Saturday, March 29, 2014

You can Scramble an Egg

My son told me a pun a few days ago and it goes something like this:

A hard boiled egg for breakfast is hard to beat.  
It's a Pun.  It's punny.
Well, I spent the two days after hearing it attempting to repeat it.  For some reason I had scrambled eggs in my head and it never seemed to come out quite right.

"It's hard to scramble an egg for breakfast."
"A scrambled egg is hard to beat for breakfast yesterday."
"You can boil an egg or you can scramble it.  I like scrambled."

My kids tried to get me to stop saying scrambled so I tried again.

"Boiled eggs for breakfast are the best but don't beat them."
"Beat eggs for breakfast.  You can't do it after you boil them."
"Hard boiled eggs aren't for breakfast unless you beat them."

After that my kids gave up.
Apparently I don't understand what a pun is.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Backpacking 200 Years!

Besides the excitement of finding Ellicott Rock our weekend trip included some other adventures that I wanted to share with you.

It all started by checking the map posted at the parking lot to know where to start.  We were hiking the Fork Mountain Trail.
Notice the distance we had to travel to the trail head.  Just a mere 200 years.

We had awesome weather to be hiking on Saturday and we took our time enjoying our surroundings.  I was amazed that we saw no people until the very end of the day.

We set up camp along the river and had a few hours of sunlight to enjoy it before sitting around the fire.

Our camp featured a few rock chairs with this large one being the "throne" of the camp.  Jamie quickly claimed this as his.

For a few minutes I thought about challenging him for this position but then a small mouse ran out from under one of the rocks and I decided he could keep the seat.

After dinner we decided to do the right thing and hang our food in a tree to discourage animals from raiding camp during the night.

Step one:  choose a branch that is high enough and far enough from the trunk.
Step two: tie one end of your rope around a rock and throw it over the branch.
Step three:  Oh!  We made a cool mobile!  The bear cubs would love this.
Step four: hoist your food high into the air and hope the branch doesn't break.  (look for the blue bag on the right of the next photo).
Sunday morning I woke up early (sleeping on the ground will do that for you) and started to pack up.  We had two waterfalls and a few miles to cover.   As breakfast finished it started to rain.  It was about fifty degrees and a bit cold.  My son decided to cook some oatmeal before leaving and we noticed him taking small sample bites as he cooked it.  This earned him his nickname:  Goldilocks.  "This one is too cold.  This one is too hot.  This one is JUST RIGHT."

We decided to get moving toward Spoonauger Falls in the rain but by the time we reached the falls it had stopped raining.

We were doing great at checking off the goals of our trip and decided to head to the next goal.  Kings Creek Falls.

These falls are around 70 feet tall and required a hike of about half a mile to reach.

By the time we got back to the car we were beat.  The entire trip was roughly 10-11 miles and it was the first hike of the year so we weren't really in the best shape. But we survived (first goal), saw some really beautiful scenes, and had a great time outdoors together.
 It's time to start planning the next trip.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

First Backpacking of 2014 - Ellicott Rock

We finally made it out of the house last weekend and hit the trail.  The four of us got up early on Saturday and headed for the Chattooga river.  We had some goals in addition to surviving and on the top of the list was finding Ellicott Rock.

Ellicott Rock is a rock in the Chattooga river that defines the boundry between North Carolina and Georgia.  The surveyor, Andrew Ellicott, carved the letters into the rock in 1811.  Nearby is another rock on the bank of the river, called Commissioners rock.  This is a rock carved in 1813 to mark the boundry of South Carolina and North Carolina.

The four of us made slow and steady progress toward the river throughout the day.  By four in the afternoon we had reached the river and began our search.  You would think there would be a large sign pointing you to the historic spot.  Instead we walked right passed it without noticing.  A quick check at GPS and our maps and we turned back, determined not to miss it.

This time we spotted the pink flagging on a tree that was not visible approaching it from upstream.  I climbed down the banking and climbed the rocks along the edge of the water.  I wasn't seeing anything and I wasn't 100% sure what I should be seeing.

I was close to giving up and declaring it not to be the right spot (this was the 2nd time that I had climbed down to inspect rocks) when I decided to check one more spot where some initials were carved into a tree.  This was a little harder to reach, climbing over moss covered rocks on the waters edge.   Again, I was about to give up and I looked up to my backpacking friends waiting for me to find it.  As I started to head back it caught my eye.  "1813".   It was much more faded than I had anticipated but there it was!  Commissioners Rock!
It reads: "LAT 35  AD 1813 NC | SC"
In the second picture the SC is just below my hand and the N of the NC is just below the "A"

I called up to the group and they made their way down to see if for themselves.  Once we were standing there I noticed a small red ribbon tied to a branch directly over the spot.  This is the spot where three States meet.

I had one more rock to find as everyone made their way up.  I wanted to see the mark that Andrew Ellicott made over two hundred years ago.   I climbed the rocks back to where I had started and it caught my eye.  Not much farther upstream from the 1813 inscription was a rock marked N | G.
 In the below photo you can see the N G in the rock closest.  Toward the upper right you see a branch hanging over the river.  That is the branch with a small red ribbon that hangs just over Commissioner's Rock.

