly, “Acro” as he’s affectionally called at the museum, lived in the southern states from Texas to Maryland (including North Carolina) while his larger, younger and better-known brethren hung out on the West Coast.

Acro circling his prey.

Acro circling his prey.

The skeleton at the museum in Raleigh is only 53 percent authentic, with the rest being cast models of bone. Still, this is the most complete Acro remains found to date. Only four sets of Acro bones have ever been found, making this dinosaur one of the rarest known to science. At just 40 feet long, Acro doesn’t have the size of T-Rex, but he made up for it with an aggression all his own. While T-Rex is largely believed to be a scavenger, Acro was taking on dinos twice his size to grab a bite of lunch.

As strongly as I believe our state needs to keep a better grasp of how they spend money and reign in some dollars that aren’t being used in the best way, I am very proud to have such fine museums in our capital city. These projects represent a great use of state funds because they are offered to the benefit of everyone, everyday, free of charge. Most of the exhibits, including the $3 million Acro skelton, are funded through donations and grants from companies and individuals. The state keeps the doors open, the lights on and the payroll staffed with experts who can educate the citizenry — school children, seniors and guys like me who just like to know stuff — whenever they take the time to ask.

An open rainforest exhibit, staffed by teenaged-volunteers, is planted on the top floor the museum and is free and open to the public. A similar attraction costs tourist $13 each in Myrtle Beach before business dropped off and it shut down.

An open rainforest exhibit, staffed by teenaged-volunteers, is planted on the top floor of the museum and is free and open to the public. A similar attraction cost tourists $13 each in Myrtle Beach before business dropped off and it shut down.

Kristen and Acro

Kristen and Acro


Wilson Creek

This post was originally published as a gallery page on April 20, 2009. It has been moved into the blog for archive purposes.

Kristen and I spent two nights in the Wilson Creek wilderness area, just south of Grandfather Mountain, over Easter weekend in 2009. We had intended to stay for longer, but, being freshmen backpackers, we weren’t able to accurately pace ourselves using the rough map of the area.

Click any image in the sequence to open up a slideshow viewer.

At least we started the trip on the right note. This was our first time backpacking together, and the first real outing we used our new Canon 450D.

At least we started the trip on the right note. This was our first time backpacking together, and the first real outing we used our new Canon 450D.

 
Our trail followed the Lost Cove Creek for the first four miles. The lightly blazed trail crossed the river every few hundred yards, usually with no 'easy' way across.

Our trail followed the Lost Cove Creek for the first four miles. The lightly blazed trail crossed the river every few hundred yards, usually with no 'easy' way across.

 
We didn't start hiking our first day until about 5:30 p.m., giving just a couple of hours to get familiar with the terrain before we had to set up camp.

We didn't start hiking our first day until about 5:30 p.m., giving just a couple of hours to get familiar with the terrain before we had to set up camp.

 
Kristen managed to find the sun, despite cloudy skies and thick rhododendron overhead.

Kristen managed to find the sun, despite cloudy skies and thick rhododendron overhead.

 
Having not passed anyone but a group of a day hikers who started at the same time as we had, we just set up camp on the trail by the creek our first night.

Having not passed anyone but a group of a day hikers who started at the same time as we had, we just set up camp on the trail by the creek our first night.

 
Posing together after breakfast.

Posing together after breakfast.

 
Much to our surprise, barely 100 feet from our camp site was a beautiful set of waterfalls we lounged by the next morning.

Much to our surprise, barely 100 feet from our camp site was a beautiful set of waterfalls we lounged by the next morning.

 
In April the water was still too cool for swimming, though it was tempting.

In April the water was still too cool for swimming, though it was tempting.

 
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Water crashing off a rock

 
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We spent hours baking on the cool rock, reading, eating grapes and listening to the rushing water on Easter Sunday.

 
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Waterfalls feed a whirlpool perfect for soaking.

 
Kristen and Dulles romping on the rocks.

Kristen and Dulles romping on the rocks.

 
Another mile or so down the trail and we came across this towering blue waterfall that emptied into a multi-tiered lake.

Another mile or so down the trail and we came across this towering blue waterfall.

 
Kristen rests after reading by a mountain lake Sunday afternoon.

Kristen rests after reading by a mountain lake Sunday afternoon.

 
We camped just above this waterfall, which poured down another tier before emptying into a crystal lake.

We camped just above this waterfall, which poured down another tier before emptying into a crystal lake.

 
Camping in the Blue Ridge.

Camping in the Blue Ridge.

 
A mountain watering hole.

A mountain watering hole.

 
Loaded up and ready for the home stretch.

Loaded up and ready for the home stretch.

 
The only crossing where staying dry was an option.

The only crossing where staying dry was an option.

 
Days well spent.

Days well spent.