Men and Boys Overnight, Bent Tree

November 9-10, 2012

We left the church about 6pm on Friday, November 9, with seven boys and five adults for an overnight at the Bent Tree house. Brenda had fixed chili for supper and sausage gravy for breakfast, so we put together a hotdog and chili supper for everyone when we got to the house.

After supper the boys were enthusiastic about playing ping-pong, although it didn't necessarily resemble the traditional game.

The weather was beautiful, so we decided to take a starwalk. We walked from Buckskull Court at the base of out driveway up to where Thunderstruck Court branches off, and had a great view of the stars. We saw Casseopeia clearly, and behind us we saw what was clearly a planet (very bright, not twinkling) and thought it was Venus. From this map, it appears that it was Jupiter. We were probably out walking about 45 min and after a few more ping-pong battles, the boys settled down about 11pm.

Along with Brenda's sausage gravy, we fixed biscuits and eggs for breakfast, with John and Johnny taking the major hands in breakfast preparation. The morning was beautiful and surprisingly mild, so the boys opted for eating outside on the deck.

We headed up Chestnut Cove Trail to the point where we head steeply up the mountain. The boys lined up on this big chestnut log, dating from the 1927 chestnut blight which killed all those big trees.

At the big chestnut log we left the road and climbed steeply for about a hundred yards to the ridge behind the top of Thunderstruck Court. After another fifty yards or so we stopped for water along the slope leading to the top of Big Stump Mountain.

We stopped for a rest at the rock ridge which circles Big Stump Mt. This is a good spot for a break since we have made it up the steep climb from the road and then up a steep ridge to this point. Rod is trying to get the group together for a photo - this photo by Joe.

From this point the mountain rounded over and it was an easy walk to the top of Big Stump Mountain. We had encouraged the boys to look for interesting things, and Austin and Logan had found interesting root systems on sprouted acorns up on the rocky ledge. This one was held by Austin.

We had reached the top of Big Stump at about 3000 ft and had planned to go on to the top of Ogtlethorpe Mt, but there were active deer hunters in the woods, so we decided to head back down. The water tanks of Bent Tree are behind us, and a cell tower behind them that you can just barely see, but from the lake you can see it clearly to pinpoint our location. The above photo was taken from the parking pad that this driveway leads to. It is one of our best viewpoints of Lake Tamarack below.

The above pictures show the dam and spillway area of Lake Tamarack, which we visited later. We were at 3000 ft at the house seen at the base of the cell tower on the mountain, and the picture at right is the reverse view from the lake at 1500 ft.

From the overlook we headed down the steep service road which leads to the pumping station. Rod is taking it carefully because the abundant rocks under the leaves can land you on your rear end in a hurry.

Near the pumping station we divert over to a point where we can descend through the woods to the house.

Rod is positioned on the steep slope above the house to catch the boys as they come over the top of the ridge.

This is about as closely into the sun as I've ever tried to shoot. It produced some interesting patterns.

Unfortunately, when Rod got in position above the house, the boys were coming over the ridge from a direction straight into the sun! When they passed him, they continued to go slipping, sliding and tumbling down the steep slope to the house.

When we reached the house, we packed up and headed down to Lake Tamarack for lunch.

We had our traditional peanut butter and jelly sandwich lunch at the lake, but the boys ate quickly because they had found the creek and lots of rocks to throw into it.

Note the tower on top of the mountain above them. The house that appears to be at the base of the tower is where we looked down on the lake just an hour or so ago.

I have always thought that there is some kind of primal urge in boys to throw rocks in creeks. The boys had a great time for about an hour, throwing rocks and going off to find bigger ones. Above, Logan has found a big rock that he has to carry some distance to be rewarded by the big splash.

At right, Alex carries a big rock to the top of the bank to make a really big splash. Jorge looks on approvingly.

The last game of the afternoon before we had to head out was a group wrestling match out on the grass.

We swung by the dam to take this picture and the one at the top of the document. We had seen this section of the dam from the overlook earlier.

We are standing on the dam at a position about at the right side of the yellow tree tip. The place where the boys were throwing rocks is at the right of this small picture where the stream runs from the lake. The little road runs beside the picnic area where we had lunch.

On our way out of Bent Tree, we swung by the stables for the boys to see the ponies and horses. Joe captured these pictures plus a nice shot of a wild turkey as we headed for home.

We praised the Lord for a safe trip and beautiful weather that allowed the boys to see and experience a variety of things in God's creation.

Jeff and family arrive

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