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 …

Mentor

Today I’m back in the Great Smoky Mountains for my photographic family reunion. It’s time for the Autumn Brilliance workshop again and this is where I come to get rejuvenated and inspired by my friends and mentors. There’s an undertone of melancholy to this one, though. While it’s only my fourth fall workshop at the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at …

The Pacific Northwest Tour: Week 1

I’m one week into the Pacific Northwest tour and I find myself in Cortez, Colorado. I’m currently hunkered down in a hotel room trying to catch up on work. The whirlwind of a 1,700+ mile drive to Arizona followed by the chaos Overland Expo hasn’t left a lot of free time to process images and events but in an effort …

Sanctuary

Today I’m nestled in one of my favorite places in the world. It’s spring photography workshop time again at The Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont and I’ll be immersed in photography, the Smokies, and my Tremont friends for the next several days. I’ve written much about my time in the Smokies and this workshop in particular is a sweet …

Contact

I’ve talked a lot lately about how much I appreciate the connections I’ve made during my life as a blogger. I’ve made some great friends in various communities and I’ve learned a lot from some inspiring people. But today I get to return to my beloved Tremont to expand my Great Smoky Mountains knowledge through immersive, experiential education. (It’s not …

Tremont’s Naturalist Certification Program: Discover the Great Smoky Mountains

You all know by now that I love the Great Smoky Mountains and that I’m obsessed with the Great Smoky Mountains Institute at Tremont. In fact, I’m a Junkie. I’ve written about their fabulous photography workshops (Exhibit A, Exhibit B, Exhibit C) and even highlighted why Tremont is so awesome for kids, but I’ve never taken you through the nuts …

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 …

Postcards from Real Life: Moments

So the Camp Granola crew spent a long weekend at Elkmont in the Great Smoky Mountains last weekend. After the blistering pace we set on our Overland Expo to TBEX expedition this summer, we were due for a low-key pure camping trip. That’s why I let the boys drive our time-frame and activities this weekend… to decompress from our more …

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 …