The Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy and the Friends of the Smokies hosted a hike today at Cataloochee Ranch, a guest ranch located on Fie Top Mountain over 5500 ft elevation above Maggie Valley NC. There was a great group of 40 or so that braved the cold temperature (for our area) of around freezing to take a 4 mile walk in the woods on the Walhalla Trail, so named (I learned today) because from the summit of the first rise you can see into South Carolina, pointed toward the little burg of Walhalla (where btw we travel often for hunt tests). That is Sky in the blue coat in the middle of the people, my little social butterfly.
Our lead hiker was Judy Coker, daughter of the family that founded the ranch originally in Cataloochee Valley, which was taken over by the park service in the 30's; so the Alexander's moved to the top of Fie Top to continue providing a wonderland for guests to come and enjoy the cool temperatures and solitude of the mountains. Rich, from the conservancy, asked us to gather mid hike for a group picture, couldn't resist taking a picture of him taking our picture.
Leaving the ranch, had to catch a pic of Sky, she was tired and ready for a rest - the wind was blowing 20 mi an hour, she was so happy to get back into the car. Thank you Sky for posing for one last picture by the sign!
This pic and the following one are from the first hike we took at Cataloochee Ranch, Sky was 4 mos old and the weather was (obviously) damp and foggy, and very cool. She had a great time and it was then I realized what a wonderful, outgoing, and personable puppy I had the good fortune to bring into our home and hearts (not that I didn't fall in love with her from the get go lol!)
Our hiking buddy Susan took us on a 7.2 mi (round trip) hike up the Big East Fork to Greasy Cove Creek (don't you love the names here?). It was a wonderful sunny winter day and the creek is amazing, and full of trout!
I should not have gotten Sky in the water, the water temperature is cold, cold, cold, but I threw a small stick in the shallows and it sank, Sky being the good retriever she has become, swam all the way across the stream looking for something to bring back! I found a stick (that would float!) and threw it across near her, she picked it up and came back across with it, what a girl Sky! BTW, when you see a mountain creek with this green cast, you know it is freezing cold!
Our hiking buddy laid down her drink bottle to take some pics, and Sky being the neat nik she is decided to pick it up and carry it around. She was very gentle and returned it to hand after she got to run on the rocks with it for a bit. We were both tired after this longer than usual hike, if I walked 7.2 miles, she must have done 14. It is very true, a tired Weim is a good Weim!
Hard to believe we were these young people in love starting our life together 35 years ago. We had a Weimaraner in our lives then, Count Paysinger II, aka Buddy. He led us to Misty, Dusty, Echo, Sage, Caper, Fracas, and now our wonderful Sky! So it was fitting that I gave Joe an anniversary card that featured Sky's dam, Trixie on the front of the card! Here's to 35 more wonderful years!
Sky and George often take "morning naps" while we are getting ready for work. I happened to have my camera ready to take a few shots. As we say here in the mountains, George is as long as a dead snake when he stretches out!
Of course, both of them had to open their eyes as soon as they sensed the camera, but it shows what a rough life these two have. It's snowing today in our neck of the woods, so hopefully will have some pics to post later in the day of playing in the snow (our first this winter!)
Didn't have time to drive to our beautiful hiking areas today, so Sky and I took a walk at nearby Lake Junaluska. It is in the center of a Methodist Church retreat area and named after the Cherokee Indian Chief who invented a written form of the Cherokee language. They have added sidewalks around the lower half of the lake so we were able to get in a nice 4 mile walk, and only 20 min from my house!
You may notice lots of shoreline and little water, every 3-5 yrs they draw down the lake to dredge to accumulated silt brought in by the river that feeds the lake. Erosion is a problem in our mountainous area and sediment run off would eventually fill the lake. Even though it is an urban area, it is a very nice place to get in some exercise with Sky and a wonderful place to socialize any dog. There is always a supply of joggers, bikers, kids in strollers, ducks, other dogs and their people, and walkers who usually will stop to say hi if invited.
Lightfoot Weimaraners began in 1980 with Ch Skytops Misty Blue CD, TD, NSD, NRD, VX, BROM. With much support from breeder Helen Remaley we accomplished so much with Misty and she became the foundation for Lightfoot. Our latest addition is now CH Grayhart Lightfoot Early Morning Rain TD, JH, RN, NA, NAJ, NSD,NRD VX aka Sky, from Linda & Walter Hartheimer. Sky, who loves all she meets, is proving to be a versatile, fun and energetic addition to our family.