Tag Archives: Wayah Bald

Summer is Almost Over

8 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

Being a life long (almost) Florida resident statements like summer is almost over once the 4th of July passes always evoked an eye roll from me. Florida summer tends to end in December.

Now that we spend summers in the wonderful North Carolina mountains, I can identify with the summer is almost over sentiment. In fact, I will go as far as to say, the year is almost over and it is not just flying, it is racing!

In June our daughter flew up for a short visit just before Father’s day. We picked her up at the Asheville airport and decided to maximize her visit time by abandoning the boring Interstate-40 and exploring The Blue Ridge Parkway. We would drive from Asheville all the way to Cherokee, NC. But first we stopped at Publix supermarket to get a box of their fried chicken. My husband loves it.

We had loaded some bag chairs into the truck in anticipation of an adventure.

While we were eating and relaxing, we watched a van arrive and a family spilled out, eager to explore. The children and teens headed for a small rock face and scrambled up, Oh the memories of our children’s excitement to escape the car and climb. I did experience a very small twinge of worry for the climbers but brushed it aside.

The drive from the airport usually take around an hour and a half. This day, with all of our lollygagging the trip took 5 hours and it was worth every minute.

One morning after her return to Florida, our daughter texted me that our security camera captured a bear on our back porch. The image was fuzzy but when we checked my husband’s game camera there he was. We marveled at his balance as he stole seeds from the bird feeder. He visited two more times until we got smart and began bringing in our feeders at night.

Last week the daughter of a cousin stopped by to spend a couple of nights with us. Last year she set out on her dream of traveling across America, living in her car and supporting her adventure as a delivery person for Door Dash. She was very happy to have a whole bedroom to herself as well as a shower anytime she wanted. She did work the supper hours while she was with us.

One morning the three of us drove up to our favorite place, Wayah Bald. She loves the outdoors and we hoped she would enjoy it as much as we do. The elevation is around a mile high and the air there is fresh and usually cooler. The famous Appalachian Trail runs through the bald and we were excited to see a truck parked near the path with a sign reading, Trail Magic. We spent several enjoyable minutes talking with the generous family.

The Hungry Hiker explains Trail Magic:

What is Trail Magic? Trail Magic is when someone does something really nice for you, unexpectedly, out on the trail, usually without expecting anything in return. Trail Magic can come from someone you know or most of the time, a complete stranger. We call people who provide Trail Magic, Trail Angels.

Trail Magic can come in many forms: a ride into town or back to the trail, food, cold soda, snacks, water caches, a place to stay in town, care packages sent to a town stop on trail, a cooler full of chopped fruit, lawn chairs in the shade, etc.

A few days later, the daughter of another cousin came to visit. She is a lovely person to spend time with chatting on the porch. On the final day of her stay we had lunch together at the Clayton Cafe, Clayton Georgia. It was my first time there and I will be going back! If you are ever driving up into the North Carolina mountains on highway 441, consider stopping there. It has everything including a wine tasting area! I love small towns.

Yes, the summer is moving quickly by. Next week we have more cousins arriving! I think this will call for another visit to The Clayton Cafe.

I'm a winner

After my retirement, I decided to re-learn the canning and preserving skills I learned from my mother but hadn’t practiced for twenty years. I titled the blog Old Things R New to chronicle my experience.  Since then I have been blessed to have six other bloggers join me, DiVoran Lites, Bill Lites,  Judy Wills, Louise Gibson, Janet Perez Eckles and Melody Hendrix

In addition to blogging, I work as the publicist/marketer/ amateur editor and general  “mom Friday” for my author daughter, Rebekah Lyn. I also manage her website, Rebekah Lyn Books  

My 2021 goal is continue touse my love of photographs and words to be an encourager on social media. You can visit Real Life Books and Media You Tube Channel if you would like to view some of the mini-videos I have created for our church, Gateway Community in Titusville, Fl.

Life After Christmas

5 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I am emerging from my Christmas fog. It began in mid December when I succumbed to a sinus infection. Since I am rarely sick, I spent quite a bit of time in denial. That might have been a contributing factor for the fog. Suddenly, it was Christmas, then Christmas eve. I do remember that we had a lovely Christmas morning with our children and grand children, then the fog descended once more.  I emerged again to celebrate our daughter’s birthday with a drive to Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee.

