Red Wing Roots IV

Day 1bsomeIMG_7880bsomeIMG_7879bsomeIMG_7766 bsomeIMG_7792 bsomeIMG_7752bsomeIMG_7969bsomeIMG_7966bsomeIMG_7964 bsomeIMG_7796 bsomeIMG_7762 bsomeIMG_7798 bsomeIMG_7748bsomeIMG_7878bsomeIMG_7845

Front CountrybsomeIMG_7808bsomeIMG_7812bsomeIMG_7833bsomeIMG_7841bsomeIMG_7909

Sierra HullbsomeIMG_7888bsomeIMG_7898bsomeIMG_7908bsomeIMG_7889bsomeIMG_7915bsomeIMG_7918bsomeIMG_7922bsomeIMG_8182Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens

Bumper JacksonsbsomeIMG_8062bsomeIMG_8066bsomeIMG_8071bsomeIMG_8169bsomeIMG_8186

Hiss Golden MessengerbsomeIMG_8187bsomeIMG_8207bsomeIMG_8198bsomeIMG_8217bsomeIMG_8219bsomeIMG_8225bsomeIMG_8227 bsomeIMG_8236bsomeimg_9678bsomeimg_9679 bsomeIMG_8234 bsomeIMG_8231 bsomeIMG_8237bsomeIMG_8245


Steep Canyon RangersbsomeIMG_8350bsomeIMG_8323bsomeIMG_8359bsomeIMG_8364bsomeIMG_8377bsomeIMG_8381bsomeIMG_8385bsomeIMG_8388bsomeIMG_8400bsomeIMG_8394

Jarekus SingletonbsomeIMG_8421bsomeIMG_8437bsomeIMG_8463bsomeIMG_8495bsomeIMG_8529bsomeIMG_8535bsomeIMG_8548bsomeIMG_8515bsomeIMG_8521bsomeIMG_8478



Day 2


Dom Flemons Trio
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The Judy ChopsbsomeIMG_8819 bsomeIMG_8823 bsomeIMG_8824bsomeIMG_8828bsomeIMG_8847bsomeIMG_8848bsomeIMG_8854bsomeIMG_8869bsomeIMG_8870bsomeIMG_8873bsomeIMG_8881bsomeIMG_8885bsomeIMG_8882bsomeIMG_8892

Chris SmitherbsomeIMG_8891bsomeIMG_8899bsomeIMG_8900bsomeIMG_8896bsomeIMG_8902bsomeimg_8947bsomeimg_8950bsomeimg_8954bsomeimg_8958bsomeimg_8959bsomeimg_9012bsomeimg_8969bsomeimg_9687bsomeimg_9016bsomeimg_9017bsomeimg_8922bsomeimg_9685bsomeimg_8910bsomeimg_8907bsomeimg_8917bsomeimg_8934bsomeimg_8941bsomeimg_8944bsomeimg_9007bsomeimg_8973

Walking Roots Bandbsomeimg_8977bsomeimg_8982bsomeimg_8985bsomeimg_8986bsomeimg_8995bsomeimg_8968bsomeimg_9197bsomeimg_9026bsomeimg_9214bsomeimg_9208bsomeimg_9033bsomeimg_9052bsomeimg_9064bsomeimg_9062bsomeimg_9044bsomeimg_9046

Drew Holcomb

The Steel Wheelsbsomeimg_9227bsomeimg_9229bsomeimg_9239bsomeimg_9246bsomeimg_9248bsomeimg_9250bsomeimg_9233bsomeimg_9334bsomeimg_9272bwbsomeimg_9276bsomeimg_9304bsomeimg_9296bsomeimg_9344bsomeimg_9387bsomeimg_9394bsomeimg_9445bsomeimg_9442bsomeimg_9409bsomeimg_9418bsomeimg_9420bsomeimg_9402bsomeimg_9427bsomeimg_9457

JP Harrisbsomeimg_9467bsomeimg_9503bsomeimg_9643bsomeimg_9475bsomeimg_9478bsomeimg_9487bsomeimg_9488bsomeimg_9519bsomeimg_9490bsomeimg_9486bsomeimg_9634bsomeimg_9639

The Lone Bellowbsomeimg_9534bsomeimg_9525bsomeimg_9556bsomeimg_9565bsomeimg_9568bsomeimg_9574bsomeimg_9578bsomeimg_9577bsomeimg_9617bsomeimg_9554

Day 3


The Hot Seatsbsomeimg_9660

Sarah Lynna & The Misfit Toysbsomeimg_9669 bsomeimg_0011bsomeimg_0038bsomeimg_9682bsomeimg_9686bsomeimg_9688bsomeimg_9692bsomeimg_9726bsomeimg_9719bsomeimg_9733bsomeimg_9728bsomeimg_0268bsomeimg_0165bsomeimg_0176bsomeimg_9696bsomeimg_9697

Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Linebsomeimg_9701bsomeimg_9986bsomeimg_9996bsomeimg_9971bsomeimg_9704 bsomeimg_0013 bsomeimg_0021 bsomeimg_0030 bsomeimg_0009bsomeimg_9738 bsomeimg_0031bsomeimg_9720bsomeimg_0042bsomeimg_0062bsomeimg_9743bsomeimg_9750bsomeimg_9749bsomeimg_0047bsomeimg_9792bsomeimg_9821bsomeimg_0163bsomeimg_0040bsomeimg_9783bsomeimg_9761bsomeimg_9764bsomeimg_9770bsomeimg_9777bsomeimg_9786bsomeimg_9808bsomeimg_9791bsomeimg_9815bsomeimg_9834

Shenandoah Alleybsomeimg_9859bsomeimg_9890bsomeimg_9874bsomeimg_9895bsomeimg_9897bsomeimg_9898bsomeimg_9910bsomeimg_9932bsomeimg_9921bsomeimg_9944bsomeimg_9936bsomeimg_9960bsomeimg_9957bsomeimg_9963bsomeimg_9965bsomeimg_0005bsomeimg_0067

Aoife O’Donovanbsomeimg_0074bsomeimg_0081

Dustbowl Revivalbsomeimg_0142bsomeimg_0144bsomeimg_0149bsomeimg_9970bsomeimg_0107bsomeimg_0106bsomeimg_0151bsomeimg_0155

Shovels & Ropebsomeimg_0203bsomeimg_0200bsomeimg_0198bsomeimg_0233bsomeimg_0236bsomeimg_0218bsomeimg_0222bsomeimg_0245bsomeimg_0264bsomeimg_0254bsomeimg_0259bsomeimg_0068

Red Wing V dates have been announced! Mark your calendars for July 14-16, 2017!


took a hike, took a camera: Cranny Crow

Blake had a bummed bum so he stayed behind (heh!) and took a heavy dose of Netflix. He hated not going on our first hike of the year…but it was Super Bowl Sunday and I fully intended to eat my weight in wings so – movement of my body was a necessity. Since friends were coming over late afternoon and Blake was laid up at home, we wanted to stay close.  So we headed back 259W just passed Highland Retreat for Lost River State Park. Once in the area, we found the trailhead with ease, thanks to a park map loaned to me by a hike-loving coworker. On our trek up to the Cranny Crow overlook, we hiked on frozen mud and patches of snow. On our way back down, the frozen mud was nice and squelchy squirchy and the patches of snow had disappeared into the earth. It’s no secret that the West Virginia mountains are wonderful but it’s great to be reminded of it in person. Fresh crisp air, blue skies, layers of blue ridges fading out of sight, eerie howling animals in the distance – yep, West, by God. Before returning home, we stopped at Lost River Grill to enjoy a warm beverage to the sound of The Judd’s playing on the radio. Ella’s eyes lit up and we broke into a mother-daughter duet that even Naomi and Wynonna would envy. When the songs were over, our cups empty, our bodies warm and content we left to go welcome our Super Bowl guests and watch Queen Bey’s halftime show. Drooool.bsomeIMG_0686bsomeIMG_0692 bsomeIMG_0695 bsomeIMG_0691 bsomeIMG_0696 bsomeIMG_0703bsomeIMG_0730bsomeIMG_0707bsomeIMG_0712

Cell phone summary:

Cranny Crow WV

(…some selfies, a crow pose at Cranny Crow, my new specs, Ella being Ella at Lost River Grill…)

took a hike, took a camera: Overall Run Falls

The park is burning and I have a horrible feeling inside me because of it. Beautiful, tragic photos of the glowing ridge line are spreading through my social media feeds like, well, like wildfire. And while I know the ashes will bring lush new growth and our mountains will survive, it breaks my heart to watch my favorite playground struggle like this. I’m sad for those old trees. I’m sad for the baby seedlings. I’m sad for the flowers that waited so long to burst open in the warm sun. I’m sad for the hungry, tired, fearful animals fleeing from the flames. I’m sad for the history that is being erased and made. I’m sad for the workers and volunteers who put countless hours of care into our trails. I’m sad for the work that is ahead.  And I’m sad to think this was caused by a careless, human mistake.

In December when it was warm enough to hike in light layers, we hit the trails on the north end of the Drive. This time to Overall Run Falls. It’s been a few months since this particular hike but a few key things stick out about that day: Ella slipped and fell on a rock (she’s ok) and thought it was the most hilarious thing in the entire world. We found a tree that looks like a hippo, I got to catchup on life and cackle with my sister, we saw a whole family of quiet, graceful whitetail deer, and my son gave sound social advice to my daughter as they talked about some struggles at school like ol’ friends.

