Smokey Mountain Elk Herd

Elk in River

[Smoky Mountain elk herd crossing the Oconaluftee River. October, 2013. full-size]

We found this herd of rogue elk deliberately ignoring the partial government shutdown! We caught them grazing in the Mountain Farm exhibit at the Oconaluftee Visitor Center, and resting in the Oconaluftee River. These elk shenanigans and the shutdown of Great Smoky Mountain National Park during our annual camping trip was enough to make me feel like a Grumpy Cat.

Grumpy Lon

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Butterfly Photo Gallery

Heidi at the Butterfly Garden, Tennessee Aquarium, Chattanooga, TN, April, 2008

[Heidi at the Butterfly Garden of the Tennessee Aquarium, April, 2008.]

This Photo Friday commemorates our visit to Chattanooga’s Tennessee Aquarium in April of 2008, where Dawn, Heidi and I are visiting again today.

And after all, who doesn’t like butterflies, right? So here’s a small photo gallery of butterflies we found near a stream while hiking in the Smoky Mountains in June, 2008.

Standing in Sugar Cane

Family Photo

[taken at the Mountain Farm outside Cherokee, NC, October 13, 2002.]

What did your family look like 10 years ago? Does an image come to mind?

Well, here’s a Photo Friday image of the Hetrick family (dad is behind the camera) from almost 11 years ago. Dawn and I love this photo. (Heidi just looked over my shoulder and said the same.) It reminds us of all the fun we’ve had on our fall camping trips — a family tradition since 1995.

Just for the record, Dawn and I love being parents. I think we can honestly say we’ve enjoyed being mom and dad to these three very unique and wonderful children through every stage of their lives. We learned a lot about parenting, and we’ve decided to share some parenting tips for those of you whose kids are still at home and growing. Look for those posts soon.