Falls With Friends

There was magic in the air.

The Earth’s magic.

We have been here before, many times. A post was written about it last fall that can be read by clicking here. There is more information on the area in that story.

It never gets old.

It was a gorgeous day and there were others at the falls.

With recent heavy rains there was more water than ever, both rushing down the rocky slope of the falls and along the river on the other side of the bridge. There were several brave souls kayaking.

There was new terrain traveled. We had never hiked up the mountain beside the falls before. Because…

…We are usually alone, but not this time. This time we had an intrepid leader, a fellow Tennessean and fellow garden blogger. Yes, dear readers, the person posing so playfully for the camera is none other than our dear friend Gail of Clay And Limestone. She and her husband, Mister I don’t blog or garden, drove from Nashvile to the Fairegarden this past weekend for a couple of days of fun and frivolity.

Armed with cameras and being led by Fearless Leader, we explored the wildflowers of the Blue Ridge province of the southern Appalachian Mountains. There was much to see as we followed the trail up down and around the rocky slope. Ferns of all types were captured in pixels by gloved hands, it is much more chilly at the higher elevations. We could hear the sound of the falls and the excitement grew as we hiked onward. When the water came into view, the sun was shining brightly on that side of the mountain, forming the rainbow in the mist shown in the opening image. It took our breath away.

The moist spray was conducive to moss magnificence. With most of the deciduous tree leaves fallen to the ground, the rays of golden sun illuminated the moss like a spotlight on a star performer.

It was a memorable day shared with good friends, our husbands also enjoyed the road trip. The falls were truly awe inspiring to us all.

Words are inadequate…

…For both friends and falls.


There was also some garden perusal, plant purchasing from our favorite Mouse Creek Nursery by both of us and a car load of plants dug from the Fairegarden to go live at Clay And Limestone, among other things, during the visit. A wonderful Tennessee wildflower book, plants and seeds were bestowed upon us for which we are most grateful. We wish to thank Mister I (C) for bringing my dear friend and being such good company for The Financier while Gail and I chatted nonstop.


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46 Responses to Falls With Friends

  1. Sylvia (England) says:

    Frances, you are right that first picture is breath taking. I am glad you all had a lovely time.

    Best wishes Sylvia (England)

    Thanks Sylvia. My photo did not capture the true colors of that rainbow. It was indescribable. Everything about the falls and mountains was magical, I hated to leave. πŸ™‚

  2. Charlotte says:

    I agree with Sylvia… love the first one, but love them all!

    Thanks Charlotte. You would have loved this spot and made some fabulous captures of it. Maybe you could visit it for real!! πŸ™‚

  3. Liisa says:

    I don’t think it gets any better than hiking, plant shopping, and the company of friends. Beautiful scenery. What a fabulous day!!

    Hi Liisa, thanks so much. It was a perfect weekend all around. Seeing a place like the falls with dear friends is so much better than seeing it alone, no matter how beautiful it is. πŸ™‚

  4. lynn says:

    Such a beautiful spot, Frances! All the more fun with friends’ company. I can just hear that rushing water of the Falls…yes, a brave kayaker indeed!
    Loved your seedlings in the last post…the daylilies look great!

    Thanks Lynn. The sound of the falls, and the mist everywhere made for quite a mystical atmosphere. This was the first time I have ever seen kayakers, and also the highest I have ever seen the water too. Usually it is only fly fishermen. The seedlings are doing well, but I know it is a long time before they can be planted outside and hope I have not made another mistake planting too early. The daylilies are the best of the lot, so exciting! πŸ™‚

  5. Well, I must agress with the others, the first picture was magical indeed! Looks like you had a fun time.

    Thanks Deborah, we really did have a marvelous day, and weekend. It was nice that the husbands enjoyed it too. πŸ™‚

  6. Joy says:

    I just finished reading Gail’s take on the trip with her gorgeous photos Frances .. and now your pictures of the Falls .. what an amazing place it is .. and your pictures are truly the best ! The first and second ones are perfect and I hope you enlarge and frame them ? I’ll want a signed copy of each please ? LOL

