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Our Next Outing...
Martha Krabbendam has graciously invited us to Tate Mountain Estates in north Georgia on Saturday, April 20 for our next hike. We'll leave the church parking lot at 8:30 AM. Please register in advance, and check in with Cindy or me when you get to the church so we'll know when everyone's present. We should be back to the church around 6 PM. Don't forget to pack a sandwich, bring a container of water, and probably a day pack to carry those and extra layers of clothing.
Our starting elevation for the hike will be about 3300 feet, so it will probably be several degrees cooler than here in Chattanooga. This altitude is frequently in the clouds (read: "foggy") even when it is sunny at lower elevations.
Tate Mountain Estates (hereafter referred to as "Tate") is a private residential "resort" on top of Burnt Mountain, at the southern end of the Blue Ridge chain. Some of the early settlers of Burnt Mountain were Georgians who didn't want to take sides in the Civil War, and instead withdrew to this remote area. That settlement was abandoned some time after the war, but there are still signs of their homes, including patches of daffodils off the trail along one of the creeks.
The area was logged in the 1920's or earlier, and after this logging was done, Tate was established as a golf resort, similar to the ones today where lots for houses are sold along the golf course. The Great Depression caused the failure of the golf resort concept at Tate Estates, and the resort was taken private, with an owner's association controlling the property.
The golf course no longer exists except as fields surrounding the large lake on the 3,000-acre estate, although the discerning eye will still recognize tees and greens.
The main focus of the owner's association for the use of the land is preserving it as a wilderness area. The trails we'll follow take advantage of this aspect of Tate, along with the wilderness aura of another tract of land adjacent to Tate.
This is an excellent opportunity for the group to stay together for part of the hike, as the main loop, which is about 7 miles long, has cut-back trails which can allow you to take a short, 2-mile hike, a 4-mile hike, or to go for the entire distance. The shortest loop is relatively level (remember, this is a mountain top). The longer loops continue on, starting downhill shortly after the exit for the 2-mile loop. After 3 miles another trail heads back up the mountain to complete the 4-mile loop.
Those that decide to take the longer loop will meet some more challenging territory, but the beauty of the area makes it worth the effort. The trail continues down to a lovely creek, where the signs of those Civil-War era settlers can be seen. We'll follow the creek for a ways, and then cross over and make a short but steep climb up away from the creek. In order to avoid walking some distance on the nearby highway, we'll go off the trail for about a half-mile (but not through a rhododendron thicket!) before regaining another trail just as it crosses the creek. From there back to our starting point it's a fairly level walk on well-developed trails and gravel roads.
Those that return earlier can enjoy a stroll around the lake or sit and enjoy the view from the front porch of our hostess's house.
One of my mentors, Ernie Brown, has taught me that there are lessons on every trip as long as we look for them. Let's review some of the lessons of our last trip.
One person's "moderate" is the next person's "strenuous". As we all know, different folks have different levels of physical capacity. What may be easy for one person may be difficult for another. When you hear someone say, "That's an easy hike" make sure you consider who is saying it when you're deciding if it'll be easy for you.
The person following should avoid getting hit by a branch let loose by the person ahead. It's not easy to know when a limb is going to swing back and hit someone behind you - it's not always easy to know you've got someone behind. If you're following someone through the woods, you might want to follow far enough behind so you can avoid getting hit. (This is another good use for a tall hiking stick.)
Cross-country navigation isn't an exact science. The nature of cross-country hiking is that you don't always know exactly where you are, where you're going, or where you want to be. (There's even a principle of navigation called "intentional error", but that's fodder for another discussion.) This doesn't mean you're lost, but it might mean you wind up in some challenging conditions, such as a rhododendron thicket. That comes with the territory.
A properly equipped first-aid kit is important. You never know what might happen on a hike. This past hike we had a sprained ankle. Our first-aid kit fortunately had an Ace bandage, but it didn't have medical tape. It will on the next trip.
The buddy system helps. The buddy system is a key component in SCUBA diving, but it wasn't invented by SCUBA divers. Check out Ecclesiastes 4:9-10: "Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!" It's nice to know you've got someone else out there to help you cross a creek, or to give a hand in the case of an injury, such as a sprained ankle.
The Fine Print...
We're collecting $2 per seat, maximum of $5 per family for those riding in the church vans. This will help offset the cost of operating the vans. We tried an experiment on our last outing, and collected only $1 per seat, a total of $18, but spent $24 for gasoline in the vans. Since we started with a balance of $6, that cleaned out our funds. So we can assist with van operating costs beyond simply the cost of the gasoline, and to cover for situations where we may use more gasoline than what we collect for on a given trip, we'll go back to $2 per seat.
We'll meet before the evening service in the 6th-grade classroom at 5PM on Sunday, May 5, to plan the June hike. You're invited to attend.
Other planning meetings are scheduled at 5 PM each first Sunday of the month, the following dates: 05/05/96, 06/02/96, 07/07/96, 08/04/96, 09/01/96, 10/06/96, 11/03/96, 12/01/96.
Future Hike Dates:
As of now, we're planning on a hike every third Saturday, these dates: 05/18/96, 06/15/96, 07/20/96, 08/17/96, 09/21/96, 10/19/96, 11/16/96, and 12/21/96.
Please mail the registration form to the address below, give it to Cindy or Jerry at church on Sunday, April 14, or call us at [phone # deleted] to reserve seating in a van. We'd like you to register even if you won't need transportation so we can keep track of who to expect to accompany us on the trip.
If you've got any questions, please feel free to call - [phone # deleted].