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Meek Vs. Weak

Meekness vs. Weakness

To often we in the 21st century think that to be meek is to be weak. But the true meaning of the word is quite the opposite. To be meek is a great virtue to be admired among men.

Meekness is the ability to control your own temper, anger, frustration and bitterness with a calm mind that is not easly provoked. To be put in a unfavorable situation and accept the will of God with patient and hopeful endurance.

The use of the Greek word when applied to animals makes this clear, for it means “tame” when applied to wild animals. Meekness is to tame yourself even though you are strong.

So be Meek and Mighty in the faith.FullSizeR21

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Growing Streams

Just thinking about life and raising children.  I think of the hike I was on this weekend.  I would come off a ridge line into the head of a hollow.  A little stream would form. The hillsides would be tall and steep. The valley would be very narrow.  The stream would flow straight down the center.  Then the valley would widen some but the hillside would be tall and steep. The stream would go side to side being guided by the hillside.  Over time the valley would be even more wider and the stream would flow more freely but would be turned if it runs into the hillside.  The hills are not so steep and are easier to climb and are not so high.  But the the valley would narrow and force the stream down a straight way or the stream may hit a rock face and have to make a 90 degree turn. There are several falls and troubled waters in this part of the run. The stream runs over rocks and runs fast at times.Then the bottomland becomes larger and the stream has grown from what it has gathered on its journey.  It travels it’s on path between the rolling hills before it leaves the mountains and hills to open land where there are no hills to hold it on course.  But it continues on its path, larger and stronger.  Growing  as it goes. Fast and troubled waters now run slow, slightly and deep. Water that you can swim in. If I have done anything,  I hope it was to be a good father to my children to guide them on their journey.  To give them freedom to run their race.  To show them the way to go as I was. It takes two hillsides to guide a stream and I have had a good hillside to help me. Sometimes one turn the stream sometimes it was the other and sometimes it took both to guide the stream where it needed to go. Always working together.  I love my little family of hills, valleys and streams. Wendy Tibbitts Wyatt Tibbitts and Sarah.

All these Tomatoes

Mr. Doyle Holland  was a well respected Godly man who lived near and attended Mount Moriah Baptist Church in the Burnt Hickory community of Paulding County Ga. many years ago. During one summer he and his sweet wife had a bumper crop of tomatos come in all at once. They spend the better part of a week , harvesting tomatoes, cooking tomatoes and canning tomatoes.  They would work all day and into the night. They finally got done late on Saturday.  They were extremely exhausted from the weeks work. Mrs. Holland suggested that they spend the next day resting and not attend Church meeting as they would normally do on Sundays.  Mr. Holland  said no, “we’ve got to go to Church and thank the Lord for all these Tomatoes. ”

Moral of the story, always be thankful for what God gives you.

 

LINVILLE GORGE HIKE

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By Trent Tibbitts

The toughest, roughest, most demanding, most rewarding hike per mile I have ever been on. Located in the Pisgah National Forest north of Ashville, North Carolina. The Linville River cuts between two mountain ranges. Creating a 2000 foot deep gorge with step hillsides topped with a cliff face.  It doesn’t look very intimidating when looking at a map.  In fact we blow it off as child’s play a the beginning of the hike. By the end we had full respect for the wilderness we  had endured.

