Bad Weather and Good Friends at Tremont

great smoky mountains institute at tremont - val in real life

Let’s face it, life dishes out the unexpected and undesired. A lot. The only thing we’re in control of is how we respond, right? I just returned from a whirlwind trip to Georgia. Part of the time was dedicated to hanging out with Fred and George. The rest was mostly allocated to attending the spring photography workshop at my beloved Great Smoky …

Great Smoky Mountains: The Spruce-Fir Nature Trail

The Great Smoky Mountains are the most visited National Park in the U.S. and if you follow this blog with any regularity, you know this is one of my favorite places in the world. I’ve spent the last couple of years delving deeper into her secrets and earning my Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification. So I’m sharing a little of that …

Discovery

Today the boys and I set out for familiar territory… The Great Smoky Mountains. It’s our first trip together since the Overland Expo to TBEX expedition came to an end in June. This is a short trip, only five days, and we’re returning to our favorite Smokies front-country campground at Elkmont for some much needed R&R from urban life. But …

North America’s Best Campgrounds: Elkmont

This week my fellow outdoor enthusiasts and I are highlighting our favorite campgrounds in North America. While I have several favorites across the country, I wanted to bring the love down south into Camp Granola’s main stomping grounds. To highlight our home state, I’ve got Cloudland Canyon for you. But you know I can’t help but share some Great Smoky …

Postcards from Real Life: Why?

Today I head off yet again to my home-away-from-home, the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. This trip marks my final class in the Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification program so as of Sunday I’ll have officially graduated! One of the most frequent questions I get about the program is why I chose to do it. Well for one, I’m a …

Postcards from Real Life: Delight

My time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park has been sparing of late but today, in spite of the current downpour, I’m glad to be back. This weekend I’m joining my fellow photography enthusiasts for the Tremont Spring photography workshop and I’m very grateful to the people who had the foresight to preserve this place and to those who continue …

Postcards from Real Life: Winter

We’re in the thick of winter finally. It was beginning to look like we wouldn’t have to break out the heavy coats here in Georgia this season but it is here now. And just in time for me to head off to Tremont for the Winter Woody Plant ID class. The funny thing is that I’m no longer acclimated to …

Autumn in Elkmont

A few weeks ago I took the boys to the Smokies for a long weekend and it was simple and blissful. It wasn’t a trip highlighted by outrageous adventures with stories we’ll be telling for years to come. It was a trip of relaxation, rejuvenation, exploring, and one subtlely wonderful moment followed by another. We were treated to the crisp …

Postcards from Real Life: Artistry

It’s time! Time to head back to Tremont for the Autumn Brilliance workshop. As I set forth this morning, it’s more about getting a break from the house-selling insanity than the photography but I’m hopeful by the time I get there, I’ll be in the proper mindset to focus on improving my skills and not just getting away from suburbia. …

Time to Get Your Tremont On…

In just a few short weeks I will again set off to the Great Smoky Mountain Institute at Tremont for the Autumn Brilliance Workshop with Will Clay. My thoughts… Just to refresh your memory on my love affair with this place, here’s a roundup of what I’ve written about Tremont so far… Autumn Brilliance in the Smokies Friends of Camp …