As I sit to type this the view out my window is smokey and I can smell the tainted air. I hope you find time, real soon, to get out there and enjoy those simple pleasures like hiking, breathing with the trees, catching up with your family and watching your children bond. Let this haze be a reminder that nothing is permanent – go enjoy the things and beings that fill you up!

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took a hike, took a camera: Jones Run

I’m convinced that, in general, I can juggle more than the average Joe/Jane. Because I do, regularly.  I’m not saying that to brag and I don’t need a pat on the back for it or anything. It’s something I’m proud of. I can’t imagine my life any other way. I love all the things I do; I thrive when I’m involved; time management is one of my strengths and I enjoy feeling productive, active, motivated. Last week was different though. I had real things on my mind. Like, health things. Things that made me reflect on my life. Things that took over my brain and mixed-up the hours and made everyday routines a challenge.

On Friday I was at work and a bit foggy. Half way through the day the stench of a skunk hit me like ammonia. It knocked me out of my mind and plopped me in the present. There was a kid in my class who had been sprayed by a skunk before school. Poor thing had to walk around all dang day like that. And teenagers are not equipped to notice a skunk stink and not say something about it. That student had to carry that around all day. The least I could do was pull myself together and give them my 90 minutes of love and attention that day. As much as it sucked for that kid, I was thankful for that jolt.

Hiking is my skunk stench…in the best possible way. When I’m cloudy, a visit to the mountains helps me see things more clearly. When I’m antsy, focusing my energy on the steep incline towards an overlook cures me. When I feel like I’m being swallowed by to-do lists, the trails give me a release that I don’t feel guilty about. You know how it feels to stretch when you get off a plane? Or how perfect it is to chug milk after scarfing a warm cookie? Or the sheer relief of taking down the friggin’ Christmas tree on the morning of Dec. 26?  Well all of that plus fresh air and no cell service = zing!

This hike was no exception. I decided on Jones Run Falls and invited Ben and his children to join me. We saw signs of “a giant animal” along the way but I wouldn’t dare speak the b-word. Partially because I don’t wish to encounter bears on my hikes and partially because Ben’s son, Aiden, thought my fear was hysterical. The hike down to the falls was mild and beautiful. We had lunch on the rocks with a waterfall backdrop then started back to the car. On our way off of Skyline Drive, just moments from the trailhead, we saw mama and her cubs just off the side of the road. Pretty cool, especially from the comfort of my car.

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Cell phone summary:Jones Run Falls Cell Phone


took a hike, took a camera: Cedar Run Falls

I’ve never fully understood what causes us to remember certain moments over others and what causes many moments to fall through the filter. It makes sense to remember huge events: my wedding day, the birth of my children, the day my Nanny passed, the day I purchased my own home as a single mother, that time a dog ate my face for breakfast (really, 50 stitches I won’t forget). But what makes us forget other seemingly huge things? Things like graduating high school, driving a car for the first time and signing divorce papers all happened in my life but I couldn’t tell you a thing about them. I remember a lot about my senior year of high school but not about graduation itself. My Nanny taught me just about all there is to know about operating a vehicle but I can’t recall the first time. I do, however, remember the first time I drove as a licensed and legal 16 year old…it was with my three little sisters. We went to the mall.  I have been married and divorced but it appears that those final final days have been blocked from my memory. The brain is so fascinating.

Just before sitting to write this post I was making myself lunch. I heated up my quinoa soup, topped it with Sriracha and put the sauce back in the fridge. As I was sitting at the table eating, I realized I didn’t know where the Sriracha went. Sure enough, it was in the fridge. I put it there, I guess. We all do this at one point or another. We get to work and don’t remember the commute. We take a second dose of our vitamins because we forgot about the first dose. We put the milk in the cabinet and the cereal in the dishwasher. We see a bruise and think “surely I should remember how I got that“. We stare at our car door wondering why on earth our house key won’t unlock it. I’m not alone here, right? We are distracted individuals. These types of things happen because they’re routine and we go into autopilot. Not much brain power is needed to do mundane tasks so they are forgettable. Things that really stick with us are the new experiences. The firsts. The first time I hiked Old Rag: epic. The first time I went white water rafting with a bunch of ballsy dudes: terrifying, but memorable. The first time I camped and hiked in Denali, Alaska: surreal. Epic, terrifying, surreal…not words I would use to describe my morning routine. Each of those adventures not only put me out of my comfort zone but they made me feel strong, independent, confident, capable and worthy of all of those feelings. Being little in the middle of big nature does that for me. Giant rocks, massive mountains, roaring river rapids – nothing will put you in check like Mama Earth.