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It was February 2015, Brandon and I were just20150116_115746 off a Hike we had done in late January 2015 in the Smokies when he started planning another adventure.  We had hiked from Twenty mile ranger station to Gregory Bald where we had camped the first night.  Then to the AT and camp site 113 for the second night before hiking to Shuckshack fire tower and back down Twenty mile creek. It was a 22 mile loop. The first day was all up hill after the first mile. 20150117_113048This is the Smokies and its a steep climb. This was one of those trail that you keep thinking you’re at the top but it just keeps going. I was out of shape and my pack was over weight . I had met Brandon that morning at a local Wal-Mart where I bought my food for the weekend.  That was not the best idea. But I didn’t prep and I need food.  I was grabbing what I thought I needed. Like; a 20150117_113002potato,  ribeye steak, rice, trail mix, pack of flour tortillas,  thin cut steak, can of tuna,  crackers and other things that were heavy.  The one pound of trail mix was the first thing I left on the trail. We arrived at the trail head around noon. By the time I made it to camp it was dark and Brandon and Mike had been there about 2 hours.  I’m glad I saw them first because I was camping with whoever I saw first. There were two or three other groups near by. I set up my hammock and not expecting any rain, I just had my rain fly tied lousy.  I grilled my steak over the open fire and cook the potato in the hot coals.  I could not eat it all and shared the rest with Brandon and Mike.  My pack is now 3 pounds lighter.  But it’s not that much help. It was cold but we were dressed for it. We all climbed in bed for a well deserved and need sleep. Around 2 AM the wind started blowing and didn’t stop. We were camped in what’s called a saddle.  The low point between two high points. So this meant we were where the wind had the easiest place to cross. The valley funneled the wind straight through our camp. My rain fly was going crazy.  I had to tie it down and wrapped it around my hammock for more protection.  I then put my parka over my head and chest and got into my bag as much as I could.  I slept good. The noise was the worst part. 20150117_114903The next day after packing up it was a short up hill hike to the bald. The wind was still going strong.  We were late getting out of camp and people were stating to arrive from hiking up for Cades Cove.  The views to the South were great 20150117_114847from the Joyce Kilmer over to Clingmans Dome. You had a good view of Fontana lake. It was mountains after mountains.  To the north was Cades Cove with a great view of the layout.  After 40 year of visiting the cove it was nice to see it from this position. Past the Cove was the foothills Parkway and the Tennessee Valley.  Maryville  was very clear and you could make out Knoxville. We could see all the way across the Tennessee Valley to the Cumberland Mountains. That is when I noticed 20150116_122820two little gaps in those mountains.  It couldn’t be what I thought.  I pulled out maps and sure enough,  it was.  Cumberland Gap.  I could see Cumberland Gap 90 miles away.  Wendy and I had been there two or three years ago.  To pick out a landmark 90 miles away with my necked eye was wild to me. I’m sure you couldn’t do it in the summer.  The bald is covered with grass and blueberry bushes.  We hung out as long as we could stand the wind and then headed on. Mike was still at camp. I keep up with Brandon until we got to the AT. I stopped to rest and he pushed on. Mike caught up to me just as Brandon got out of sight. He pushed on and I brought up the rear. The wind seamed to die down some. We made it to camp with daylight left. It was off the trail down in a small valley.  A lot of protection from the wind.  There was a nice place for their tents and a good water supply but I had to venture up a way to find a good spot for my 20150117_171145hammock.  We had a great night by the fire cooking the steak strips and making steak tortilla. We went to bed looking forward to a good night of sleep.  Well, it started snowing around 4 AM. Then turned to light rain. I put my boots in the hammock with me and covered my pack as best as I could.  20150117_202437It never got heavy but I was not sure what was coming  so  I packed up my wet camp and hit the trail around 7 AM. Fog had set in and there was no view. The trail to the tower was a mile down trail and when I got there knowing there was no view and it would add two miles to my trip, I turned onto the Twenty Mile Trail and headed down to the truck.  The weather improved fast. I lost a lot of elevation on the steep descent.  I could now see the old fire tower but I wasn’t going back. I made good time going down hill and a somewhat lighter pack. Brandon had driven,  so once at the truck I couldn’t get in. I napped in the bed. I then unpacked and dried all my gear. I explored the ranger station then packed things up as they dried. It was about 3 hours before Brandon showed up. Mike was not to far behind.  They got some great shot of the tower.  We drove to the base of Fontana Dam before heading home.

