Friday, October 28, 2011

The Great Smoky Mountain Vacation 2011 (Part 2)

On Monday there was a fairly high probability of rain so Lynn and I chose to spend the day in Gatlinburg just walking around and looking at the stores and sites.

We had lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe, couple of sandwiches and sodas cost us just shy of $30! This was a real stretch for Lynn and I, not really huge "rock" fans but we do have an appreciation for the "legends". But overall ... overpriced, over-hyped and totally over rated! (IMHO)

Spent the rest of the day just walking around and looking at stuff.

On Tuesday we celebrated my birthday by going out for breakfast and supper. I am amazed at the number of pancake/waffle houses in the south! There was not just one or two but a bunch and they all seemed to close around 2 PM, so they we're a breakfast bit only. So ... we got up and had breakfast at a local pancake house; very tasty!

After breakfast, we got back to the real fun and hit the trails! We began by driving to Cade's Cove and conquered Abram's Falls. A really cool hike with a few log bridges. Although Abrams Falls is only 20 feet high, the large volume of water rushing over falls more than makes up for its lack of height. The long, deep pool at its base is very picturesque. The waterfall and creek are named for Cherokee Chief Abram or Abraham whose village once stood several miles downstream. The trail to the falls traverses pine-oak forest on the ridges and hemlock and rhododendron forest along the creek. The hike is 5 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty. What made this so hard was all of the exposed tree roots in the walking path! You really needed to watch your steps at all times.  That being said ... it was on this hike we saw a pregnant woman in flip-flops! I thought that if she could make the hike then the fat preacher could do it! Had a wonderful time with Lynn and enjoyed a light lunch/snack at the falls. Very cool!

The afternoon hike was at Laurel Falls on our way back to Gatlinburg. A very nice hike that we not very difficult but was very scenic. Laurel Falls is one of the most popular destinations in the park. Laurel Branch and the 80-foot high Laurel Falls are named for mountain laurel, an evergreen shrub which blooms along the trail and near the falls in May. The trail is 2.6 miles roundtrip and considered moderate in difficulty but Lynn and I did not think it was really that hard, besides the trail is paved.

For my birthday supper we dined at a local steakhouse. The food was excellent. I had the Rib-eye and Lynn had the Prime Rib. A little pricy but what do you expect overall I had a very enjoyable birthday!

Wednesday we only got to walk on trail that was totally deserted! We walked for about 30 minutes and then returned to the trail-head. A short but very fun time for just the two of us. The rest of the day was about getting ready for the long drive home on Thursday.

Our Rental - Chevy HHR
 The drive on Thursday .... we left at 4:45 AM Iowa time and arrived in Clear Lake at 11:30 PM. Very long day but what a beautiful drive! What an incredible vacation!!!

 There are a myriad of sidebar stories and I will try to share those as I'm able...

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Some of the information in this blog is taken directly from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park website:

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Great Smoky Mountain Vacation 2011 (Part 1)

Lynn and I took our first vacation (just the two of us) since very early in our marriage. We have taken lots of ministry related trips and gone on vacation with several different friends and family but this was something that different, just the two of us.

Our destination was the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee just outside the Pigeon Forge/Gaitlinburg area. Our goal/interest was not in the shows and tourist trap stuff but in hiking mountain trails, I'm sure the shows and attractions were good but I know they were very expensive and we're not all that interested in that stuff.

After arriving at our very nice accommodations, the Westgate Smoky Mountains Retreat, we enjoyed a good supper and got prepared for the next days activities. That evening, we talked with an employee, who was an avid hiker, who gave us some good info and we were set to get started in the morning.

After purchasing a book about great day hikes, Lynn and I took off for our first outing. We arrived at the trail head of Rainbow Falls and began a wonderful walk ... 3/4 of the way up we realized that we had not brought all of the supplies we might need so we turned around and headed back down. On the way down I rolled my ankle and we saw a bear at about 100 yards. So Cool!

Because of a very sore/stiff ankle, that was all of the trekking for Saturday. We ended up driving to Clingmans Dome. A very short walk ( only a 1/2 mile, but straight up!). On the way down we saw a bear at about 20 yards and again ... So Cool! Here is more info on Clingmans Dome: At 6,643 feet, Clingmans Dome is the highest point in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It is the highest point in Tennessee, and the third highest mountain east of the Mississippi. Only Mt. Mitchell (6,684 feet) and Mt. Craig (6,647), both located in Mt. Mitchell State Park in western North Carolina, rise higher. The observation tower on the summit of Clingmans Dome offers spectacular 360° views of the Smokies and beyond for visitors willing to climb the steep half-mile walk to the tower at the top. It was a very tough walk!

After church and lunch on Sunday we drove out to Middle Prong trail and enjoyed a wonderful afternoon and we got back to our room well after dark ... nothing left to do but go sit in the hot tubs and relax!

More to come.....

