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.
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 www.rollingthunderriverco.com. We had the BEST guide Turbo. He did an amazing job of keeping us all on the boat.
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.
We all including husbands went on a day trip to kayak through the Tennessee River Gorge. We set the trip up through www.rivercanyonadventures.com. 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.
(yes I know I still need to
lose ten pounds)
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.
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 out...eat 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.
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.
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.
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
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.
One of our youngest adventure seekers, Maggie, is very sick and in need of your prayers. Maggie has been in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta for 4 days now. She has pneumonia, she is having trouble at night with her oxygen levels. Please keep Maggie and Brandi in your prayers. Pray that she will get well quick and she can go back to having adventures very soon. Stephanie
Here is what I hope to get done this summer. I want to take the kids to zip linein NC http://www.screamtimezipline.com/. I want to go white water rafting http://www.raft.com/ and I want to kayak down the Tennessee River http://www.outdoorchattanooga.com/. Who knows if we will have time to get all this done. We only get 8 weeks of summer. We also have to fit 1-2 Florida trips in there and some wild caving. Stay tuned to see what we actually get to do. I also can't wait to see Brandi's to do list.
Win A Pink Kayak at 2010 Women's Expo Calling all female adventurers! Join us at the 2010 Women's Expo on March 27, at the Cartersville Civic Center and you could be the lucky winner of this pink kayak, courtesy of Etowah Outdoor Adventures. The expo takes place from 9 am-4 pm with a variety of exhibitors and continuous 30-minute seminars on health, fitness, finances and more. Spend the day and sample a Taste of Bartow with delicious food from many fantastic local restaurants. Tickets are $5 per person and proceeds benefit the American Red Cross. The Cartersville Civic Center is located at 435 West Main Street in downtown Cartersville. For information call 770-382-0981.
Today me and my DH celebrated our 14 year anniversary...so we went hiking. Hiking is one of my favorite thing to do. I love being outside and getting exercise at the same time. We went to Pine Log Creek near Waleska. The hike was beautiful. It was very mountainous and was 4.15 miles long. About 3 miles in I said "I am so glad our kids are not with us because we would be hearing some major whining". That was also the point I was also thinking I should have brought a snack and some water. I am semi-famous for not being prepared for hikes. A couple of years ago, after much begging my husband stopped by the walls of Jerico in Alabama. It said it was a 3 mile hike...I thought no problem I do that all the time. Well...it would have been no problem if I had not being wearing flip-flops, we had no water , and no snacks plus we had not eaten breakfast that morning. I get low blood sugar if I do not eat every two hours:) so you can only imagine. To make a very long story short...I thought I was going to die that day (LOL). The hike took us over 5 hours and I totally would have eaten anything (Bear Grylls watch out). I was starving, my feet hurt, and I was dehydrated, so needless to say my husband still brings that up when I say I want to go hiking.
While my family has not been caving or hiking in a few weeks, we have spent time outdoors. My son, Finn, plays competitive baseball. He has been in tournaments for the past couple of weeks. His team won the Frozen Rope tournament and walked away with "gold medals". They won the week of the Olympics and so in lieu of trophies, the tournament gave medals. During this time of the year, we have to work extra hard to fit in our other outdoor loves. This is why we already have an exciting adventure planned for spring break with TAS. Brandi
Yesterday I took a group of my 8th graders caving to Manitou Cave with True Adventure Sports. I love to hear what the kids say that I have never been caving before. Not on this trip but a previous one, one of the kids said are we underground...this is after we had been caving for 2 hours. Too funny! I think it is great to expose kids to God's wonderful creations above and below ground. God created a beautiful world and I think that he wanted us to enjoy all the resources that he provided for us. Life is too short for us not to enjoy it. I am always amazed at how little kids know about things outdoors. My kids and Brandi's kids are spoiled because we have always taken them and done so many different adventures with them. I know this is rambling about alot of different things...just alot of thoughts on my mind. Stephanie
Sunday it was 55 degrees and beautiful. I was itching to get out of the house and do some hiking. We decided on a short but rewarding hike in Bartow County. Cooper Furnace trail was the trail that we took...it was a little short for me 1.2 round trip but the kids were glad that we picked a short hike. The trail head is on the northside of the Etowah River. For information you can go to the notatlanta.org website. From the top you have a great view of Allatoona Dam and Cooper Furnace with the Etowah River in the background.
Now for the snow...for those of you that do not know me...I hate cold weather. It makes me want to hibernate. The snow is pretty but I am ready for spring! Two snows in one month? Must be global warming! Stephanie