Summer is galloping along and it is hard to believe we are in the middle of July already.
My camera is always close by because I really love trying to capture the beauty of a special moment, or of the beauty we see all around us.
As we began our Summer travels it did not take very long before I spotted these beautiful Crape Myrtle trees just waiting to have their picture taken.
Crape Myrtle Trees in Thomasville, GA
Crape Myrtles survive in hardiness zones 7 through 9.
These beautiful trees are available in many different colors.
A few days before we left home to head to the mountains of North Carolina our sweet neighbor came knocking on the front door with a bag full of tomatoes that had just been picked from her garden.
These pretty tomatoes look like Summertime, and of course, I had to snap a photo of them too. Later that evening I made my husband's favorite - Stewed Tomatoes. Dice tomatoes, place in saucepan, simmer until soft, add a little Cheddar Cheese and enjoy.
When we arrived at the mountain cabin in Robbinsville, North Carolina we immediately made reservations for a pontoon boat, so everyone could enjoy a day out on Lake Santeetlah. It was a beautiful day for boating on the lake and enjoying the cool mountain air and the beauty all around.
From the mountain cabin front porch, on a clear day, we can see just a small postage stamp size portion of Lake Santeetlah. In the below photo you can see a mountain way off in the distance. I think that mountain is where the mountain cabin is located.
Below we see a photo taken last Fall from the front porch of the cabin. If you look carefully you can see Lake Santeetlah way off in the distance, between the V-shape of the mountains, slightly to the left-middle in the photo ... in the hazy portion of the mountains.
It was a beautiful day to be on the lake.
The kids and grandkids had a fun time jumping off the boat and swimming
Later in the day, back at the cabin, we all celebrated our grandson's Will 17th Birthday. Below is a photo of daughter Sharon, her husband Charlie and four sons, John Scott, Preston and Lawson and of course the birthday boy Will.
Another daughter, Debi, made this family-favorite birthday cake. Apparently, due to the higher elevation at the mountain cabin, the cake did not cook evenly. One side of the cake was much higher than the other ... So we improvised and made the whipped cream icing higher on the lower side to compensate. You can hardly tell how crooked it is. 😍 The best part is, the birthday boy really enjoyed his cake even if it was lopsided.
If you would like to see the recipe for this Rainbow Angel Food Cake you can click on the link below:
During our stay at the cabin we did enjoy the pitter-patter of some rain on the cabin tin roof. Shortly after the rain the clouds rolled in and covered the valleys down below.
Before we knew it we were totally covered in fog or clouds ... Such a pretty sight!
Later in the evening the view changed even more.
The clouds or fog cleared showing a beautiful dark blue haze off in the distance.
Every year when we go to the mountains the kids and grandkids look forward to boating down the Whitewater Nantahala River. This is a beautiful river located not too far away from the Smoky Mountain National Park and is located within Nantahala National Forest on Highway 19/74 in Western North Carolina.
The rafters must wear life jackets and must attend a safety class with instructions on safety in case they should fall out of the raft at some point.
My husband and I have rafted down this river with the kids in the past, but my favorite thing to do is sit on the rocks at the edge of the river with my camera and anxiously await our family member's boat to approach the rapids.
Most of the river is fairly gentle until they come to the rapids seen in the above photo. I get my camera ready as my heart beats faster knowing they are approaching the most dangerous part of the river. You can see the staff ready to help anyone who falls out of the boat as they come through these swirling rapids.
Here they come ... They are all paddling as a team to try to come through the rapids safely ... Of all things, their boat has begun to turn sideways, as it approaches the rapids ...
Yes, in the below photo here they come through the rapids sideways of all things...
They made it through without falling out, but as you can see in the below photo their boat is backwards now. They said the guide, seen in the back in the blue shirt, did almost fall out.
Below we see the photo from last year showing when grandson Lawson fell out. On the left all you can see are his navy-blue sneakers showing above water as his brothers look on in great surprise ... right after this photo they all got busy and pulled him to safety.
The Nantahala River is beautiful to see as rafters, canoeists and
kayakers each take turns coming through the rapids.
Traveling on back toward the mountain cabin we drive through Stecoah Gap along Highway 143. Driving West on Highway 143 we spot the entrance to the Appalachian Trail on the left, and if you look across the road to the right you see where the Trail continues on the other side of the roadway.
If you would like to see a little more information about the location of the Appalachian Trail seen here you can click on the link below.
There is a nice parking lot for those hiking on the trail at this point. We parked and I took my camera and walked up a small portion of the trail. The walk up was steep, narrow and beautiful.
This narrow Trail amazingly stretches for 2,180 miles, all the way from Georgia to Maine
The Trail beckons to come and see what is around the next bend.
Just in case you would like to know more about this beautiful Appalachian Trail
you can click on the link below:
And, as you can see, the Trail continues on across the street.
Traveling on home we spotted this huge thunderstorm off in the distance. I took this picture with the iPad. I thought this was such a beautiful sight with the sun shining on the clouds at the front of the storm. It is amazing to see all of the beauty around us.
Arriving home we enjoyed another beautiful cloud pattern over the
pond down the hill from the house.
And it was nice to see the green, green grass of home again.
Some of the grandchildren visited with us at home for about a week and then we all hopped in the car for a trip back to their home in South Florida. Along the way we drove down this dirt road which had the feel of what we all call "old Florida."
There is a classic old Florida novel called "The Barefoot Mailman" written by Theodore Pratt. I read that wonderful book many years ago and these photos reminded me so much of that great book.
The Barefoot Mailman tells the story of a simpler time in South Florida as this mailman delivers his mail walking on the beach in a sub-tropical wilderness from Palm Beach to Miami.
I checked with Amazon and they do still have that book. It is "used" but the price is only $3.70.
While we were taking the one set of grandchildren home to South Florida, one of our other grandsons, Lawson, babysat with our new kitty Oscar II.
Lawson is a great babysitter or cat-sitter. And, he is our dear and sweet Awesome Lawson!
It was nice to see Old Glory displayed as we drove along on our way home.
I'm so glad you stopped by Sweet Southern Days for a visit. It is nice to see that folks from the United States, Russia, France, Germany, China, Canada, United Kingdom, Philipines, Israel and Romania have stopped by for a visit as well. It is so nice we can all be together if only in this one little spot.
I do thank you for stopping by and hope that you too are having a wonderful Summertime wherever you may be. 💕