RAs to Bent Tree

April 14, 2007

Sebastian and Gent jump eagerly on the ping pong table when we reach the Nave house at Bent Tree after the drive from Mableton.

Oscar Avila was able to come on this trip with his niece Olga and nephews Jesus at right and Sebastian in yellow above. After a few minutes of ping pong we headed out for a hike to the top of Oglethorpe Mountain.

We headed up Chestnut Cove Trail and prepared to enter the woods to go up the mountainside to the top of Big Stump Mountain. Rod had challenged the kids to look for unusual flowers and other objects, and Olga and Gent made a good effort in doing so.

Olga found yellow violets like this one growing out of the moss, and Gent found the emerging fern coil above right. The yellow violets were abundant. Below is a budding flower on a mandrake plant, the abundant plants that look like tiny umbrellas on the forest floor.
The first third of the hike is very steep, and we were all ready for water. Johnny pours water for Jesus, Sebastian and Gent, who are coming back for seconds. Being in possession of the water bottle made Johnny very popular at this stage of the trip. Oscar and Olga left and Gent and Stan right come back for seconds.
The bloodroot leaf above left is sheltering the stalk of its emerging bloom, but I didn't get to see a bloodroot flower - still just a little too early. Above right is a blooming sessile trillium, the most common of the trilliums in this area. Most of them were not yet in bloom.
The next milestone is the rock ridge which marks the end of the really steep climb up the side of Big Stump Mountain. Johnny makes it to the ridge with Olga, Jesus, Sebastian and Gent.
Past the rock ridge, the slope levels off considerably and soon we were past the top of Big Stump Mountain at 3100 ft. and on our way up the slopes to the top of Oglethorpe Mountain. Jesus and Stan come along on one of the rare flat spots.
We saw lots of hickory nuts that were gnawed by the squirrels.
On this stretch we found a slanted tree that they could climb on. Olga has a go at it. Above, Johnny is coaching Jesus and Gent, and Jesus and Olga watch as Gent tries the climb.
We made it to the top of Ogtlethorpe Mountain at about 3200 feet, and could look down on the lakes of Big Canoe to the east. At this altitude it was not yet spring - in fact the trees showed some freeze damage from the severe cold spell we had this week.
Having made the climb, rising about 800 feet from the house at 2400 feet, we took a break at the overlook and had water and apples.
We took the easy slope back down to the top of Big Top Mountain where we could see Bent Tree's Lake Tamarack below us. At the top, we saw the sessile trillium blooming and lots of the umbrella-like mandrake plants, but little else was out.
At the top of Big Stump Mountain, you get a nice view of the lake. This was the group on our way down from Oglethorpe.
The descent is steep all the way down, and then you look over the edge down to the house, and it seems like you are looking right down on the roof. That part is really steep! The group scrambles over the edge to take on that steep slope.
Javier and Kevin come down the steepest part of the slope. At right Jesus, Sebastian and Gent are making their way down.
The boys stopped to explore a hollow tree on the way down. I'm glad there wasn't a bear in there!
The final item on our agenda was a walk down by the waterfall to see it and the pool and stream below the falls. That area has always been one of our favorite places.
Let the rivers clap their hands, let the mountains sing together for joy; let them sing before the Lord
Psalm 98:8
Batan palmas los rios, y canten jubilosos todos los montes! Canten delante del SENOR.
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