Church Street Kids to Bent Tree

May 15-16, 2009

The group on the Bent Tree dam at the end of our overnight trip to Bent Tree. Front row, LR: Summer Gilbert, Bailey Hall, Logan Todd, Michael Gilman, Alexi Hughes. Second row: Drew Brandon, Pat Peal, Jenny Musgrove, Ruth Floyd and Brenda Nave, Stan in back.

Stan, Pat and Ruth brought five girls and two boys with them, and Scott Kelley drove separately with his son Joshua. Brenda and Rod had gone up earlier and Brenda had fixed a supper of hotdogs and chili. Stan helps Brenda with serving as Summer and Bailey claim the first places in line.

The girls table: CCW from left Jenny Musgrove, Alexi Hughes, Summer Gilbert, Bailey Hall, Drew Brandon.

Ruth helps serve the boys table. Scott Kelley at left, then CW around table Logan Todd, Michael Gilman, Joshua Kelley and Stan Johnson.

Hmm! We're more used to dealing with rowdy boys from the RA group. Girls do different things. Alexi and Summer try their stretches, and Jenny at right takes off her sock and puts on her hat with her toes!

There was lots of action around the ping-pong table, but I don't know how much actual ping-pong got played.

Scott brought along his guitar, and even had Stan and Rod singing with him at one point.

After individual talent events, Pat organizes a girl's group for a rousing version of the peanut butter and jelly song.

Ruth replies with another crazy song with the girls.

After all the activity and craziness, Pat and Ruth sat down with the kids for a devotional, and they settled down for a very mature and thoughtful sharing time about living for Jesus and sharing Jesus with their friends. Some of the responses of the kids were very impressive.

Ruth and Pat had brought supplies for making individual ice cream with a bag of ice and salt and an inner bag with the ice cream mix. But they had to work for their dessert!

The reward of ice cream was motivation enough to get them to shake the bags for 15 minutes. They got nice ice cream!

Saturday morning started with a very nice breakfast of pancakes, eggs and bacon cooked by Pat, Ruth and Brenda.

It took a bit to get the kids to settle because two deer wandered up to the back of the house.

It was a great morning for breakfast on the deck in the deep woods.

We head down the driveway for a hike up the mounntains, and the kids are excited to find a big snail. Bailey holds the snail for everyone to see. Rod and Stan are guiding the hike, and one of the things we want to do is get them to look at nature and the things God has made.

Jenny Musgrove, Drew Brandon, Alexi Hughes, Bailey Hall, Logan Todd, Michael Gilman and Summer Gilbert with Stan behind. Our traditional picture at the top of Buckskull Court before we take off to climb the mountain.

We hiked up the road and then steeply up into the deep woods on the side of Big Stump Mountain.

One surprise discovery on the way up the ridge was this yellow orchid growing wild in the woods. I have only seen this species once before up here.

Certainly neither so elegant nor so rare were the abundant snails. They were nevertheless very fascinating to the kids.

This is the view from the rock ledge back down the ridge we had just climbed through the woods. Rod reminded them that nothing they could see at this time was man-made, and held up a leaf for them to look at. Then he offered a million dollars to anyone who could make him another just like it. They were quick to respond that only God can make a leaf, and we had a good discussion of that. Rod made the point that even harnessing the scientific capability of the entire world, we could not make another leaf just like it.

The last slope down to the back of the house is extremely steep, and we come down slipping and sliding. Above, Stan and Logan lead the way and then the others carefully come down the steep rocky mountainside.

It was very difficult to stay on your feet on this slope, and each person developed their own way to do it. Most of us went down a couple of times at least.

About the time we got to the house, it started pouring rain. We loaded up our food and drove to the covered pavilion at the beach to have lunch.

After lunch the rain stopped and some of the group got in some fishing from the dock.

Some of them played on the beach and in the lake, and there was plenty of time to bury Summer.

This bream bed I visualized as the luxurious bream country home. Plenty of elbow room.

This is moving into the bream suburbs, with close neighbors, but room to grow.

Now these are the bream condos, or townhouses if you like! I counted 34 bream here in small beds so close to each other that they could hardly swim about without getting into another fish's territory. I saw a good bit of chasing and activity which looked like territory protection. I have never seen anything like this before. I have seen lots of bream beds in the lake before, but the dredging operation apparently took away a lot of the usual locations, and they got crowded up to the beach.

Walking to the end of the beach to see the green reflection of the trees, I noticed this bird. I don't recall having ever seen one before - it flew like a martin, but is quite a bit bigger. I'm guessing some kind of flycatcher.

The group seemed to be enjoying the fishing process in this beautiful, peaceful location. When they commented later that they didn't catch anything, I had some idea of why. Having walked by the bream condos and counted 34 sizable bream on their beds, there weren't that many out there in the lake to be caught.

I spent about 20 minutes watching a pair of redheaded pileated woodpeckers playing around in the woods close to the beach. I couldn't get any closer to them. Then we drove over to the spillway and had a lot of nice views of the mountain laurel in full bloom.

There was cloud on the mountain, but you can just see the small tower so we could show the kids where we had hiked that morning since we walked right by it. We saw lots of storm damage on the road near the stables, and we read about it later. You can see one toppled tree on the far lake bank.

I always love the stream that flows from the lake.

We have had a lot of rain and the falls were running strongly.

Our traditional exit picture on the dam as we say farewell to Bent Tree.

To Pearl River for Memorial Day weekend.

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