    Thanks Joy, you are too sweet. The falls are one of my most favorite spots and I was gratified that Gail and her husband liked them too. The native plants on the trail were especially attractive to Gail, who knows so much more about them than I do. Feel free to print out those photos that you like. HA πŸ™‚

  7. Gail says:

    Frances, You captured the trip to the falls so beautifully! It was magical. Seeing the native wildflowers with another plant lover was the best…We must be plant geeks; I was just getting ready to type “wasn’t it fun to try to guess the plant families” Who am I kidding, I love being a plant geek! We will have to meet in the Smokies next spring for one of their wildflower walks! By then you’ll be able to id them on your own;-) Thank you for a wonderful time, all the fantastic plants you shared (they are all planted) and for not showing some of those photos of me you took! Your photos of the falls are beautiful! gail

    Dear Gail, thanks for making the trip over the mountain and thanks to Mister I for being your driver too. I am not the wildflower nut, officianado that you are, yet, but that book you gave will set me on that path, I love it! Talk about a wildflower walk, Christopher’s mountainside is it! Next time. I did think the photo of you on the trail where you turned around and posed was too cute not to show. πŸ™‚

  8. Janie says:

    Great post, great fun, and (we can tell) great friends. That is a cute picture of Gail, and a cute picture of you both at the end. I am envious of your scenery! It is just beautiful!

    Thanks Janie. We are good friends, thanks to the Spring Fling in Austin last year, having never met before then. Another fine example of the benefits of garden blogging. Tellico Plains is a hidden treasure, few people visiting makes it even more special. πŸ™‚

  9. ourfriendben says:

    Oh, Frances, what perfect magic! (And yes, the photo of Gail is just adorable.) I used to go to the Smokies every October for my birthday as a child; I love them so. Now it seems like the only time I get to see them is when we’re rushing back from Asheville, and never have time to stop. I must do something about that! Thanks for the memories.

    Thanks OFB. It is a magical spot, not part of the Smokies on the map, but definitely the same terrain of the Cherokee National Forest that includes them both. I hope you get to visit again. Watch out for the closed road on I-40 due to the rock slide just inside the North Carolina border for the next few months.

  10. Balisha says:

    What fun! Thanks for sharing your good time and your beautiful pictures.

    Thanks Balisha. Glad you enjoyed reading about our adventures at the falls. πŸ™‚

  11. Whew, Frances, I was reading falls as a verb, not noun, in the title! Glad you and Gail had a wonderful time, and, as before, I love the retro cursive font on the park sign! Have a good weekend!

    HA Monica, I wondered if the phrasing of the title would make people think there had been an accident of some kind. What a good memory you have about that sign, or it is what you think whenever you see it. You would love the falls and surrounding mountains and streams, it is really a step back in time, the signage fits. πŸ™‚

  12. Kiki says:

    Woaah..Gorgeous..VERY magical indeed! I felt like I went on a little journey now too..thankyou for sharing such a delightful outing..how beautiful can nature get? Wonderful..from a nature kindred who appreciates all things of nature..that was Magnificent Frances!!

    Thanks Kiki, glad you went along with us. A kindred indeed. These falls and the surrounding mountians are full of enchantment of all types. πŸ™‚

  13. rosey pollen says:

    Hi Frances,
    I happened to read Gail’s post and loved her perspective of your garden. It is so nice that you could have some adventures with Gail and her husband. Nice post!

    Hi Rosey, thanks. I’m glad you read Gail’s take on it too. I believe she has another post in her about the trip to the falls and the wonderful native plant colonies there, something she cares deeply about. She took many photos. I was entranced by the falls. πŸ™‚

  14. You two look like you had great fun on your adventures. You’re lucky to live so close to such a beautiful place and to have such a good friend as Gail with whom to share it.

    It was great fun, MMD. You would have loved it. If you ever find yourself down this way, we’ll go if there is time. It’s worth making the time to see. πŸ™‚

  15. Lzyjo says:

    Awww, you two are adorable! Gorgeous pictures of the falls and the moss too. WOW, you’re great at taking photos!