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Brandon was wanting to hike the AT north from newfound gap to Charlie’s Bunion.  Stay at the Ice Water Spring Shelter.  Hike the Boulevard to Mount LeConte for the second night and down the Alum Cave Bluffs trail to Newfound Gap road. This would have been great.  You start at a very high point with out a lot of climbing.  Day three is all down hill.  Great views. Stay in the shelter,  so no hammock to carry.  The Boulevard is a tricky hike so there is a challenge.  Mount LeConte is the second highest peak in the Smokies.  Alum Cave Bluffs trail is the best trail in the park.  It would have been a great trip. The only problem.  Everyone else thinks that way too. The shelter was booked when we tried to make a reservation.

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20150307_103038That is when Brandon asked for a backup plan.  I had been interested in the Linville Gorge for some time. I  have seen it in the Blue Ridge Outdoor magazine a lot. I told Brandon and he had been interested in the gorge for sometime too. Now we had to find a hike. I had the Linville Gorge Mount Mitchell National Geographic Map.  It has a lot of information but cover a much larger area and does not give detailed information on the trail we are looking at. Next stop is the internet. We don’t find a lot of information. One site gives a loop in the south part of the gorge but the information is loss at best. All the post we read talk about how this is the toughest hike they have ever been on, we got lost, we almost died, maybe not the dying part but they were making a big deal out of it. Brandon and I just said they haven’t hiked with us. I mean come on we just got off 22 miles in the Smokies. We hiked the Art Lobe Trail. We Climbed Pilot Mountain and hiked 16 miles that 20150306_122954day. We had been on the toughest sections of the BMT. We had done the AT in Ga. We had been up and down mountains in the Smokies. We had done all these things and more. We were experienced. We could take care of ourselves. What were these people talking about? We got this. With very little information we planed our trip and started the invitations. Everyone always wants to go hiking but when you start asking they can’t make it. The crew was four of us; Brandon, Jason who is an experienced hiker and has been with us before on the BMT, Russ who is an all around expert, and myself. The trip was set for March 6th 2015. We would drive up Friday morning and come home on Sunday. It was Monday and we still had not gotten much more information. As a last-ditch idea I searched Face Book for a page on the Gorge. That is when I found Linville Gorge Adventures and Phil Phelan. I read his web page and sent him a message telling him about our hike. He sent back a pumped up message about the gorge and got us excited. We exchanged several messages and he told us where we could get his book and a better map of the gorge.

20150306_115920Friday came and we were to meet at Brandon’s office at 5 AM. I was out the door around 4:20. About half way there I couldn’t find my phone.  I thought I had grab it but it wasn’t where I normally put it. It had the address to Brandon’s office, GPS and Brandon’s cell number.  So, I was lost. The only choice was for me to go to my office and look up Brandon’s number from my contacts off my email.  Luckily our office are very close. I get to my office and call Brandon.  He gives me directions and I grab my tablet so I would have something to take photos with.  Once at Brandon’s office,  I unloaded my pack and find my phone. That saved a pound from not having to carry the tablet.  The message I missed from not having my phone handy was everyone was running late.  Russ and Jason were there but I beat Brandon even with my delay.  Once Brandon got there, we loaded his truck with our packs and hit the road. A few hours and stops later we were in Morganton NC. With directions from Phil, we went to the CBS sports store to get his book and a better map,  The Linville Wilderness.  I also got another Map of other trails 20150306_144552close by. Russ got a set of Tracking poles. This would be the first time I ever used tracking poles also. I bought some at REI a few weeks pyro. I filled my water bladder at the store and we stopped at Subway before heading to the trailhead. We had seen this crazy looking mountain on the way into Morganton.  Turns out its Table Rock where we are going. It looks like a monolith sitting on top of a mountain range. Like a small Devil’s Tower.

