Yesterday Chablis and I had a real treat - we finally got to meet fellow blogger Pam from over at Nomadic Newfies.
We've been following each other's blogs and chatting for awhile. For the past several months we've been trying, and having the hardest time, scheduling a day to meet. Tinkerbell must have waved her magic wand because yesterday our schedules miraculously cleared and we met for lunch and a hike. Finally!!
Since we live a little over an hour away from each other, we picked a spot about half way for both of us and had lunch first. Over pizza and pasta the three of us chatted non-stop about hiking, photography and camping. Chablis and Pam discovered they have a mutual love of Gatlinburg and had plenty to talk about. Since I've never been there I had to sit and take notes of all the places I'd now like to see there. Note to self - add Gatlinburg to my bucket list.
After lunch we decided to drive to the Ryerson Conservation Area and do a little hiking. Ryerson Woods is noted in Lake County history because the first European of the area settled there. In the 1920's several families bought the property and built weekend retreats, and then eventually donated 257 acres to the Lake Country Forest Preserves. Today it's a spectacular preserve that supports a wide variety of state endangered species.
We strapped on our hiking boots and took off down a gorgeous woodland trail. Well manicured and lush, it was also teeming with killer mosquitoes. We doused ourselves liberally with bug spray, twice, and those little suckers were not deterred. It must have been all the Italian spices that attracted them to us. At any rate, we only lasted a couple of blocks before we turned tail and made a beeline for the open meadow.
We walked past some of the old buildings on the property and found another trail that led more around the perimeter of the forest. It was much less buggy and we were able to walk and snap some photos while we talked.
Pam is well versed in a wide variety of native flowers and she pointed out all the different varieties and impressed us with her knowledge. You really need to go check out her blog because she takes fantastic close up photos of flowers on her many hikes. Here's a link to one of my favorite recent posts.
Unfortunately we picked the hottest day of the year to meet up - it was about 95 degrees in the shade and dripping with humidity. After an hour of hiking and dodging the relentless mosquitoes we decided to call it quits and retreat to our air conditioned cars. We really had a great visit though and promised to meet up again this autumn and give it another try when the colors start changing. I'm looking forward to joining Pam again and I'm really happy we finally got the chance to spend the afternoon together.
Stop by and check out her blog, Nomadic Newfies. I think you'll enjoy meeting her. She did a post about our meet and greet here.