Helton Creek Falls


Just north of Walasi-Yi at the bottom of Blood Mountain, flows Helton Creek. Following a gravel road filled with ruts and rivulets leads to Helton Creek Falls. I’ve been to the falls on a handful of occasions, but only in mid summer. During the warm season, the creek is well behaved and though great to visit, the falls themselves are not awe inspiring. However, during my visit in December, the rain was relentless for several days before the sun came out.

With the sun cooperating, Josh and I drove over the blood to see the the water and hike a little on the Appalachian Trail. As you can see, the upper falls were spectacular. The water flew over the top and thundered into the pool at the bottom. Josh pointed out the sun caught in the mist and we both started shooting.


Just as wonderful were the lower falls. While the upper falls are vertical, the lower falls have a shallower slope. However, they were just as amazing as they roared by. We had better access to the lower falls and I could feel the strength of the water as it flowed by.

I’m glad we had the day together.Getting out with our cameras is always something that we both enjoy. Downtown, in the mountains, or in the forest, we always manage to have a great time.



In northern Georgia, at the top of Blood Mountain is one of the most wonderful views you will see in the area. The mountain is crowned by Walasi-Yi (pronounced Wa La See Yee and means The Big Frog), a small interpretive center and hiking supply store. It’s the only location along the AppalachianTrail  that passes under a roof. The area is also known as Neels gap (originally named Frog Town) and is just thirty miles or so from the beginning of the trail.


Located in front of the store, is a massive oak with dozens of boots hanging from its branches. When I look at them, I wonder about the stories they could tell of the many thousands of miles they have seen along the trail. Some look almost new while others are patched with duct tape and are barely holding together.

If you’ve ever hiked the AT, let us know in the comments.

Georgia Museum of Art

Georgia 2015-04804

I was in Atlanta over the Thanksgiving holiday and had the pleasure of visiting the Georgia Museum of Art. Located on the UGA campus, the museum is small, but has always been a favorite. True to form, the visit was really enjoyable. There were several new exhibits…at least new to me, and as always, their collection of primitive furniture is wonderful. However there was an exhibit of instruments and materials used by American brass bands in the 19th century and a collection of needlework created by early 19th century girls.

Georgia 2015-04794

The highlight was a fantastic display of Japanese Samurai armor and weapons. Each piece was gorgeous and amazing in the artwork and styling. Certainly, I can’t think of any other implements of battle that can come close in terms of beauty.

If you are an art lover and ever find your self in Athens, Georgia. Give the museum a try. I think you will like it quite a bit.


the wee one


What we have here is the newest and possibly the most smiling McMurdo family baby. He is the first of his generation and the son of my niece, Katie.

This is the first trip to Atlanta during which I had the chance to spend quite a bit of time with him. Did I say that he smiles? Maybe smile is not the right word. His entire face lights up. When the edges of his mouth begin to move upwards, his eyes grow wide, his head tilts back, and suddenly you are presented with a full facial, whole body, grin.

But, not in this picture. All of the grinning wore him out and he decided that his MiMi’s chest was the perfect place to lay his head and look at what his Uncle Tim is up to.

be quiet

Be Quiet, Mummy Is Taking a Nap


Be quiet, Mummy is sleeping.

Tuesday, Josh and I visited the Michael C. Carlos Museum located on the Emery University campus in Atlanta, GA.  It's a little known jewel of a museum with one of the best antiquities collections (European and the Americas) that I've seen in the U.S. 

The last time we went, was when the kids were about twelve or so. We had lunch at Everybody's Pizza and then crossed the street to the museum. Unfortunately, Everybody's is no more, but the museum is still there, bigger and better than ever.


Going to the Carlos!


The building was designed so that both the exterior and interior leave you with the feeling that you are experiencing an ancient temple.


Carlos Stairs


The Boy on Stairs


The museum was a great way to top off the afternoon after a day at the Aquarium and lunch at Willy's. You know that both Josh and I were packing cameras every step of the way. It's our thing.

Have a great day folks.


seeing the boy


Today is one of those wonderful days that have you giddy the entire week. I’ve been wearing a grin that would put the Cheshire Cat to shame.

And what has had me gleeful with anticipation? Two days with the boy of course. I’ve missed him and this morning he starts his two days off and we are planning a whole bunch of fun. So, if it puts a smile on your face, think of me floating along like a balloon fully of happiness.

Woe unto him that tries to pop me.

Have a great day folks.


the other side

The House next to the Gorge


My name is Hec Thompson and I am from this side. For my entire life, I have been taught by my father to dislike, distrust, and generally think ill of my neighbors, the Nanleys. Dad always said that Nanleys were loathsome low down cusses. You needed to keep a close eye on them. Don’t ever trust a Nanley.

For years, I thought as I was taught. I looked down my nose at them when I couldn’t avoid them entirely. Then I actually got to know Old Man Nanley’s girl, Becca. She was cute as a button and had the prettiest green eyes and long curly brown hair. When I started at the county high school, she was in one of my classes. Prior to that, we had never met because we attended different schools.

Before you know it, We were talking at lunch and seeing each other at dances. It took me a whole two months to work up the courage to ask her out to see a movie. Not that I was afraid that she would turn me down. More because I was afraid of what my father would do when he found out.

Becca and I were steady for two years before dad discovered that I was courting her. He threw up a real stink. Grounded me, gave me extra chores, and generally made my life miserable.

When Becca and I eventually got married, my father refused to attend the wedding. Mom and my little brother, Henry were there, but dad washed his hands of the whole thing. Dad never visited our home for the first two years of our marriage. It wasn’t until our boy was born that dad walked through my front door. I know mom forced him to go. It wasn’t like dad to ever swallow his pride.

As he was leaving, I asked him what he had against the Nanleys. What terrible thing did they ever do to him? As far as I knew he never really knew them. That’s when he told me.

You see, although we were neighbors, the Nanleys were from over on that side. Not this side. In my dad’s mind, the chasm between our two families was too wide for him to bridge. God had put that big ditch there for a reason and that was good enough for him.

Becca and I have now been married for 22 years and I have got to tell you. Once you get to know the people on that side, you quickly learn that they are an awful lot like the people on this side.


the golden sea

Lanier Sunrise


I dreamed that I sailed across a golden sea until I found an island floating in the morning light. The island drifted on the wind, following the sun as it slowly journeyed westward. The island’s shadow reflection shimmered on the small ripples that trailed in the island’s wake. The entire scene flowed by me in complete silence and I could see no sign of life. Not a bird, fish, nor human met my gaze.  

Gil’eal the wee guardian spirit spoke to me. Do not step foot on the land that wanders or you will become lost. 

In my dream, I knew that I would not walk under the trees of those floating worlds. I saw that I would return with the new moon, an auspicious omen. 

This morning, as I sighted the island of my dreams, a shiver ran down my spine none-the-less.