A day of many firsts at Unicoi State Park.

Wow. Where do I begin? My Saturday began as I groggily stumbled out of bed and hopped on my computer. 🙂 As I began my daily ritual of checking my various e-mail accounts and bank accounts to make sure no overdrafts had miraculously occurred, I heard Matt’s phone ring. Normally, my first instinct is to not answer his phone, but when I saw the caller ID, I knew I had to take the call. It was Julie and she pretty much said, “We are on our way to a quaint little town called Helen. Wanna come?” My response was, “Hell, yes”  because I’m up for seeing Benjy and his parents any time! 🙂 Besides, I like to try new things no matter how dangerous they may seem as you will understand later. lol. Unbeknownst to Julie and Jonathan, I had to do the unthinkable by agreeing to head over to Helen with them: I had to wake Matt up. lol. Thankfully, he was a good sport and as it turned out, his chauffeur services weren’t needed anymore as they (J & J) decided to come pick me up instead.

The ride to Helen was fun as always. Julie, Jonathan and I have a good rapport and similar tastes in humor so there were no awkward silences, etc. It’s always fun to watch them around their little boy. Anyhow, we got to Helen after a few false alarms a la getting lost, etc. Apparently, it’s not just a Banick thing to get lost on the high ways. lol. The Wilsons suffer from that predicament as well. At least, I don’t even claim to know my bearings so I’m pretty much useless in these situations. lmao. Anyhow, we got there and it was all thanks to Matt’s dad, Bill. He’s cool to hang with because he has so much background knowledge. Back to the story, the event that drew us all (yours truly, Julie, Jonathan, Baby Ben, Bill & Bill’s friend) was primarily an outdoor festival (not in the Nigerian sense of festivals). The event was billed as the Outdoor Adventure day at Unicoi State Park in Helen, GA. Helen, the town, was simply breathtaking. It felt as if I was in a fairytale where the houses were made of gingerbread or some other edible substance. I felt like a kid in a candy store and I was really glad I went. The town is actually modeled after a Bavarian town (Munich) in Germany and they were preparing for Oktoberfest in Helen. I definitely intend on seeing more of North Georgia because of the gorgeous vistas (Cloudland Canyon State Park, etc), the general atmosphere and other attractions. Many thanks go out to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (GADNR), GADNR volunteers and the many other organizations (.PDF) that were present. As I visit more of Georgia’s State Parks, I grow to love Georgia more and I’ve come to understand (hat tip to Bill) that due to the projected budget deficit in Georgia, some state parks will be closing. Cloudland Canyon is apparently on the chopping block along with 12 other state parks. Please take the time to fill out this petition to urge lawmakers to keep at least 6 of the parks that are on this list. Some of the events that were going on included: skeet shooting which is an Olympic sport also, trout fishing, police dog demonstrations, et cetera.

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