    Thanks Lzyjo, you are too sweet. Gail and I do enjoy each other’s company. The place was so beautiful and the light was perfect. The new camera is getting more comfortable in my hands, and the zoom was perfect for shooting the falls. πŸ™‚

  16. Jean says:

    It looks like you two had a fabulous time (I just read Gail’s version). Those falls are absolutely stunning. Is it very far from your house? I’d love to have a hiking place like that close to my home!

    Hi Jean, thanks. It was great fun. The falls are less than an hour from my house. I would go more often, but it is not as fun to go by myself and on the weekends we always visit our family. Having Gail and her husband there with us was a real treat.

  17. Hello Frances, a wonderful ride, incredible beautiful falls and pictures, and itΒ΄s so nice meeting you… you look like you have lots of energy to climb those hills.
    Muchos cariΓ±os
    MarΓ­a Cecilia

    Hi Maria, thanks, so glad you enjoyed the trip. As for lots of energy, I used to have a lot more. πŸ™‚

  18. What a wonderful place to visit with a friend. I love spending time with my fellow gardeners. The rainbow and the mist in the first picture looked absolutely magical.

    Thanks Noelle. It was an amazing place. We had no idea about the rainbow, and could not see the falls as we climbed the trail, but could hear them and see the mist. It was the way the sun was shining that day. I wonder if it is always there when there is sun, or if that was a special event. We were in awe. πŸ™‚

  19. Darla says:

    Gorgeous you two peas in a pod!

    Thanks Darla. Gail and I had an immediate connection when we first met in Austin at the Spring Fling there last year. We just happened to be standing next to each other as we were waiting to be seated for dinner on the first night. Funny how that happened. It was meant to be. πŸ™‚

  20. Pam/Digging says:

    I just came from Gail’s, and now I get to see the visit through your eyes. This place does look magical…and wintry! I saw fall color in Gail’s pics of the Fairegarden, but the trees look mostly bare at the falls. Austin seems positively summery by comparison, although leaves are falling here too.

    Hi Pam, thanks. Although it was a nice sunny day, it was considerably colder at that elevation than at my house. The mountains were not planted for winter interest like my garden has been. They don’t need it with the falls and boulders and wildflowers. Austin is summery! πŸ™‚

  21. Catherine says:

    That sounds and looks like a great day! I don’t think seeing falls could ever get old either. I think it’s so neat that you and Gail get together and go on adventures.

    Hi Catherine, thanks for that. We do like to get together, wishing it could happen more often. Oh the things we would do and the places we would go. πŸ™‚

  22. Lisa at Greenbow says:

    THis is a magical place. THe only thing that makes it better is a couple of friends getting to enjoy the area together.

    Thanks Lisa. You have a way of going straight to the heart of things with your comments. A true gift. πŸ™‚

  23. Rose says:

    Such a beautiful place, Frances, and you have captured the magic in your photos. What a wonderful weekend the two of you must have had! Enjoyed seeing Gail’s photos of your garden, too; I think there must be a little fairy dust swirling about Fairegarden as well.

    Hi Rose, thanks so much. I wish you could have been with us too, you were quite close when you visited Gatlinburg. This is much more secluded and less traveled than the Smokey Mountain park. A hidden gem without an easy way to get there for the masses. A plus in my opinion. You are too kind about the fairy dust, but there was magic with Gail and Mr. I here. πŸ™‚

  24. Jen says:

    Awesome – both the scenery and the company! And beautiful shots. I’m wondering if there is a campground nearby because it looks a lot like a place we visited when I was a kid. I enjoyed the shots on Gails blog today too!

    Hi Jen, thanks. There is camping along the road, though not large areas for it. These falls are located in Tellico Plains, TN if that is any help. Glad you liked hearing about our visit. πŸ™‚

  25. TC says:

    That looked like a lot of fun! Isn’t it awesome getting to meet other bloggers, especially meeting them in person if you’ve only known each other online.

    The 11th picture from the top, where Gail is about to step up on that wooden walkway, looks like a winter scene. The running water in the background looks like it could be snow, and those bare trees look frosty. (Sometimes I see things that aren’t really there.)

