My 15 Favorite Photos for the Year 2015

Inspired by Jeff of Planet Bell and Rechito of Expedition Hobo, I decided to come up with my very own photo journal year-ender. Actually, this is such a great idea that I will try to do this every year for my blog. It’s so simple. Just look back at my photos from the past year and decide which ones  make the cut. I am going for 15 photos this year.

For me, 2015 has been a much better year than the last one. I can’t complain. There was not a lot of international travel as we only went to the Dominican Republic in May and to the Caribbean early in December. I haven’t even blogged about our Caribbean trip yet as that would have to happen in the next few days. But for the most part, my annual travel report involves local travel and the outdoors (and a lot of waterfalls!). Personally, I grew as a blogger and as a wife. Mid year, my hubby and I also sorta switched careers from being a regular nurse to a traveling nurse (sounds familiar?) which made our lives much more interesting and dare I say, certainly not stress-free.

Without much further ado, here are my faves. Hope you like them as much as I loved them!

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Moore Cove Falls, North Carolina
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Moore Creek, North Carolina
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Looking Glass Falls, North Carolina
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Triple Falls, North Carolina
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Ruby Falls, Tennessee
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Blue Ridge Mountains, North Carolina
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Linville River, North Carolina
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Old Mt. Mitchell Trail, Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina
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Mt. Mitchell, North Carolina
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Cascada El Limon, Samana, Dominican Republic
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Playa El Valle, Samana, Dominican Republic
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Playa El Valle, Samana, Dominican Republic
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Dominican Treehouse Village, Samana, Dominican Republic
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dandelion in Melbourne, Florida
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young boy, Samana, Dominican Republic

 

“I’m singing in the rain…”

It’s getting colder here in our part of the world and in Asheville, the rains are simply sporadic and forever. I can tell that Asheville is ready to kick us out too because every time my hubby and I have a day off together, it rains and rains and rains with no signs of letting up for the day. What is there to do when the weather is wet?

You can either stay at home, watch netflix forever and ever and cuddle over coffee or tea or… you enjoy the outdoors! Why not?

Yes, the outdoors, rain or shine. That’s what we decided to do one gloomy, cloudy rainy day. For those who have been reading our (mis)adventures in Asheville, we have been doing mostly outdoorsy stuff, exploring and adventuring wherever our feet lands us. This time, I let hubby pick the trail we were going to hike on.

So we donned our hiking and rain gear and braved the weather. Today, we bring you Looking Glass Falls. It is about an hour’s drive from Asheville headed South and into Pisgah National Forest through the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. It is a beautiful drive as always with the trees in full fall color despite the wetness of the environment making the leaves look dull with the grey skies overhead.

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Can you imagine if this were a sunny day?

Looking Glass Falls is one of the popular waterfalls in Western North Carolina due to its easy accessibility from the roadside. You can see it driving along the Forest Heritage Scenic Byway. There is a small parking space along the side of the road and stairs to bring you down closer to this 60 foot waterfall. No hiking involved. DSCN0593.jpgDSCN0589.jpg

When the water flow is lower, you can wade over the stream and swim by the waterfalls but be careful because the rocks can be slippery. Heavy rains can bring about such a high volume of water over the falls that it would be too dangerous to even come close to the edge.

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No swimming today!

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After spending a few minutes here, taking photos and gingerly climbing over rocks, we decided to move on to another “secret” destination my hubby had planned. Take note, there were only about eight people here and most of them from Florida! I guess it is practical to sightsee when it is raining. You don’t have to push and shove to get a good picture.

A couple of miles down the road, there is another hiking trail that leads to another waterfall. Moore Cove Falls is not as popular as Looking Glass Falls but is pretty in its own unique way. It is an easy 1.5 miles roundtrip hike. There are no signs along the road but there is an information board and a stone bridge near the small parking lot.

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The stone bridge over Moore Creek

The trail head is just past the information board crossing a wooden walkway before hitting the dirt. It was covered with leaves in different shades of gold that day.

