Jeff and Family to Bent Tree

May 18-20 , 2008

We had looked forward to this trip to Bent Tree since it had been so long since they had been able to get up into the North Georgia mountain. We settled in for dinner at the house on Sunday, May 18.

After supper the girls were interested in learning to play chess. Rod with Elyse as she tries a few moves, but then Rod played games with Ashleigh and Jordan. They learned quickly and made progress in the game. We had a nice sunset and then played until fairly late.

We awoke to a beautiful morning in the deep green woods. The view immediately below is from the front deck and those to the left are also in the generally northward direction from the front of the house.

Jordan is out early, ready to explore.

The girls awoke in a playful mood and we had a good breakfast before the days activities.

The mountain laurels were blooming luxuriously along the roads.

We were getting ready for a hike to the top of the mountain and Brenda came outside with the girls.

Rod withAshleigh and Jordan at our traditional picture spot at the top of Buckskull as we head out on our hike.

We walked up Chestnut Cove Trail and then into the woods at the point where a huge old chestnut log lay. Jordan and Ashleigh are on top of it in the shot above left, but you can hardly see it. We told them the story of the Chestnut blight of 1927 that killed all the Chestnuts. Above right, Ashleigh holds a piece of the root of the bloodroot plant. We had told her that story as well and used the bloodroot as "warpaint" across her cheeks. We had seen some dramatic examples of the root color on the recent RA trip.

From the log we headed up the streambed, climbing steeply up to the ridge that takes us to the top of Big Stump Mountain.

I was very surprised to find what appears to be a yellow orchid about halfway up to the rock ridge from the road. It may be more in the class of a pitcher plant, but it is something I have never seen before here in this area and I have hiked it for more than 30 years.

The white violet was the most common bloom on that ridge, and there were big patches of them. It's intriquing that the white ones remain and the violet and yellow ones are gone at this date.

Ashleigh and Jordan in their queen of the woods poses on a long up on the ridgeline.

Jeff, Ashleigh and Jordan at the rock ridge that marks the end of the steepest part of the climb up Big Stump Mountain.

A testament to the tenacity of life, the fern above was just hanging on to the bare rock wall, with tentacles going over the rock to find nutrients. The girls investigated everything, and found this neat green ball with a kind of filament structure inside.

I ran across and old friend, the buckeye butterfly as we crossed the top of Big Stump Mountain.

Passing the top of Big Stump Mountain, we continued up the ridge toward the top of Mt. Ogtlethorpe. We stopped off at our old climbing tree where many generations of RAs have climbed, and Ashleigh and Jordan had a go at the tree.

So we had two girls up in the tree in the beautiful woods high on the side of Mt. Ogtlethorpe.

Jeff gets into the climbing as well and then backs up Ashleigh as she makes it all the way across the bent tree to a neighboring tree where she could swing down.

We made it to the top of Mt. Ogtlethorpe at about 3300 ft! Jeff with Ashleigh and Jordan with one of the lakes of Big Canoe in the background.

Granddad Rod gets his chance to pose with the girls.

Another treat of this hike was finding this variety of trillium, which I had not seen for a long time. Ashleigh and Jordan found it under the lookout platform. The image at right shows the three-leaf structure of the plant.

The violet and white varieties of the trilium were found just a few feet away.

We headed back down from Mt. Oglethorpe and stopped on the driveway of the house closest to the tower on top of Big Stump Mountain. Ashleigh, Jeff and Jordan with a backdrop of Bent Tree's Lake Tamarack about 1500 feet below us. The image at right shows the location of the house where the picture is taken. This view of the mountain is from the beach.

Ashleigh and Jordan coming down the steep hill behind the house. We had come down the steep service road from top of the mountain.

Jeff makes the final approach to the house on the steep slope.

Jordan and Ashleigh in a big hollow tree just above the house on the mountainside.

Trip down to Lake Tamarack

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