    Hi TC, thanks. We do love meeting garden bloggers in person. That is the reason we have attended two spring flings and hope to meet even more in Buffalo next year. You are right about the 11th pic, the photo ops were wonderful on that day in that place. πŸ™‚

  26. Wonderful falls Frances! How great it must have been to share with Gail. It is so strange as i was just at a waterfall (not as big) Weds. with a friend. It was wonderful to see your garden and this magical place through Gail lens first and now your perspective. How far is this place from your home? Was it a cool day… or is it just the force of the water creating the mist? My waterfall did not have mist so I am curious about yours. Lovely post as always. Carol

    Hi Carol, thanks. Falls and friends for you too, eh? Perfect. This area is less than an hour from my house, due east, towards the mountains that form the border between TN and NC. It was actually a beautifully warm day, but is so much cooler in the mountain elevations and shade. There has always been mist everytime I have gone, but there was way more water flowing due to recent heavy rainfall. I had never seen the rainbow either, but had never hiked that trail before. You would have loved it. πŸ™‚

  27. Lola says:

    What a wonderful visit from a fellow gardener who is also a dear friend. I’m so glad you 2 got to spend some time together. That travel tour was fantastic. Waterfall was awesome.
    Your garden is beautiful as always even with ole’ man winter lurking around the corner.

    Hi Lola, thanks so much. Mister Winter has given us a reprieve so far, but we know what is coming, don’t we? πŸ™‚

  28. Sweet Bay says:

    Magnificent waterfall. All of the photos are beautiful, and the first one is pure magic.

    Thanks Sweet Bay. I really like the first shot as well. It conjures sweet memories of a wonderful day. πŸ™‚

  29. Tatyana says:

    Spectacular images! I read both posts about this day, and it’s clear that you had wonderful time! BTW, did you agree on wearing blue? You both look great! Gardeners rock!!!!

    Hi Tatyana, thanks. HA about the fashion statement! No, we did not try to dress in the same color, it just happened that way and I did not even notice it until your comment about it. Thanks for those kind words. I am sure I can speak for Gail in saying a great big thank you. πŸ™‚

  30. Frances, that first photo took my breath away. You should submit that in a contest somewhere my friend. I wish you and Gail lived closer to me, or I to thee. Friends are one of blogging’s greatest gifts, don’t you think? Gail took lovely photos of Fairegarden in the late fall.~~Dee

    Hi Dee, thanks. I wish you could have been with us, you would have been snapping your camera in a frenzy! This terrain is very different from the flat land of OK, so I would rather you lived here! Even though I was born in OK, my maternal grandmother was born in TN. I have never gone to the area of her origins, but plan to someday, it is a few counties away from where we live. πŸ™‚

  31. lotusleaf says:

    Wow! There is magic in your words and your pictures!Lovely post.Have a great weekend!

    Thanks Lotusleaf. It was a magical day with friends. You too have a great weekend, although it might be over by now in your part of the world. πŸ™‚

  32. Hi Frances

    What fun!

    Your images are really beautiful. Any gold at the end of that rainbow?

    Hi Rob, thanks. I suppose one could have dove in from the cliffs into the rocky depths to look for gold, but I woudn’t advise it. We were so thrilled to see the rainbow, totally unexpected and hidden from view as we hiked up and down the trail before turning the corner from dense cold shade to brilliant sunlit mists, all we could do was click the shutter on the cameras. πŸ™‚

  33. Janet says:

    What a treat to have the opportunity to get together and explore. Seems like being a kid again. Your first photo of the rainbow in the mist of the waterfall is really glorious.

    Thanks Janet. It did take us back to the excitement of discovery of a child’s perspective. You would have loved the rainbow. Who wouldn’t? πŸ™‚

  34. Anna says:

    What a fantastic place to visit Frances with special company. It sounds as if you and Gail had a great couple of days πŸ™‚

    Thanks Anna. Gail and her husband made for a very enjoyable weekend for us. The Falls were icing on that cake of pleasure. πŸ™‚

  35. Gorgeous falls (and you gals are great models, too)! Incredible beauty.


    Thanks Cameron. Who looks at us with that waterfall for a background? πŸ™‚

  36. joey says:

    Breathtaking photos (and the falls are lovely too)! You gals are havin’ way 2 much fun πŸ™‚

    Thanks Joey, you are too sweet. Gail and I always have so much fun together. Since we both love the same things, it’s easy! πŸ™‚

  37. Debi says:

    Been there many times and concur with all that you said. How joyous making new friends and taking road trips together! There’s nothing like that area for inspiration, not to mention a little awe. It’s a slice of heaven. Great post – great all ’round.