Pastor Steve

Some of the information in this blog is taken directly from the Great Smoky Mountain National Park website:
Clingmans Dome Trail
Clingmans Dome Base

Clingmans Dome

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bits & Balderdash

Had the opportunity the other night to attend the Iowa Regular Baptist Camp's Des Moines Fall Camp Banquet. I was asked to attend as an usher and teller and Praise the Lord the camp raised just shy of $30,000! The event was held at the Downtown Marriott, a wonderful facility with an incredible staff!

On a totally unrelated note ... kind of! What is wrong with people and public restrooms. Whether your at an upscale place like the Marriott in Des Moines, a rest area along the interstate or a convenience store, there seems to be a group of people who find their calling in life to use (destroy) and then walk away from public restrooms. Why is it necessary to use facilities and walk away without flushing? Do they do that in their own homes? I'm totally aware that this is a icky subject but it really bothers me! I just don't get it!

That is enough for tonight - - Thanks for letting me rant!

Pastor Steve

Friday, October 21, 2011

As Seen On Facebook...

Most of the stuff posted on Facebook is just plain silly fun! I saw this and though it was blogspot worthy:

Hope it made you smile!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Thursday, October 20, 2011

On The Mend....

Starting to feel a bit better after about a week of feeling miserable!

Even gave thought to heading back out into the deer woods maybe as early as Saturday afternoon, if this stinking lingering cough subsides. Most hunter use an instrument called a "cough silencer" or "cough muffler" but I've never had much success with said tools.

On the bow hunting calendar, being the middle to the end of October, we are in the pre-rut. The deer are still in their summer patterns, mainly moving from bedding areas to feeding areas. The best place to be right now would be transition areas and pinch-points. One of the keys is to observe the behavior of the does as they often will give hints of more deer to follow, as well as looking for buck sign such as scrapes and rubs, signs of dominate deer in your area.

"The Rut"
Wow! I'm chomping at the bit to get back out there! Still early, plenty of time before the rut itself kicks in around the first of November. I love hunting the rut - that special time of year when the does are ready for breeding and the bucks just lose their minds!!!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chinese Numerology - Numbers Don't Lie

I found this to be interesting.....

Chinese numerology and Feng Shui for 2011.

This year we are going to experience four unusual dates : 




11/11/11, and that's not all;

Take the last two digits of the year you were born and the age you will be this year and the result will add up to 111 for everyone!!!! This is the year of MONEY.

Also, this year, October will have 5 Sundays, 5 Mondays & 5 Saturdays. This happens only once every 823 years.

These particular years are known as Moneybag years.

I Remain, 
Pastor Steve 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I Hate To Be Sick...

First nasty cold of the season!

Ok ... so I'm sitting in my deer stand last Thursday afternoon into the evening and I hear a noise behind me on the trail that passes my stand at 7 yards. There was a nice doe working her way to my stand and she was constantly looking behinds her which lets me know that there were more deer to follow. This is a good set-up and good thing may be coming soon!

Then I get "that" feeling ... You know that little tickle in the back of your throat. I carefully tried to just clear my throat a bit and the next thing I know I'm hacking like I'm 4 pack a day smoker! I mean this coughing fit came out of nowhere and was intense!

I glance back and the doe is LONG GONE! As well as my hunt for the evening. There was nothing to do but climb down and go home!

Things have gone down hill since then. Today is Tuesday and I'm feeling TERRIBLE!!! Hacking so hard I'm waiting to flop out a lung!

Well, that has been my week, hopefully I'll be feeling better in a few days. By the way, I talk to Daniel today, told him I felt so bad I was not even interested in heading to the woods. His response ... "Wow Dad, you are sick!"

I Remain,
Pastor Steve

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Saga Continues ...

In my last post I was telling about how God provided funds for me to finish a project that I'd been working on for sometime. As I was struggling through the process I mentioned that one of the items I was considering was a new bow for archery hunting.

The story just keeps getting better!
Two day after I decided NOT to buy a new bow and go with the projector I received a call from a friend asking if I had ever gotten around to buying a new bow, knowing that I'd been "looking" at that possibility for a couple of years.

When I told him "no" he said that he had found a great deal on a used left-handed bow that was so good he could not pass it up ... so he bought the bow for me! A Bowtech General.

Not only did he get me the bow, but he took it in and got the right cams for my draw length, an overall tune-up and some Rage 3 Blade broad-heads for hunting.

After I received the bow I took it to an indoor range and began to get it sighted in at 20 yards. This bow is an absolute nail driver! I'm able to put together a group of three arrows in the area of a quarter at 20 yards! I'm so excited to get into the deer woods and lay the smack-down on Bambi, Bambi's Mom or Bambi's Daddy - I'm not particular!
It is always incredible to watch God provide our need and what a huge blessing when He also provides some of our "wants"! Thank you Joel for thinking of me!

I Remain,
Pastor Steve