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Fall Foliage by Train and Glider Plane

Fall foliage by train and glider plane....what a trip! This weekend I joined friends to see the beautiful foliage near Etowah, Tennessee and along the Hiwassee River. The experience exceeded my greatest hopes.

First, on Saturday we boarded a train for the Hiwassee Railroad Adventure. The train is operated by the Tennessee Valley Railroad and closely follows the Hiwassee River from Wetmore to the town of Farner, where the train reverses itself and returns back to Gee Creek. The curving, mountainous line offers wonderful views of the Hiwassee River Gorge and includes the Hiwassee Loop, where the track loops back over itself.

It was challenging to get good shots from the moving train, but I managed to capture images of some spectacular countryside. Enjoy! The enormous vine above is kudzu, the monster that eats trees, valleys, and houses.

The next afternoon, still euphoric over the train ride, my friends and I urged each other into taking a glider plane to see the same territory from above. A group of us have remained good friends since nursing school, over forty years ago, and we have shared a lot of life's experiences: marriage, homemaking, childbirth, career ups and downs, fun trips and get-togethers, illness, the death of loved ones, the good times and the bad. The year we all turned fifty we celebrated by going whitewater rafting. We told each other the glider plane was to celebrate sixty. This group of ladies is determined to remain young in spirit, no matter what the body says!

Honestly, I was a bit nervous at the idea of flying around in a plane that didn't have an engine, but I am so glad I did it. For a while I was a big bird, soaring in the great blue sky, and it was close to the most fun thing I have ever done.

While I waited my turn, I took a few photos around the gliderport:

Finally, it was time to go! First is a shot of a glider plane, and below that are photos I took from inside the glider. Once we were airborne and had caught a good air current, the pilot released the tether to the pull plane. Then we were on our own!

See another glider in the first photo below.

Now we are trying to decide what we will do to celebrate our seventieth birthdays. Skydiving? I'm not sure about that, but we have a decade to decide! I have learned to seize life's opportunities as they present themselves.

Before we left the gliderport I took the following photo of a kitty, who was enjoying the wonderful fall day in a more down-to-earth way:

May you enjoy the good moments, and may you have good friends to share them with.


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Reader Comments (27)

YOU ARE AWESOME!!! hahahaha! First the photos are breathtaking! Second...I ride a motorcycle, but don't know if I'd have the guts to get in a GLIDER!!! Whoo hooo Deb!!! What a way to enjoy life! I bet sitting in your garden has a whole new meaning now! Thanks for sharing your special day!

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterEve

What a wonderful experience for you! Your photos show the beauty of the countryside so well.

November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Wow - what a fantastic journey you had Deborah. The views are absolutely amazing and its wonderful that you were able to share it with your good friends, roll on 70!
Love the last photo of little kitty too.

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Mulligan

I am in awe ...

(Was going to tell the neonatal nurse that I have been visited by readers looking for the world's smallest elephant, but not on this post!!)

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterElephant's Eye

Absolutely superb sceneries Debs, and so envious of your glider plane ride, something we would love to do in the future too!

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

I LOVE this post! What a fun experience to share with some friends who have shared so many other experiences with you! I want to do something like this now, especially during the Fall so I can see miles and miles of fall foliage like what you photographed.

p.s. The kitty picture is adorable!

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBumbleLush

Awww, one of the most memorable posts ever, Deb. Beautiful friendship, scenery and experiences. Girlfriends are the true anchors of life and we'd be lost without them. A few years back several friends celebrated a 40th in San Francisco. One friend made a book of memories from the trip and that book remains one of the treasures of my life. I'd love to encourage you to create a book from your experience and share with your girlfriends. They make wonderful, meaningful gifts and are pretty reasonable. Blurb has an easy to use software but you can use any of the photo sites to make one. So glad you shared this beautiful day with us!

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCat

Oh Deb! What beautiful photos!!! Gasp! They actually look like paintings and are still taking my breath away! I couldn't tell that you are taking them from a moving train. They are perfect!

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterOne

What a fabulous thing to do! That is a great train ride, but the glider takes some beating, what a great way to celebrate friendship and life.

November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJanet/Plantaliscious

Gorgeous photos. I've also flown in a glider -- and the silence is so amazing -- just the sound of air. I remember thinking, this must be how a bird feels when its gliding on the air currents. Thanks for bringing back a memory.

My word what a train journey - I love pretty much any old train that gives half a view. But that trip of yours was spectacular.

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commentercatharine howard

How brave you are! Thank you!!!

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

You've got me a little teary eyed; beautiful as always. thank you for sharing the journey and reminding us what friendship is all about.

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Breath-taking scenery. After reading this post I realised that I haven't really celebrated any of my birthdays properly. Think I need to do some catching-up.

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterb-a-g

What an amazing way to see the fall foliage this season. I think I'd be nervous in a glider too! Perhaps to celebrate 70 you should go hang-gliding? Then you'll really feel like a bird. Might be tricky to take photos though!

November 3, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCurbstone Valley Farm

The fall color where you are is spectacular. I want to go on that train trip. My husband and I were given a glider ride for our 25 birthdays (a long time ago). I loved it, but it made him sick. Gliding along up in the sky is an amazing feeling.

I am back because I thought of something for the 70th, actually two somethings. A hot air balloon ride is amazing because you are looking down on top of the trees and moving slowly. But the best thing I ever did was convince the people who run the grooming equipment at night at a ski area to take me and my husband to the top of the mountain as they groomed. The experience was indescribable like being in outer space at the top of the world. I guess it would take a lot of planning on your part but well worth it.

Absolutely stunning photos of the countryside! I applaud you and your girlfriends for celebrating life's moments and creating wonderful memories and treasured friendships. Bravo!

November 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKarin/Southern Meadows

What an amazing trip you had. Thanks for letting us join you!

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGirlSprout

Such adventures you have been on lately! I love the picture of the train tracks with the golden trees on either side, and what an amazing view you got from the glider plane! Such beautiful fall colors!

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

Just found your blog. What absolutely beautiful photo scenes!

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJeannelle

Deb - these photos look like master paintings; Monet comes to mind. I envy your adventures on this trip! Trains and planes (hum, almost sounds like a good title for a movie?!) ;D Thanks for sharing your travels with us - this was simply fabulous!

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterShyrlene

What an adventure! Your photos of the train trip are spectacular with their soft colours, like paintings. I look forward to the sky diving report!

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterHeidi

What a weekend! I was enthralled with the train ride and then got to the glider adventure --- wow! This post just kept getting more and more interesting. I love that your group has stayed together over so many years and done so much together.

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLaurrie

Those first images from the train are just wonderful, you should link them in to GBFD on 22nd (I know it is a way off but they are so beautiful). You are very brave going in a glider, I'm sure it was a fantastic experience but I really prefered the view from the ground. Christina

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

In awe and very impressed! Gorgeous images and what a fun ride!

November 8, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterjoey

sounds like a wonderful weekend Deb, beautiful scenery, love the cat photo, Frances

November 11, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterIsland Threads
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