“I wrote some lines once on a time
In wondrous merry mood,
And thought, as usual, men would say
They were exceeding good.”

– The Height of the Ridiculous, Oliver Wendell Holmes

There was no small energy expended Saturday fretting over publishing a new post in this blog space. It wasn’t so much writer’s block, but rather having something compelling to say. Perhaps I would come up with something so clever that it would evoke the rave reviews Oliver Wendell Holmes so coveted in his poem. I was shocked to learn that there are over 440 MILLION others out in the Blogosphere, which means the words of even my post title have probably already been used a few times. – So much for compelling. Nevertheless, I remain committed to the task of enlightening the masses about our corner of the world.

A post about driving through the Apennine Mountains of Italy had been in the queue, but I got bogged down with the pictures and descriptions, and before I knew it, it was lunchtime…  I was ready to do something else. Marcy was restless as well and assigned me the task of coming up with some ideas for the afternoon. There was the 7 Islands Birder’s Park, a trip to Iams Nature Center, a rural drive to take barn pictures, and finally, Cades Cove. The decision was Cades Cove, no surprise there. The Smokies had a bit of snow cover and we had hopes of getting some pictures that were a bit different than our last few trips.

By our 2:30 PM departure, our sunny morning had turned overcast. I wondered if the trip would be worth it, and we talked about whether anyone would even be in The Cove on this 40 degree Saturday in February. There a good bit of traffic and the mountains did look nice with a dusting of snow. We made the first circuit along our usual route and I did not even get my camera out. To me, it looked like it would be the same old scenes. Marcy was undeterred. She had been concentrating on getting pictures of hawks lately and was hoping to get a nice sharp picture of one in flight.

So while this is not the perfect post I had hoped for, I do want to document a wonderful trip. We did get our hawk picture in flight, not so sharp, but they were better than we already had and there were some nice vistas to capture. After two circuits, it was getting toward sunset and we parked near the loop entrance overlooking the valley for a “car picnic”. A professional photographer we follow had reported sunset pictures at Hyatt Lane are supposed to be nice, so we decided to try one more loop.

By now traffic was light, so we hustled to our spot. The sunset possibilities proved to be a bust, but we spotted two photographers set up on in the nearby meadow on a hill, their tripods and long lenses trained on the nearby treeline. We speculated that this had to be a search for owl pictures, and I decided to approach the men and ask about their mission. I discovered that one of the photographers was a guy we met just days earlier at the Hiwassee Wildlife Refuge. I went and got Marcy and we had a great time of fellowship talking about lenses and setups to capture owl shots. At sundown and right on cue, two large birds appeared –  they were far enough away that we could not tell if they were large hawks or owls, but we were hooked. – We’ll be back. Meanwhile, enjoy the gallery below which documents our evening. 

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