Monday, October 18, 2010

Caving with class II and a wonderful Women’s Retreat

Last month I took my 8th and 9th graders caving. I had so much and I think they did also (it is hard to tell if a 15 year old like something or no…Even if they like it they pretend they did not.).

After caving, my aunt and I attending a powerful and uplifting women's retreat. True Adventure Sports put the event on and as always did a fantastic job. Seventy awesome women attending and I got to meet some wonderful people.

I took my kids caving over Fall break. We went to our old property in Stevenson. It is such a beautiful area and a cool cave.

So that is what I have been up to since the last blog post and oh yeah teaching, monogramming, and running like a mad women who has one to many jobs.  But I am very blessed to be so busy.  I remind myself daily....Lord grant me the patience to deal with my blessings.

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Everyone needs a break from the hum drum activities of daily life (AKA laundry, kids, carpool, husbands, work, you know the drill ladies).  Every year the women of my family take a trip of some sort.  We have done all sorts of adventurous things, but this year we chose whitewater rafting and tubing (for the ladies they do not like an adrenaline rush).  Our ages range from 21 to 76.  We have the most amazing time and we all look forward to it every year.  

This year two of our not so adventurous women (my mom and aunt Elaine) went with us whitewater rafting.  It was actually Elaine's idea which surprised us all (not because we she is not adventurous but because year before we could not get her in a cave for anything).  We went down the Ocoee (Class III and IV).  We used  We had the BEST guide Turbo.  He did an amazing job of keeping us all on the boat.

Ocoee River
 We had the BEST time and hope to go back soon.

Jennifer just got drenched.  Notice everyone laughing.

This is the photo right before the previous one.  Notice the two in the back are posing (my aunt and mom) and the guide look like he might be about to die.

After whitewater rafting the other five ladies meet us in McCaysville for tubing on the Toccoa River.  You might think tubing is not an adventure but adventure seems to follow us....with this group of ladies everything is an adventure and I love that about them.   

First of all my sweet wonderful grandmother who I have dragged into caves is such a trooper.  She cannot swim at all and is actually quite afraid of the water because she had a niece drown.   But she did not want to miss a chance for adventure so she agreed to go tubing.

Secondly the Toccoa had a dam release so the water rose from a mere 3 feet lazy river to a 7 feet river that was moving quite swift.  Plus we had ten tubes tied. So all of this made for a great adventure.  A couple of us fell in the water, but we had a great time.  I can't wait to see what we are going to do next year.

My sweet Grandmother 

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kayaking through the Tennessee River Gorge

We all including husbands went on a day trip to kayak through the Tennessee River Gorge.  We set the trip up through  River Canyon Adventures has an advantage to taking your own kayaks...after you kayak the 10 miles through the gorge they pick you up on a boat and take you back to where you started.

We took the 4 hour eco-tour.  We got to stop and jump off the "jumping rock" and rope sling.

jumping rock

Rope swing
(yes I know I still need to
lose ten pounds)
rope swing

Beautiful Scenery

Indian slough (used for hiding and catching fish by the Indians)
Brandi and Jason
The kids ready to ride back.

We also stopped at a volleyball net in the river and had a picnic lunch prepared by River Canyon Adventures. We had a great time.  I highly recommend this trip.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


We finally took our spring break trip with True Adventure Sports.  It was like the Amazing Race but I would say harder because of the tasks and the kids!

We started off doing a sky swing~human sling shot.  We all had an amazing time doing this.

After the sling shot (aka sky swing) we were told to go to Santa Fe for lunch and tell them we were with the War-Mon adventure...we ordered and then instead of a bill we received our next clue.  Desoto Falls 3:30.

At Desoto Falls we see Tyler (a True Adventure Guide) with a trailer full of kayaks.  He tells us to kayak until it is unmistakable.  So we kayak and kayak until we get to the dam.  On the way my oldest had a melt down of biblical proportions.  Unless you witnessed it you can not even imagine how bad it was.  We ended tying their kayak to ours and pulling them.  Talk about burning arms.
When we get to the dam Tyler is sitting there with another clue.  At the end of the cave Madoc Cave.  We thought that maybe we get out and he would take us to the cave, but no.  We had to kayak back to where we came from another 2.5 miles.  I have to say it was much easier going with the current.  When we get back to Desoto Falls we hike around and can not find Madoc Cave (aka Welsh Cave), so we ask some locals and they say the do not know where it is but they know someone who does.  They make a phone call and I talk with a lady named Ann.  She tells me where the caves are located except she said go down the bluff when we should have stayed on top of the bluff.  By this time it is 9:00...getting dark and the kids have still not eaten.  We see two caves and go in...Nothing.  At this point Brandi had panic in her voice and says we need to make a decision...Ethan yells out Israel (the owner of TAS) and he yells backs. YEAH!!!  The only problem he is on top and we are on bottom of a bluff that is probably 40-50 feet tall.  We hike back aways and find a place where we can scramble up.  He helps us to the cave where he has a spread waiting for us.
 Dinner!!! Wild blueberries, poor mans wheat, blackberries (ripe and unripe), blueberry and blackberry leaves, chestnut leaves and the best thing on the platter, ants and grasshoppers cooked with wild dandelions.  We also had pine straw and blueberry leaf tea cooked in a coke can that he found.  It was displayed so beautiful on a teak platter in a cave at dark!  The cave was amazing it had arched openings that Welsh people carved out.