I don’t know what my kids will remember about their childhood and I really have little control over what they’ll retain along their way. But I like putting them in front of memorable experiences. I like showing them what it’s like to feel small…and I like feeling small with them. Each summit – a badge of self-reliance. Each waterfall – a source of confidence. Every trail – a step closer to themselves. I hope they carry these memories with them and I hope more is learned from our days in the mountains than I could ever teach them with my words. 
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Cell phone summary:


took a hike, took a camera: Hawksbill Zombie Hike

On our last hike, the kids had the idea to do a Zombie hike. (um, ok!) Hurricane Joaquin interfered with our first attempt but our second attempt was filled with clear blue skies and beaming Fall colors. The hike included zombie-inspired snacks by my daughter, lots of strange looks from fellow hikers, a few strategic scares and a couple capsules of fake blood. Happy Halloween!fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4469 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4453 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4440 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4450 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4456 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4436 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4471 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4476 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4477 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4481 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4479 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4486 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4501 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4502 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4530 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4514 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4509 fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4543fclHawksbillZombie_IMG_4462

Cell phone summary:HawksbillZombieCellPhone

took a hike, took a camera: Hawksbill

A harmless invite and there I was in a panic. “Meet us at the park,” she suggested. “The kids can play.” Time paused a moment as my world zeroed in on me: my son doesn’t play at the park. My son doesn’t play at the park! He’s a teenager. Teenagers don’t play at parks. Little kids play at parks. And he is not little anymore. When he stands our eyeballs meet. He will soon surpass me in height. Seemingly impossible considering I just paced a path into the living room floor after mid-night feedings, rubbing his back, shooshing him the way mothers do to relax his ten pound little body back to sleep. That tiny life that I raised, that I’m raising, is too big for park swings. One day you wake up and everything is different.

I am peeved by mottos instructing us to “live like there’s no tomorrow.” Sayings like this are far removed from their intended meaning and used as an excuse to live an irresponsible and reckless life. Living like there’s no moment after this moment, in the literal sense, is not realistic. Tomorrow my electric bill is due, therefore today I have to plan how to pay it. And that probably means I’m going to say no to dinner with friends a time or two in order to work to earn said money for said bill.  If everyone lived like there was no tomorrow, the world would be in complete shambles. The laundry would never get cleaned, the seeds would never be planted, shelters would never be built, books would never be written, families would fall apart, everyone would be broke and uneducated and the world would turn black and die! I exaggerate, but really, who has the time and resources to truly live like there’s no tomorrow? Not me.

Every now and then, I am reminded that time isn’t waiting for my electric bill to be paid. It’s not waiting for invites to the park. It’s not waiting…it’s moving. So there are times when even if I’m tired, even if the dishes are dirty, even if I haven’t had a moment to shower in three days, even if it means we’re having Nutella and granola bars for dinner…I just go and do something that deposits memories in the bank. That’s what the sunset hike to Hawksbill was for us. It was a long day and I was tiiiiired with endless to-do’s to check-off but we went anyway. We couldn’t have timed it more perfectly and arrived at the summit with thirty minutes to spare before the sun fell below the blue ridge. The looks on my kids’ faces at the vast, spectacular view are the moments I live for. Uninhibited awe. We snacked and explored and sat together and said prayers for people who need them. With the setting sun came almost immediate darkness so we strapped on our headlamps and headed back down the trail to the car. With nearly no light pollution and tree leaves covering the starlight, the walk back was the darkest dark I remember. My daughter squeezed my hand and chatted with me the whole hike back. The boys searched for deer and frogs with their flashlights and clonked their every-growing teenage feet behind me. It was the coolest hike of the year.

While you can’t plan every second and you can’t realistically live like there’s no tomorrow, you can enjoy right now. You never know when you’ll give them their last push on the swing set. You probably won’t remember the last time you helped them wash the shampoo from their hair, the last time you had to walk around the grocery store with a babydoll in your cart or the last time you cut up their dinner. But the last time will come for all of these things, as it should. Their childhood is moving and changing and fading and with good effort, it will be a fond memory they tell stories about one day. I hope to keep giving them stories to tell. ❤

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Red Wing Roots III

It’s the third year in and I’m not tired of it yet. Not one bit. I love the drive to Mt. Solon. I love the growing sound of banjos and harmonicas as I walk closer to the Chimneys. I love seeing all the familiar faces of Harrisonburg. I love meeting new faces. I love overhearing people gush about how beautiful this festival is. I love the running, smiling, happy children. I love being blown away by performers I never even knew existed. I love my dirty feet at the end of the day. I love watching the weekend through my viewfinder. I love when a moment is so perfect it pulls me from a conversation because I just can’t not take that photo. I love the blue skies. I love the gray skies. I love the food. Oh God, the food. I love working with photographers who are kind and respectful and fun. I love that next year, Red Wing Roots will return and I can do it all again. Aw sookie!

Below are a few of my favorite shots. You can find more on my Facebook page in the coming days and on Instagram at @bsomephoto.

Day 1