Family Trip to Bent Tree

November 25-26, 2013

We made the trip to Bent Tree about midday. The girls try a chess game before lunch. After lunch Darla with Jordan, Ashleigh and Elyse are ready for a hike up Big Stump Mountain.

The trees are nearly bare now. Quite a contrast to our trip in mid-October when things showed a lot of green.

We are off to hike up Big Stump Mountain. Jeff and family at our traditional photo spot at the top of Buckskull Court at the bottom of our driveway.

Granddad and the girls at the Buckskull location.

From the bottom of our driveway, I took them up our traditional route up Chestnut Cove Trail and then into the woods at the big chestnut log. From there it was a very steep climb to the top of the ridge, then still fairly steep until we got to the rock ridge that rings Big Stump Mountain.

After the really steep climb to the ridge, and the fairly steep climb up the ridge, we reached the level of the rock ledges and took a breather there.

Jeff and Darla and the girls were all in good shape and made it up these steep slopes with no problems. This was the first time for Elyse to make this trek.

From this height with the leaves off, you can just see Lake Tamarack through the trees.

From the rock ridge it was an easy walk over the top of Big Stump at 3000ft and we walked on up the gentle ridge toward Oglethorpe.

On the slope the girls found the slanted tree that the boys groups have climbed on for years on our hikes.

Elyse needs to get her tongue just right to make the final phase of the climb.

Three girls in a tree.

We walked on to the top of Mt. Oglethorpe at 3200ft, the highest peak in north central Georgia. One of the lakes of Big Canoe is in the background.

We had a view of the lakes of Big Canoe and a view to the distant blue mountains in the direction of Amicalola Falls.

We headed back down the slope from Oglethorpe peak and across the top of Big Stump Mountain to get this view down on Bent Tree's Lake Tamarack.

I started them down the steep, leaf-covered service trail with dire warnings about slipping and hitting on your bottom on a rock. But very soon, all three of them were tumbling down the steep slope in the knee-deep leaves. Luckily, they avoided any sharp rocks in the process.

When coming down from the top, you drop over a ridge and down a very steep slope to the house. At the edge, you are looking down on the roof of the house. I asked for a three minute headstart so that I could be on the slope when they came over the top. At right, Ashleigh, Jordan and Elyse come over the edge and start down the steep slope.

It is really hard to stay on your feet on the steepest part of this slope to the house.

From my perch on the steep side of the mountain I watched them make their way on down to the house.

Elyse stops to explore a hollow log. This is a recently fallen hollow tree where several years worth of boys groups had their picture taken.

The girls are shown approaching that log above.

Austin had discovered a good grapevine swing in the woods close to the house on our overnight trip with the boys recently. Elyse has fun trying it out. It reminded us of when her Uncle Mark had swung on a vine there in 1976.
Jeff had gathered firewood and was keen on a fire in the fireplace. When we returned from Elyse's vine swinging we saw smoke coming from the chimney. With a toasty warm room, the girls settled in to play UNO.

Nightfall found Jordan, Elyse, Brenda and Darla playing a board game. Then we had a family dinner. Then with the cozy fire in the fireplace, we retired downstairs for more UNO games and reading. It had been a long time since we had such a nice fire in the fireplace.

Ashleigh and Brenda join the UNO game, and we all settle in the basement with the warm fire. It's coziness was enhanced by the fact that a cold rain had started outside.

Darla and Jordan try some ping-pong before bedtime.

Jordan and Elyse end the day with a game of parcheesi in the warm basement. The rain had turned to sleet, and we went to bed with the sound of ice falling on the roof from the freezing rain on the trees.

We enjoyed a nice breakfast accompanied by the sound of pouring rain outside. In the early morning hours the sleet had changed to rain.

After breakfast there was time for more ping-pong.

Jordan and Ashleigh clowning around on the other end of the ping-pong table.

Finally it was time to load up in the pouring rain. We had anticipated it, so it was not a big problem. We decided to drive around the lake as we left and are looking toward our house in the view above right. It is near the top of the peak at extreme left, in the clouds at this point.

This is the lake view from the dam at the point where we usually take our parting group photo. We decided to forgo that today, given the pouring rain, but it was neat to see anyway. It poured rain on us all the way home, but we yet rejoiced about a very interesting and pleasant trip to Bent Tree.

Thanksgiving Day

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