The Lost Beach



Cape Lookout Island.  Only accessible by Ferry, and with no paved roads.  It was once a home to a small fishing community but is now owned by the National Park system.


A short walk away from the tourist area, down the lonely shoreline, and remnants of the island’s past begin to appear. 

Barnacle laden debris from the houses burned down by owners who refused to let them become acquired by the government. 

And maybe parts from an old car that became engulfed in a sandstorm, only to appear again some time later. 
Conch shells, still inhabited by their original owner can easily be found in the shallow waters. 

This beach is different than others. A beach forgotten.





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Driving on Mars

During the dive away from the Grand Canyon, towards northern Arizona, the landscape grew more and more like nothing I had ever seen.
Around every curve was an entire new world. It was a valley, with sharp red cliffs rising up to the sky.  Then around just another curve, the road was on the top of a mountain, looking out over a flat golden plateau. Snow capped mountains stood in the distance.
It felt like another planet. Like Mars.
Every so often was a house, or a trailer, or what could be considered a minuscule town. But mostly, there was no sign of civilization.
The farther the drive, the more alien the landscape looked. Eventually the curvy desert roads led to this bridge. Red mountains surrounded the area, while the bright blue Colorado river flowed beneath the bridge, heading towards the Grand Canyon.
The goal was to reach Monument Valley by dusk, so not much time could be spent in this foreign place. But it stands out in my mind as one of my favorite areas of Arizona.
I hope to one day return.

 

We Found a Lighthouse on Belle Isle


On our Belle Isle Adventures, we passed by what appeared to be an old lighthouse, so we turned the car around to go check it out.

Only to find out the roads were one way around the whole island. 

 We tried driving the wrong way for a few minutes, but a few other random people who also came to explore this place on a cold Thanksgiving day freaked out honking at us.

So we took the long way around.



Finally we were parked and set off down the long muddy trail. 

Towards  the eerie lighthouse, sitting in the desolate field. 







But the lighthouse was was farther away than it looked, and the ground was getting muddier and mudder. Plus we didn’t want to be late for the Thanksgiving feast. So we ran all the way back to the car and raced to dinner.

Time to Explore the Power Plant


Bailey Power Plant has stood abandoned for years. As long as I can remember, it has been this mysterious run-down industrial building, surrounded by a huge wire fence, but begging to be explored.

 I never had the courage to sneak in though.

It has been undergoing renovations for the past few years now, just as all the old tobacco factories have.

But on this day, as the renovations are getting closer to completion, the fence was finally down. The power plant was open for wandering.


The inside of the building still requires much work, but it was exciting to be able to wander around the outside, under all the tunnels and bridges that remained illusive for so many years.







The view inside the broken windows




A space that was once a muddy swamp, is becoming a nice little patio with string lighting. I imagine it will be a popular spot when summer comes.






















This area that was once a ghost town, is now turning into one of the most popular parts of the city and I can’t wait to see it continue. 

What We Discovered on Our Belle Isle Adventures


During the adventures on Belle Isle, we discovered a beautiful green house and conservatory.

Since it was the morning of Thanksgiving, there wasn’t anyone else in sight. 

The whole island appeared abandoned. Although I’m sure in the warmer months, it can be quite the popular place to visit. 









The green houses seemed so eerie on this bitter cold day.




We also discovered what is apparently the oldest aquarium in the country.  Now I really want to go back and visit when it’s open!


The BIG Hike


When planning a trip to explore the mountains, I wanted to include a hike; one we hadn’t been on before. On a quick search I found a trail to the top of Hawksbill Mountain. It was labeled as moderate, 2.2 miles round trip, with 360 views of the mountain range. That was the one!

During the drive up the the mountains, I spotted the mountain peak that this trail led to.  It stood out high among the mountain range.  It was going to be a big hike!

We traveled along the curvy mountain roads and before we knew it, the pavement ended and we were left with a road of dirt, barely enough for two cars to pass.  One side was against the mountain, the other side a steep drop through the trees. This hike was already seeming to be intense, and we were still in the car. 

Were we up for it?  I hope so, because no turning back now!

Eventually we saw the small entrance to the trail and parked precariously on the edge of the dirt road. The mountain top towered above us.  

Soon we would be on top. If we could make it!


The hike started off simple enough, a narrow cleared path through the trees with a small incline. The sunlight trickled through the autumn colored trees.

 But as we ventured on, the incline became steeper and steeper.



Every so often there would be a break in the trees. A glimpse of how high we were.










The hiking guide said the trail would become steep towards the end, so every time the incline increased I thought “We must be nearly there!!”

But on we hiked. 

Until we were scaling over rocks, almost straight up!

It was supposed to  be about 1 mile to the top. But had I read that right?  I second guessed myself as we climbed the rocks, almost completely out of breath. 





But soon enough, the ground began to level out and we found ourselves at the top, overlooking the vast Blue Ridge mountain range and the valleys below. 


The big hike was a success!  We spent quite a long time at the top, taking in the views.  

The hike back down was so easy, in fact, we were so pumped from the hike up there that we ran all the way down the mountain.  It took us over an hour to get up, but less than half an hour to race back down!

Now I am looking forward to even more big hikes!

Snow Maze



Whenever it snows I just want to be out in it, exploring. Everything has a diffeernt look to it when its all covered in white. On the day it snowed last, I went exploring downtown. I wandered all over. 

Eventually I came to this little park I always forget exists. 

A little waterfall, with suspended concrete walkways all around.



Nobody was around as I wandered up the steps and navigated the little maze. With views of the snowy city all around.








It’s always interesting what you can discover, or rediscover, when you wander around.