20150306_112452The trailhead is on Wolf Pit Road and we get there in short order.  We are excited to get on the trail.  We grab our gear and hit the trail.  One thing I like about backpacking is that you have to bring everything you need for survival with you.  Total self-reliance. A few hundred yards up the trail and we find a good spot for a 20150306_11485420150306_121501group photo.  It’s still cold but the heat we produce as already got us losing layers. The trail from Wolf Pit to the Mountains to Sea Trail is all up hill. It’s not a bad climb at all. There are plenty of switch backs and steps cut into the trail. The area was hit by the 2013 Table Top wildlife and is wide open. Young pines are just starting to grow back. These affords us the opportunity to have great 180 degrees views. We can see Lake James very well. As we make our way up we are still wondering what all the fuss is over this trail.  By all measures, this is an easy climb. Where we are climbing is the south end of the gorge on the east side, Shortoff 20150307_105641Mountain. The Wolf Pit trail intersects the Mountains to Sea Trail a little over half way up. We turned right on it. Once we reach the top we start to see the rock face of the gorge.  It has only been an hour’s walk from the parking lot and 1100 foot climb to a different world.  We drop our packs and explore the cliff edge.  We take more and more photos as the views get better and better. Large ice sickles fall from the cliff face in the warm afternoon sun and crash down hundred feet below.  We pack back up and keep exploring each side trail to the gorge edge as we make our way to the top. We then find a nice over look that gives up a clear view up the gorge. We can see the Linville River cutting its way through the gorge.  This area was named for father and son setters who were scalped by Cherokee Indians. The upper gorge is very narrow.  Closer to the end it opens up and there is some room on the side of the river. We take a break here and eat a snack. We could see Table Top in the distance,  our goal for the day.  The map shows water there and 20150306_13064820150306_121642we were told by fokes at the sports store that it was the only water source for this part of the trail.  After the break,  we passed a small pond. The last water source, not a place you would want to get water from. We were all still good with our Water supply and with the promise of water at Table Rock we keep going. The trail pulled away from the rim’s edge and continue up a rise that did not get burned. We emerged from the woods to more fire damaged landscape.  We follow the Ridgeline with the gorge on our left and Lake James on our right.  It makes a large sweeping curve to the left.  It was down hill for the first time then right back up to a point and trail junction where the fire did not touch. The trail turns right and starts an almost straight down hill decent. We loose 500 feet of elevation, close to half what we had gained through out the day. I hated to lose it because I knew we would have to make it back up. Chimmeys gap was the20150306_141134 low point at 2500 feet.  Then came the climb back out of the gap. This side of the gap was pines that were 6 to 8 inch in diameter and 15 to 20 foot tall. The fire had 20150306_144552come through here but the timber was still standing dead and black with soot. In area trees blocked the trail. On the decent, I had been eating trail mix and had fallen behind.  The rest of the crew was now out of sight in the thick dead forest. It was a steep incline and I could hear them often over head. It was a 1000 foot climb to the top. I caught back up with everyone at a nice rocky over look. We had a good view of the Chimmeys and Tablerock. I took off my pack a rested for a minute while taking photos.  Then it was back on the trail and more climbing to the top.  It wasn’t any worse than anything else I have climbed. In fact it was a short climb compared to the climbs in the Smokies,  but it was late in the day, a day that had started at 4 AM. So when we got to the top and found a camping spot I was all for stopping here for the night. We did a quick survey of the area and pick our spots. Next order of business was to go find water.