After we made it back to the cars...after 10:00 pm.  We received our next clue.  An address.  So I immediately type it in my GPS.  No address found!  So we start driving towards the road.  We find a store and stop to get cold drinks and snacks.  We ask some people there and there was a nice man who works with the fire department who calls 911 for us and they have no record of the address!  We keep driving towards the road and once we arrive at the road...there are no numbers on any of the house.  We drive up and down the road 3 times.  Finally Jennifer says I will ask one of these houses if they know where it is.  It is midnight!  With knives drawn we stop at a house with lights on.  Knock.  No answer.  Run back to the car.  Pull out.  Decide to go back.  Knives drawn.  Knock again.  No answer.  Look under the mat.  KEYS!  Yes!  When we get in the cabin there was a note Pizza in the freezer, Dr. Pepper in the fridge.  We were so thankful to have the cabin to sleep in and take a shower.  We were nasty.  The cabin was awesome.

The next morning James (another TAS guide) knocks on the door and says Cracker Barrel for breakfast and then True Adventure Sports at 10:00.  So we head and then go back to TAS.  We are handed a clue that says Meet at the place where Matthew McConaugey went mountain biking and climbing.  We knew where that was...Sand Rock Cherokee Rock Village.. we just did not know how to get there.  Jennifer made a call to Cheryl, her friend, and she gave us amazing directions.  When we arrive James and Tyler are there and they tell us there are two routes to the top of the rock, and easy and a hard, and we can pick two people that have to do only the easy, but everyone else has to do the both in order to get the next clue.  We pick Maggie (7) and Alec (8).  

 Alec on the EASY climb!

This was the hardest thing that we did.  The hard was HARD!  But we all did it!  Our next clue STOP WING!  I immediately thought a wing place, maybe because we were starving!  We called Megan ( a fellow adventurer) she goggled wing places in Fort Payne and found a Wing Stop!  So off we go.  After we ate at Wing Stop they handed us another clue.  GPS coordinates.  So we type that in the GPS and off we go.  We arrive at the side of Little River Canyon....James is there waiting on us.  This time we rappel then swing into a cave.  Fun.  Second to caving...rappelling is my favorite thing.

Ethan rappelling

Maggie did a Tandem Rappel!

After we rappelled into the cave/grotto...TAS hooked us up and let us wing out over the canyon.

After this we hiked on a precarious cliff wall that dropped off to get back to the top.

After this we were finished literally!!!  Wiped out!!  We had the best time.  It was truly an adventure!  Thanks TAS for a great time.  Also thanks to the staff.  They have some amazing people working for them.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Saint George Island, Florida

We had an awesome time on Saint George.  Brandi's oldest adventurer got strep after one day so they did not get to stay with us:(.  We surfed the waves everyday.  The waves were huge...think Hawaii.  The first day we went down to the beach and of course all the boys grabbed nets and started trying to catch stuff.  Finn caught a catfish that had just been bitten half into by a shark...towards the end of the week I took my boys shark fishing with my mom and mother in law.  It was hilarious...the two moms kept thinking that the sharks were moving the boat.  Ethan was humming the tune to Jaws...quite funny.

We did take the metal detector but found nothing.  We also did not get to kayak because the waves were huge.  The boys enjoyed riding the waves on their boogie boards.  We also enjoyed seeing the dolphins.  It really makes me sad that this whole area could be potentially ruined because of the oil spill.  We all need to start praying for the whole gulf coast.  Enjoy the beautiful Saint George Island sunset and the dolphin waving his tail at us.


Stephanie Garmon

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Turks and Caicos

The Garmon Family just returned from Turks and Caicos.  We had an awesome time.  We snorkeled everyday, sailed, rode water trikes, kayaked, and enjoyed the water park.  We stayed at the Beaches Resort which I highly recommend.  It truly was an amazing vacation...the water is like no other I have ever seen.  I have been to eleven Caribbean Islands (Cayman, Aruba, St. Martin, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Bermuda, Bahamas, St. John, Jamaica,  Curacao, Cozumel) and Mexico on Scuba Trips, but this water was unbelievable truly like swimming in an aquarium complete with sea life.

The return flight was miserable...mechanical trouble on the plane...1 hour into a 2 hour flight we had to turn around and head back to Miami..after a 5 hour delay in Miami finally got to Atlanta at 1:40 am...crawled into bed at 3:30 am.

I took these pictures with a Fuji Waterproof Camera.  It worked great and only cost around $100.00


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Next Group Adventure....Florida bound

School is almost out!   Yeah!  This year Brandi is going with us to Florida.  We go to Saint George Island.  We have been going here since I was a little girl.  While there we try and fit an adventure in.  This year I am bringing kayaks, metal detector and the gps.  Last year on our adventure we went on a fishing tour of the bay.  The fishing and oystering were ok, but the dolphins were amazing.  All week we had kayaked fairly close to them but on the boat they put on a show for us.  It was like Sea World.