The trip had been planned for several weeks but after the fires roared through the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and down into Gatlinburg, it took on a poignant mood. We drove through one of the hardest hit areas, Chalet Village, and the devastation was heartbreaking. Out of respect for the owners and those who had lost loved ones, we did not take pictures.  If you would like to volunteer your time to help the hurting families, visit Volunteer East Tennessee

We ended our day in Pigeon Forge at The Island. The two big restaurants are The Timberline Grill and Paula Deen and there is an assortment of shops as well as an area with a carnival atmosphere including one of the new Eye rides. It is very pretty at night.

The Island

Two days later we drove to one of our favorite places in Franklin, Wayah Bald. Wayah was one of many National Park areas that were targeted for arson during November and December and we were anxious to see how the park fared. We knew that the roof on the fire tower had burned, but we were unprepared for the extent of the damage to the Flame Azalea plants as well as the smaller trees that lined the path. It was also odd to see green foliage next to burned tree trunks.

 I do clearly remember New Year’s Eve. We spent the evening with at least fifty talkative cousins, aunts and uncles. I love them so much! I have high hopes the fog is gone!

Snow is predicted for tomorrow night. We haven’t had snow yet this winter so I am excited and I have the required milk and bread! Hopefully I will have some pictures and a story  to share next week.

If you are in the path of the storm, stay safe and warm. If you are in Florida, you might want to pull out that sweater you seldom have the chance to wear.


Crazy Hot Weather

7 Jul

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

The weather here in our area has been crazy hot.  Fortunately, here in the North Carolina mountains, one can escape the worst of the heat by heading to the higher elevations. Our daughter, Rebekah, has been visiting the last week and we have revisited some of our favorite cool spots. Our first escape was to Wayah Bald and the fire tower. It’s elevation is around a mile high and a nice breeze was stirring the air. I didn’t take a picture from the fire tower as we have a lot of those, but now I regret not snapping a fresh one. We did picnic at one of the concrete picnic tables tucked into the woods.


We had planned a 4th of July picnic at another favorite, Standing Indian Campground, but we didn’t get motivated to get moving so I declared it a PJ day.  A good time was had by all. : )

The following day began with rain, but we decided to proceed with our planned visit to Standing Indian. In the mountains, it can be raining on one mountain and dry as a bone on the other. We did run into some scattered showers, but not enough to ruin our day. At 3,880 feet, Standing Indian doesn’t have the elevation of Wayah Bald, but the rain had left a cool breeze so we were quite comfortable. In fact, we had to don our lightweight jackets for a time. At Wayah, we took sandwiches but since we knew Standing Indian had a spacious pavilion, we decided to grill hot dogs. We have a battered Volcano Grill and love it. It folds up nicely and runs on your choice of three types of fuel.

On Wednesday we made a new discovery, Mud Creek Falls,  an easily accessible waterfall in Sky Valley, Georgia. We learned of it from friends but had not yet made the trip to see it. Since Rebekah was up here visiting and writing, it seemed like a good time to explore. We made a couple of wrong turns but once we found it, we realized it was very easy to get to. The falls are perfect for folks who can’t walk far,as you can view them from your car. There are also three picnic tables where you can enjoy a meal to the music of the water. Since we had breakfast out, we didn’t pack a lunch.


On the way home, we stopped by Georgia’s Black Rock Mountain State Park. At a previous visit the ranger had told us to return at the end of June for a spectacular Rhododendron display. We must have been too late, but it was still fun to drive through the park and stop off at some overlooks.

One thing we saw at a couple of the parks was the awesome kindness of leaving a walking stick that was picked up along the way, next to a trail marker or collection box for someone else to use.


The temps have cooled down and it’s not so crazy hot. Rebekah is working on her seventh novel while she is visiting. She has decided that five hours of “exploring” and five hours of writing is the perfect combination. I have read the first half of her new novel, which is a sequel to Jessie and I can’t wait for her to finish it.

While we were at Mud Creek Falls, my husband pointed out an incredible tree, whose roots were laced into a large boulder. Immediately these words flowed into my heart, what are you rooted into, are you rooted into me, the solid rock?  It looks like the dirt has been washed away from the roots but the tree is firmly planted on the solid rock.


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