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. πŸ™‚ 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! πŸ™‚ 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.

Continue reading A day of many firsts at Unicoi State Park.

Labor day, part deux

Okay, I lied. I’ve run out of the steam with which I churned out that last post. The long and short story was this: we spent at least 45 mins looking for Sitton’s cave. After almost giving up (I had given up after walking the first mile), Matt found the cave. The state park attendant was very helpful as far as even giving us pamplets on the cave’s whereabouts. I could’ve sworn that the idea of caves there was something of an urban legend because the park ranger and people that our party had talked too seemed reticent about the caves. Well, Sitton’s cave didn’t look well trafficked. Compared to Petty John’s cave, the entrance to Sitton’s cave was ginormous. Just like the caves I’ve read about and seen on TV! I’m putting a small selection of the pictures online.

Now that I don’t have internet access at home, it’ll be a pain to upload these things, one by one. Apparently, the library has disabled the Java Runtime environment from running on their computers. It’s such a pain in the patootie. In other news, I’m almost a full employee. HR hasn’t put my stuff into the system yet so I can’t get an email address. Not getting an email address means I’m cut off from the electronic side of things i.e. online sign-ins, getting on the waitlist for a prime parking spot, et cetera. This part may slightly get on my nerves, but it’ll happen eventually. In the meantime, I’d better brush up on my protocols.

Labor day et al

Man oh man! πŸ˜€ I had a blast this weekend. Barring the numerous bug bites and the junk food bonanza (lol), I had an awesome time. So much so that I will not hesitate to do it again as long as my job permits it. What did we not do up in Rising Fawn, GA? We visited the Cloudland Canyon State Park where we camped for 4 days and 3 nights. The first day, we spent over 5  hrs on the road just getting there. I spent about 2 hrs catnapping because I didn’t have much sleep the night before. πŸ™‚ However, day 2 saw us up at 10am and ready to make our way to the actual Cloudland Canyon. My Fujifilm camera didn’t disappoint me as I took gorgeous pictures of everyone. I have just downloaded them to my computer and I am so glad that I overcame my fear of breaking the camera enough to take it on the trip this weekend. We visited the Petty John cave and it was absolutely awesome. I even went into the cave and I was blown away. I am definitely interested in going spelunking, as they say now. Then, we headed up the Crockford-Pigeon mountain (in a car, of course) and visited the ‘Rock Town‘ which has some pretty interesting rock formations. As you can guess, I’ve got pictures of those and I think I’ll be needing Flickr for this task of putting the pictures up online. In a bid to keep our expenses low, I’ve cut off our phone/internet. Actually, it’s still there, but I’ve gotten Paul to get us off that bill for the month of September. Something tells me I’ll want to keep it off for good because it was costing us at least $50 (because we’re paying two-thirds of both phone and internet bills). I figure I’m also doing myself a favor because I’ll be forced to get out of the house and do something else. Anyway, back to the story, we got back, ate and just shot the shit generally. Day 3 saw a mass exodus (slight hyperbole) of Julie and her hubby, Jonathan including Matt’s buddy, Jonathan.  However, Matt, his bud (Big John) and I got to hike into the canyon (at least 5 miles total) to see the dried up waterfalls. This was a torturous hike because it involved stairs. I’ll put pics up much later for thee to be the judge. Right now, I’m running around to get stuff ready for my visit to the HR dept. at my new job which I’m beginning next week. Yay me!! And our last day was, interestingly, my most trying day. lol. Okay, here’s how it went down. Throughout our stay, there’d been whispers of caves being in the state park where we were. Now, my in-laws (my husband included) are serious outdoor fiends and were naturally interested. However, day 4 saw just Matt, myself and his dad pondering where on earth the caves could be hiding. By day 4, I was itching to get home to my e-mail and such. But I was game for a hopefully quick find of the caves. Alas! for it was not to be. By 2pm, we finally got our acts together and made our way to where the caves allegedly were. I’ll continue this story tomorrow. lol.