Awana Boys Overnight at Bent Tree

November 12-13, 2010

This is our parting picture on the dam of Bent Tree's Lake Tamarack at the end of this fall's Awana boys overnight. In back are Stan, Mark Todd, Scott Kelley and Johnny Huffman. The 10 boys in front are Buddie LaRue, Joshua Kelley, Connor Smith, Jacobi Cutts, Dylan Bates, Gage Marsh, Taylor Ammons, Logan Todd, Austin Hughes and Reginald Brown.

We left the church at 6pm and drove to Bent Tree. Brenda had gone up earlier and had a supper of hot dogs and chili ready for us, which we much appreciated. Johnny and Stan help Brenda serve. Gage, Jacobi and Taylor are ready for a hot dog.

The weather was mild enough for the boys to eat out on the deck.

Hungry Connor is back for seconds and Johnny is working on a special custom hotdog for him.

Buddie and Reginald make short work of their hotdogs.

Buddie puts the finishing touches on his second hotdog, and Logan stands by to make his.

Brenda had gotten a birthday celebration cookie to celebrate Zy'Keith's birthday today, but Zy'Keith was sick and couldn't come. But the boys enthusiastically pitched in and ate the cookie in Zy'Keith's honor. Then the main agenda was ping pong, with wild battles having four or more on each end of the table. Some played chess upstairs or worked on a jigsaw puzzle. Finally, all the boys settled down in their sleeping bags on the basement level.
Brenda and Johnny fixed up a fine breakfast of bacon, eggs and biscuits with sausage gravy. The boys ate out on the deck with a backdrop of fall leaf colors while the men ate inside.

We head out from the house for our hike to the top of Mt. Oglethorp. In back are Scott Kelley, Johnny Huffman, Mark Todd and Stan. Across the front, Buddie LaRue, Taylor Ammons, Jacobi Cutts, Austin Hughes, Dylan Bates, Logan Todd, Joshua Kelley, Gage Marsh, Connor Smith, Reginald Brown.

It's a very steep climb from the road up to the top of the ridge we follow to the top of Big Stump Mountain. Everyone knew they had had a climb when they got to this point. Johnny and Stan reach the rock ridge where we are going to stop for a water break.

Johnny and Gage reach the rock ridge. When the group gathers, we have our first water break. This was the steepest part of the climb, so I think everyone was ready for a break.

The boys scrambled up the gentler slope to the top of Big Stump Mountain at about 3000 ft and then we walked a short distance down a service road before taking the slope up the woods toward the top of Mt. Ogtlethorpe.

Continuing up the ridge on the skirt of Mt. Ogtlethorpe, we come to a tree leaning over, which we have visited regularly. Buddie LaRue is game for anything, so he is keen on climbing up it.

Most of the boys had a go at crossing the laid-over tree. This gave Johnny and Stan and I a strong sense of the passage of time. We have been bringing groups of boys to this tree for probably over 15 years. The first time, it was about eight feet off the ground and has gradually leaned over more.

Austin, Logan and Taylor out on a limb. I'm always enthusiastic about giving boys a time to just explore, and they had a good time playing on these trees on the side of Mt. Ogtlethorpe.

We made it on to the top of Mt. Ogtlethorpe, and right on the top near the overlook, Johnny spotted this fullgrown eastern garter snake. We were really surprised to see one in November, but when I read up on them, it was stated that they were active year-round, coming out on warmer winter days. This was certainly a mild day, and this one appeared to be sunning himself on the path.

After chasing him a bit with the camera, Rod grabbed him so the boys could get a closer look. He paid for that by carrying the snake's stinky musk with him until he got back down to the house to wash it off.

After the snake diversion, we made it to the lookout on top of Ogtlethorpe at about 3200 ft. There we had our apple and water break. We are just below the summit on which is placed a major air traffic guidance complex for the approach to Atlanta's Hartsfield Airport.

From the top of Mt. Ogtlethorpe we get views of two of the lakes of Big Canoe. As we head back down the mountain t he boys find a grape vine to swing on. Here Connor takes a turn.

Back down to the top of Big Stump Mountain, where we get a view of Lake Tamarack from a house sitting near the top.

In each of these two photos you can see where the other was taken!

In the photo above you can see that we got a great clear view of Lake Tamarack from the house. You can see the straight line of the earthen dam on the left part of the lake. More toward the right on the lake is a clearing where we ate lunch and where the picture to the right was taken.

From that point on the lakeshore we could see the house which appears to be at the base of the tower on top of Big Stump Mountain. The view of the lake above was taken from the left end of that house, in line with the tower.

After a steep trip down from the top of Big Stump Mountain, it gets even steeper as they come over the edge of the ridge and drop down the steep slope to the house. Austin Hughes and Logan Todd slip and slide down the steep, rocky mountainside.

Buddie LaRue comes down the slope as the whole group scrambles down the steep mountainside to the house. It is hard to stay on your feet all the way down.

We all made it down to the house and loaded up for the trip to the lake for lunch. This lovely lady watched from the roadside as we went down the mountain.

We had just a few minutes after lunch to let the boys see the waterfall and explore around the pool and stream below it.

They were loving the exploration of the creek below the falls, but it was time to go so we had to drag them out and head for home. We stopped briefly on the dam to give them the view of the mountains from there. Then we had to hit the road back to Mableton. We praised the Lord for safety and for a good time for the boys to see the handiwork of the Creator.

Cory's trip to a Thrashers hockey game

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