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In full rain gear

The rain poured harder this time so we were rushing a little bit. I still managed to sneak in a shot or two using my handy dandy Nikon coolpix water proof, shock proof, freeze proof camera! Perfect for this kinda weather.

Upon reaching the end of the trail, there was a viewing platform and if you are adventurous enough, you can step around it and actually come closer and get BEHIND the waterfalls!

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How cool is that?!?

The waterfall is 50 feet high and its stream is greatly affected by the weather. Heavy rain means pouring water while drought could slow its flow down to a mere trickle. Hence, my hubby picked this one on this particular rainy day.

Take note again. We had this place all to ourselves.

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Under and behind the waterfalls

My camera actually ran out of battery after this shot. A few more minutes of exploring the nooks and crannies of this somewhat cave-like place then we went back in a hurry. At the back of my mind, I had visions of the stream rising fast and flash floods following suit. No, we are not going to be in some news story about two Asian hikers lost in the woods or worse, washed away by the floods. Meh. I just have an overactive imagination.

We get back to the car wet and cold and safe.

Next on our agenda was to find the nearest Starbucks. Quick!

Week Three: Exploring Work and Dupont State Forest

I have a confession to make.

I have been lousy keeping up with my blog lately. Not even getting on my Reader and catching up with everyone else’s. Blame it on our new environment. Blame it on change, on adjusting. What’s more, there is so much to do here in Asheville that finding time to sit on my computer and think about writing appears quite boring compared to the myriad of fun and exciting stuff you can do.

*I know, makes me a bad blogger!!!*

Not that people will miss me because there is also so much stuff going on in your lives as well. Maybe because it is summer. Or maybe, just maybe, because, Asheville.

Tonight happens to be one of those “slow” nights when hubby is out to work. So here I am. Pounding away on my keyboards and catching up with y’all. I work best when I’m alone anyways.

The past week was spent exploring the outdoors and exploring our new work environment. Of course, we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for work, right? I finally was on my own, had 3-4 patients give or take. This is so much better compared to the crazy work load I had in Florida! The people at work are friendly and helpful which is such a big plus when you are the newbie and thrown in immediately in the middle of everything after only two days of orientation. Mind you, it can be quite chaotic. I always ask whenever I don’t know something and try to be a team player inasmuch as my thirteen weeks will let me. After my thirty six hours of work that week are done, I happily take off my nursing cap and eagerly put on my adventure hat.

This week, it is…

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The DuPont State Recreational Forest is 10,400 acres of natural beauty located in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Western North Carolina. It is an outdoor lover’s paradise. It has miles and miles of trails for hiking, horseback riding and mountain biking. Hunting and fishing are also permitted. The Little River and Grassy Creek provide the source for the many beautiful waterfalls you will see along the trails.

Since we are into hiking (and not any of those other activities mentioned above), we decided to check out the waterfalls. There were three of them on the trail that we took, all gorgeous and picturesque in its own unique ways. We hiked about three hours with lunch break and short stops for rest included. And don’t forget photos and some play time too. So we were never really rushing, we took our own sweet time walking and enjoying the views.

At our last waterfall stop, we had to come back to the first one (High Falls) since we wanted to just get our tootsies wet and stay for awhile, we found out that there were more waterfalls and rivers and lakes out there. Ah, wish we had more time! We definitely will be back to check out the rest and make sure to have enough time to wade and swim in the refreshing cool waters.

Happy summer!!!

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High Falls from above
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High Falls from below

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Triple Falls up close
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Triple Falls from a distance

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The last one was where we saw almost a hundred young people playing and swimming in the pool below the falls. There were families with young kids and dogs too. It can get pretty crowded around here specially during summer and around lunch time. So best to start early to avoid the crowds.

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Hooker Falls
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shoes anyone?

Fun fact: did you know the movie “The Last of the Mohicans” and part of “The Hunger Games” were filmed here?