How do you like my “mask”?
How do you like my “mask”?
Many of you wanted to know what Cheoah was looking at in yesterday’s pictures. We don’t really know, but this is what the humans were looking at (You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge):
Frying Pan Mountain Fire Tower (Upper Left)
A hunting lodge is near the center of the picture
City of Asheville in the distance
Some long range views
Not shabby, huh?
P.S. – PUPDATE – Er, we appreciate all of the comments, but this is NOT our deck and NOT our view from our house. We have a great view, but not this good. This is the view from the observation deck at Mt Pisgah.
We told you on Monday about the massive rock slide that has closed Interstate 40 near the North Carolina / Tennessee border. (Note – All photos are from the Asheville Citizen-Times). Just a few weeks ago, we shared our pictures of driving through the gorge coming home from the Siberian Husky Club of America National Specialty.
Aerial view of the slide area – Pigeon River Gorge
You can see how big the boulders are next to the truck in the right lane
The first problem to be solved was how to get equipment to the top of the slide (for obvious safety reasons, you can’t start at the bottom of the pile). Building a road to the top is a possibility, but long, expensive and buried in red tape since all roads in a National Forest require a environmental study. Helicopters could lift equipment to the top as well, but that still is a very complex way to do it. They have settled on an approach to hoist equipment to the top. You can read the details here. Best guess at the moment is that the road will be closed for three months.
Sadly, we are used to this in the area. I-40 itself has been closed several times since it was opened in 1968. July 1997, a rock slide closed the interstate for 2 months and one in March 1985 closed the interstate for almost 3 weeks. We also had the interstate closed for a period in 2004 when the road bed underneath collapsed into the Pigeon River during the hurricanes of that summer.
This stretch of highway is very isolated with only a few exits that connect into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Pisgah National Forest, or the handful of private homes in the area. Detours are complex and somewhat lengthy, though we do now have “Future” I-26 open to the north of Asheville creating an interstate option. But that still adds an hour to an east-west trip.
As we mentioned Monday, this entire area depends heavily on tourism for its economy. The Leaf season is almost complete (this will be probably be the last big weekend) and Ghost Town in the Sky closes after this weekend, but ski season should start very soon. Cataloochee Ski almost opened last week, but delayed because of our warm temperatures. These two are my neighbors (along with Cataloochee Ranch, which I have mentioned many times on the blog), so I pay special attention to them, but we are really hoping for the best for all of the tourist attractions in our area during the important Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday stretches.
If you are in our part of the country, please come visit this winter. We really appreciate the support!
And, by the way, we might be very comfortable around the rocks, but we want to be clear. The Herd did not cause this one!
Not the Red Team
Not the Black and White Team
Over at The Thundering Herd Annex (our hu-grandparents house), Tartok was always the angelic Siberian that never gets onto furniture. Ruby has no such inhibition. In fact, she has claimed a blue arm chair in the den as her personal chair. Just one problem. Not all of the humans respect that that is HER chair. Not even our hu-dad.
Hey, dude. Ear scratches, excellent. Sitting in my chair, bad.
Since it is my chair, guess that means I will just have to sit on you.
Am I making myself clear?
Our humans went over to our hu-grandparents again Saturday night which meant they got to see Ruby and Tartok, our cousins of The Thundering Herd Annex. Notice how you can’t actually see our hu-dad’s feet because of the smart camouflage socks that he is wearing. What an incredible fashion sense he has. But this post is not about his style, but about our cousin Ruby.
During the last week, she has put her counter surfing skills to great use by scoring a half loaf of bread (discovered by our hu-grandmother when she went to make sandwiches) and then three hamburger buns (what was used to make sandwiches when bread disappeared). With bread becoming an endangered species at The Annex, our humans – Siberian experienced that they are – played really, really dirty. They bought our hu-grandmother a present.
A Bread Box! The Horror!