    Hi Debi, thanks. I am so happy that you have been to this lovely place as well. You probably got some terrific shots of the falls, it is quite photogenic. The day we were there, the lady at the new visitor’s center in Tellico Plains said it was the most water coming over the falls in recent memory. It was way more than the other times I have been there. Next time you are coming to this area, contact me! πŸ™‚

  38. gittan says:

    WOW! Frances, those pictures looks amazing!!! Mother nature surely is wonderful. Thanks for sharing / kram gittan

    Hi Gittan, thanks. I wish you could visit these falls as well. They are magnificent. πŸ™‚

  39. Looks like great fun. Between the monsoon and hurricane the creeks and rivers have been running high. I bet the falls visitor center folks are happy about that after two years of drought. So you are going to learn your wildflowers eh? I can quiz you next time you visit.

    Thanks Christopher. I think the lady at the visitor’s center was happy to see anybody there, it is not at all like the Smoky Mountain area, loaded with tourists. I have already identified a few of the *weeds* here with the new wildflower book, finding some very nice plants that had previously been pulled out. This year, following the Semi-Piet school of gardening, we pulled nothing and have been pleasantly surprised. I would flunk a quiz at your place! πŸ™‚

  40. What a gorgeous spot! Looks like you gals had a great time and glad the guys had each other to help pass time while you talked gardening.

    Ah Linda, I believe you understand the situation perfectly with the mens! It was a female dominated trip, all about us. HA πŸ™‚

  41. Sweet Bay says:

    Frances, which azalea is this, in Gail’s first picture? http://clayandlimestone.blogspot.com/2009/11/fairegarden-style.html

    Is that ‘Golden Lights’? It’s beautiful.

    Hi Sweet Bay, while Golden Lights is in that bed, you are good!!!!, the yellow leaved shrub is the evergreen azalea Mrs. G.G. Gebring. We have found that the white azaleas all have a colorful leaf change as the old leaves turn and drop with the new young leaves a bright green. That particular bush was bought from the arbor society and came as a tiny plug rooted in some kind of foam stuff. Look for this one! πŸ™‚

    Thank you Frances, I will look for that one, definitely! That yellow fall color is outstanding.

    Glad to be of help. πŸ™‚

  42. Hello Frances,

    There is an award for you on my blog. I appreciate your support and I enjoy your blog very much. I hope that you will accept it but will not be in the least bit offended if you don’t. You may have already received it or may not do awards but I wanted to award it to you just the same πŸ™‚

    Hi Noelle, thank you so much for that fine award. I am honored and do so appreciate your thinking of me. I keep the awards on a seperate page on my sidebar to keep from slowing down the loading time and to give them the room they deserve. It is cleverly titled Awards Page. Thanks again. πŸ™‚

  43. Mary Delle says:

    The falls are beautiful. I miss seeing more of them now that I live in dry Southern California. I could almost smell the mist in the air and feel the moss. I love moss. what a wonderful foray.

    Hi Mary, thanks. I don’t remember much moss from our time in SoCal. I missed the verdant look of the eastern part of the country, too, although our drives up to Big Bear were beautiful. πŸ™‚

  44. Kathleen says:

    Hi Frances. I just popped over from Gails ~ lovely weekend you two had together. I told her I wish I could tag along and just listen ~ I know I could learn a LOT! The falls are gorgeous and it’s so great your husbands get along too. That makes it nice. Great picture of you both at the end of the post too. Friends for life. πŸ™‚

    Hi Kathleen, thanks, we did enjoy ourselves. I wish you could have come as well, it was lots of fun. πŸ™‚

  45. A season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, for sure! Lovely photos. We’re enjoying your great weekend vicariously and in pictures.

    Hi Helen, thanks so much. Glad you could travel along with us, the falls were amazing. πŸ™‚

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