Awana boys to Bent Tree

April 30-May 1, 2010

We got away to Bent Tree for and overnight with just two boys, Connor Smith and Logan Todd. Logan's Grandpa Ray Skibba went with us with Johnny Huffman and I. Brenda went up to cook supper and breakfast for us. It was quite a contrast to our last trip up in the snow.

We left the church at 6pm for the drive up, and got there before dark. The woods behind the house were beautiful in the late afternoon.

photo log

Connor Smith and Logan Todd were anxious to get out in the woods and immediately headed up the hill.

Johnny's red truck stood out against the lush green of the late afternoon woods.

Brenda had fixed a wonderful pot of chili with hotdogs, which we enjoyed against the background of the sunset.

The sunset faded to beautiful shades of pink and purple.

As soon as it got dark, we took the boys out and walked up Chestnut Cove to the junction with Thunderstruck to see the stars. We got a great view of the big dipper. Connor and Logan were reluctant to leave their video games, but once out on the dark road, they seemed to have a great time.

On the way back, Connor really started to appreciate how spectacular the big dipper was and made several comments about it.

After returning from our starwalk, we started a game of UNO and Connor stuck with us for a couple of games. But their video games won out for the boys. They played their games while Ray, Johnny and I played UNO until we all settled in for the night.

Brenda fixed a nice breakfast for us with biscuits, eggs, sausage gravy and bacon. Here Logan, Connor and Ray contemplate breakfast, but Connor still has his video game.

The morning was very different from last night since a cloud had descended on the top of the mountain. It was damp but pleasant, so we decided to set out for a hike.

The boys enjoyed romping in the woods, and found the sort of things that boys find - a terrapin, several millipedes, and all kinds of interesting plants. They weren't so much interested in the wildflowers, but we tried to emphasized to them the beauty of God's creation. The umbrella-like mandrake plants carpeting the forest floor were interesting to them - they spent a lot of time whacking them down with sticks.

We found one other plant without a bloom which appeared to be the same ordhid. We were careful not to trample them.

On the ridge leading to the top of Big Stump Mt. we found this spectacular lone yellow orchid. As you can see below, this orchid had captured a yellowjacket.

We continued on up the ridge on the foggy mountainside with the boys poking into every crevice and looking at everything. We found this one mandrake or mayapple plant with its white bloom. There were a number of violets like t he one above and a number of white violets, but the flowers were rather sparse. With the canopy filled out, it appears that we were a week or two past the peak. But also, we are hearing that the deer population is so high that they are eating all the wildflowers.

The mountain is always new - we had never made the climb in this kind of cloud.

It had not really rained on us, but the trees were wet with the cloud, and Logan was keen on shaking the trees to get a shower. When we reached the flat top of Big Stump Mountain at 3000 ft we were in such deep cloud that we decided to head down. We weren't going to get any view from the top of Oglethorpe Mt.

This was our usual place to get a view of the lake far below, but we weren't going to get any lake view today.

It was like an enchanted forest in the cloud as we headed down the wooded mountain and started down the steep slope behind the house.

This slope is a lot steeper than it looks and it is hard to get down it without landing on your backside at least once.

Ray, John and Logan make progress down the steep and slippery slope.

John, Connor and Logan make their way down into the deep woods behind the house.

Finally the house loomed out of the cloud and we stopped there briefly to load our gear and head down to the beach for lunch.

The boys were pleased to get to the stream on the spillway end of the lake.

Connor and Logan had great fun wading in the shallow stream.

The noticed a lot of tadpoles in the stream, so they got cups to catch some.

The hunt for tadpoles was successful, and then of course they wanted to bring them home.

Looking over the lake toward our house on the mountain, you could see the cloud that we had come out of. This lake feeds the stream, and now we move down to the waterfall to the exit stream from the lake.

Johnny and Ray contemplate the waterfall while the boys look for further adventures in the stream below the falls.

Connor and Logan's new adventure was to attempt to float a log that was stuck in the rapids below the fall. They seem satisfied with the result!

Finally it is time to say goodbye to Bent Tree with our traditional picture on the dam. The view of this young doe on the way out is a final blessing of another interesting trip. Praise the Lord!

Frank Boggs Concert

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