Doesn’t the eye cut from Miss Ruby say it all
Dreaming of ways to beat the box
P.S. – For anyone traveling in the area, note that I-40 is closed due to a massive rock slide near the Tennessee / North Carolina border and probably will be closed for quite some time. The last time we had one of these slides, the road was closed for months. For all of the motel and tourist venues, this is particularly bad news because our area loses its Western route. Considering all of the struggles due to the economic challenges, we really feel for the small business owners who rely on the tourist trade. For those of you to the east side of us, a tremendous opportunity for you to visit with far less crowds and probably some bargains in the coming months.
Since we travel this stretch of interstate regularly, we are just thankful that we were not there at the time of the slide. Not at all unusual to see the evidence of slides along this particular stretch of road and there are few exits – most of which don’t go anywhere anyway. Well, us hikers like them, but anywhere ELSE.
You can read a newspaper article about the slide here .
Friday afternoon and evening, we received almost an inch of rain. Saturday morning, we had clear blue skies, but some pretty strong winds. You can see that most of the colors are gone at the higher elevations, though still plenty of color at 2000′ to 3000′. This picture is taken from almost 6000′ and is looking down into Maggie Valley to the left.
The bad part to all of the rain the night before – the trails were pretty wet. Ok, the trails essentially had a creek running down the middle of them. Never slows The Herd down, though they can all get very muddy. We love the mud on Qannik’s white legs.
And where we were not treading through water, lots and lots of leaves. The strong winds and the nighttime rain (not to mention, last week’s snow) has knocked a lot of the leaves off the trees. Makes finding the trail a little challenging in places.
No matter – we always take a nice sunny day this time of year. Makes the hiking far more pleasant.
Qannik is sitting on Richland Balsam enjoying his time with The Herd. He loves his family, because his previous life was harsh. When we adopted him, his ears were bare from fly bites, his neck had open cuts from where he had a rope tied around his neck, and his feet were mangled from standing on a wire mesh floor. He came to us from the wonderful people at Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation.
Cheoah is curled up on her blanket, warm and happy. She loves being so warm and happy, because she was found tied to a tree behind a foreclosed and abandoned home. The call came to us via the caring and concerned leaders of Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation and Cheoah found her home.
Ruby is loving life living with Tartok over at The Thundering Herd Annex (the hu-grandparents house). After scoring the rolls we have already told you about, Ruby this week was able to snag a half loaf of bread and 3 hamburger buns – on different days. She is able to perfect her counter surfing skills because the excellent volunteers at Sarge’s Animal Rescue Foundation sprung her from the shelter and the magic got her to her new home.
Today’s post is aimed at all of our local readers in and around Western North Carolina. We received this email from Sarge’s today:
Sarge’s van has made its last delivery. After 14 years and many miles, “Old Reliable” has gone to its final parking spot. Now we are shopping for its replacement. We need a gently-used stretch van of recent vintage. It will be used regularly for transporting animals to adoption events, to their new homes, and to out-of-state rescue groups. Just last week, we rented a van to carry 22 rescued dogs and pups to an adoption center in New Jersey. The more companion animals we save, the more we need a van. Please make a generous donation to our “Keep ‘em Rolling” fund now.
Their fall newsletter is out as well and you can view that by clicking here.
The members of The Herd are forever grateful to the volunteers of Sarge’s and the other rescues who helped to see that they were able to make it safely to Chez Herd and live out their lives as dogs should. If you are not in our area, please contribute whatever you can – time or money – to your local rescues. A life depends on it.
Normally, when we are having a howlfest and the human tries to get it on camera, we shut up. Not this time. We were way too much into the song and he got us. A lot. But we did have one last laugh. Well, a laugh in addition to the muddy paw prints on the door left over from last weekend’s snow.
Kodiak, Kiska and Natasha demonstrate their harmony.
Qannik does his solo while Rusty handles the backing vocals.
Uh, Dad. Think you had it on the sport setting, not video. Doh!
Cheoah – Sorry, dad, no do-overs. Better luck next time.
Rusty – Hey mister, are you trying to get some pictures?
How is that close range focusing on that camera?