I found it!  Everyone came back down to the waters edge for a closer view.
In the next photo you can see the youngest of our group pointing to the N G mark.
Although we had been hiking and carrying our gear for seven hours, accomplishing this goal of our trip gave us a renewed energy.  That new energy was quickly used up and by five we were ready to stop.  A beautiful camp site emerged on the side of the river and we claimed it ours for the night.

After setting up camp and getting a fire started we all relaxed on the rocks and had some dinner.
Just before setting up camp we encountered some other hikers that asked if we knew where Ellicott rock was located.  We were glad to help these hikers and an hour later they thanked us on their way out of the wilderness.

After dinner we convinced the kids to leave the flashlights off for a few minutes and marveled at the amount of stars you can see when there isn't the light pollution of being in town.  Watching the stars for a few minutes was another check mark for the trip.

Later this week I'll share more from our trip which includes Goldilocks, waterfalls, a camp mobile, and more.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Dancing with a Tiger

When you go to a wedding for a couple of Clemson Tiger fans there is always a chance that there will be a special guest.  Last weekend was that chance.

Some other highlights were:

My son running as fast as he could with this girl hooked to his arm:

An beautiful scene at Table Rock:
Time with my wife:
Hiking with no shoes:
Ugh. . . please don't let her catch the bouquet...
Yeah... she caught it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

This Page Intentionally Left Blank

My normal routine would have had a blog posted yesterday but I was busy.  I had planned on being so busy in fact, that I used a vacation day to take care of everything.

Cari headed out to Ikea with her sister and the kids were at school so I thought it would be the perfect day to accomplish nothing.

By 9 am I had the house to myself and I spent the day accomplishing nothing.  As planned.  I didn't even have time to write this nothing of a blog.

It was well worth using a vacation day.   I'll be using another vacation day today to catch up on everything I didn't do yesterday.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Discrimination is Real

I'm a minority.   It's true.  I didn't choose to be in this minority.  I was born this way.  It's not a choice.  Early on people tried to change me but failed.  Why did I need to change?  Do you know how it makes you feel when people try to change the way you are?  It makes you feel like an outcast.

Should I be made an outcast because I write with my left hand?  Should I be made an outcast because I throw a baseball with my left hand?

You can blame the folks over at RadioLab for getting me started on this.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hot Meals

I'm preparing for my first backpacking trip of the year and had a conversation about camping food the other night.

My friend and I are backpacking with our sons and were trying to decide if we would be cooking or eating cold food during this trip.  I usually do not cook while backpacking because it saves me on the amount I need to carry.   The other issue I have is that there won't be any women on our trip so I'm not sure who will do the cooking.

Initially my friend was going to bring a camp stove and some cooking utensils but I think I have shown him the light so he'll be leaving most of that behind in favor of a peanut butter sandwich.

After getting off the phone I went to my son to see what he has planned for food.  He said he is planning on cooking so I asked him if he would carry my Ramen Noodles.  He said he would be happy to bring an extra package and even offered to cook it for me.

It's going to be a great trip!

Sunday, March 09, 2014

A New Boardgame

Boardgames are kind of an addiction a hobby for me and as I was going through the closet packed full of games a few weeks ago I realized I was missing a critical game.  Probably one of the best two player games ever designed.  How is it that I didn't have this in the closet?

Right away I went to the expert shopper in the house and within 10 minutes we had a new Amazon order completed.
I'm making up a double elimination chart for the family tournament happening this afternoon.  Winner gets the trophy!

Friday, March 07, 2014

YouTube of the Week - no video edition

This "video" is a radio show doing a phone prank on a lady that just keeps getting funnier as it goes.

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Southern Cross of Honor

I had a few minutes to explore an old cemetery this past weekend.   It's one of those things that is interesting to me.  Sometimes you pick up on pieces of history as you walk a cemetery.  The number of children that a family had, the wealth or importance of families in a community, maybe how old were people that died during a time period.

This cemetery, near Secona Baptist Church in Pickens, SC had a number of interesting features.  One that caught my attention was in the back part of the cemetery, away from the current church building, there was a large number of C.S.A. grave markers.
These are crosses representing that the person served honorably in the Confederate Army.   Years ago, these awards were usually made of metal but have been replaced to reduce the temptation for thieves.  I've seen many of these crosses in older cemeteries across the state but I noticed a larger grouping of them in this place.

I guess that's the piece of history I gathered from my walk today.  I haven't done any additional research, but during my walk today it seemed that this was a community that was specifically touched by the war.  These men didn't necessarily die in the war (most that I looked at did not), but they would have been away serving during the war.   That must have created a tough situation in a rural community of the 1860's.

I was out there for about fifteen minutes on my walk and that was long enough for this cemetery to begin telling a story.  It was long enough to pick up on pieces of history.

Monday, March 03, 2014

Good Intentions

This man hit the street today to help spread the word of God.   I don't have any issue with that but I'm not sure how effective he was.  

This highway has a speed limit of 45.  Even though I was stopped at the red light waiting to turn left, I could hardly read his sign.  Surely the cars speeding by wouldn't make out even the first word.  He wrote the entire verse on his poster and had to write small to get it all on there.  

I think all his card had to say was "Isaiah 59:1"  and then if someone became interested they could look it up at home.  

Saturday, March 01, 2014

YouTube of the Week

I watched this video and then I talked to another truck driver asking his opinion.  He said this is common.  
I understand business and the fact that the truck company needs to satisfy their customer.  I also understand trying to get the most out of your employees but this is a safety concern and seems like extremely poor planning.