20150306_163341 I took my head lamp just in case it got dark and a pullover if it got cold. Plus I had my water bladder. We had only seen three people on the trail and that was at the start. We came across a man and his daughter making camp. We asked about the water we had seen on the map. The map showed a blue diamond,  bathrooms and a parking lot all right together.  He told us there was no water there. The bathrooms were just privies. No running water. He said he and his wife ran into the same problem last summer and went 24 hours without water. He suggested that we check the tops of the rocks a long the Chimmeys for pools of water or ice sickles.  We split up in search for water. I stayed on the trail and everyone else checked the top of the rocks.  I came around the corner of the trail and had a great view of the gorge.  The trail is narrow here with some rock hopping. I found a rock slide and see ice sickles above. I made my way up and started harvesting ice. Putting it 20150306_171036straight into my water bladder.  I made my way to a large cave like over hang.  Would have been a great place to make camp. Had a wonderful view of the gorge.  I got as much ice as I thought I needed. Then headed back to camp about a quarter-mile away. I stopped to talk to the guy who told us about the water. He said he and his wife had done the same loop we were doing. When they ran out of water. He told us of the next water being about 4 miles away on the trail down to the river.  He said the bridge was out and they waded across. He said the trail was real rough and the climb back out was awful hard. He hadn’t eaten well and it was very hard for him. I asked if it was harder than the hill we just climbed up20150306_115755 out of the gap and he said yes. I wasn’t to concerned about him saying that the bridge was out because Phil had said there was a new bridge at the top of the loop. We knew we would have to wade the river at the down stream crossing.  This trail still hadn’t shown us anything that tough and rugged. What were these people talking about? Back at camp we prepared our dinner.  As the sun set. I used my new alcohol fueled stove to cook Mexican rice and pan fry steak strips for camp fajitas.  The camp fire was over looking the east and we had a clear view as the moon came up over the horizon bright red. It was big and was a grand sight to see. The wind was picking up and the temperature was dropping fast.  Water in my water bladder was already freezing.  Some of the guys boiled water and put it in a water bottle and slept with it. One, it helped to keep them warm and two, it kept the water from freezing over night.  I set up my hammock and made sure to tie the rain fly down good. I didn’t want a repeat of the night in the Smokies a few weeks back.  The wind was strong during the night but the rain fly did the trick in blocking it. Over night temperature was around 15 degrees. Everyone survived.  I was warm all night.

20150307_095637The next morning,  I was up first and got my things packed.  It was cold and I didn’t want to spend too much time in camp. I did get the fire going and made a cup of hot chocolate. I had lost my head lamp the night before while looking for water.  I needed time to look for it so I headed out before everyone else. I searched the trail as I walked but I had an idea it was where I had gathered the ice. Having not found the light on the trail,  I stopped at the landslide area where I was the night before and dropped my pack.  I back tracked my path and found the head lamp at the point where I had turned back.  Once I got back to my pack,  Brandon had caught up to me. The view up the gorge was fantastic from the trail.  We took our time and made a lot of photos as we explored the rock formations along the trail.  Jason and Russ caught up to us.  We passed a group of campers and asked about trail conditions.  They too told us that the bridge was out.  Last summer they had cross with a use of a rope up river and the rope may still be there. We walked on to a rocky over look that gave us a 360 degree view.  The discussion of what to do was intense. 20150307_101730 Was the bridge out or not? Did we want to hike down and see? If it was out,  then what?  Would we swim?  Would we hike back out?  Do we call a shuttle and leave from the parking lot at Table Rock? We text Phil and asked him about the bridge.  Yes that bridge is out, he said.  The new bridge is at the top of the gorge. With the winter flow and the added water from rain earlier in the week,  we would have to swim.  But we still didn’t think we would have to swim.  Surely we could find a way to cross. Maybe we could rock hop or find a down tree. We decided to go take a look.  We scrambled over more rocks before leaving the Chimmeys and entering the camping area next to the parking lot. Unfortunately the restrooms were locked. We stopped to rest and check the map. The Table Rock was right in front of us.  We took more 20150307_103149photos.  Then we climbed up the trail from the parking lot on the North West side of the mountain with great views of the gorge.  We passed two guys collecting water from a wet weather spring on the side of the trail. They gave us more advice on how to cross the river.  On up the trail where we were to leave the Mountains to Sea Trail,  we met a large group of Boy Scouts.  They to had done our loop last year. More advice on how to hike the trail. We started our decent to the river. It was straight down hill, no switch backs.  I was getting a little hungry so I slowed down a little to eat a snack while walking.  We started to hear water and was soon at a small creek and our first fresh water on the trail.  I used my new life straw filter for the first time.  From here it was up and over several ridges till we got to a camping area. We stopped to check the map. There was the trail we walked in on and it looked like it went straight ahead. There was a trail coming in on the right down the crest of the hill and a trail to the left. After looking over the map,  we went straight ahead.  After a few hundred yards of down 20150306_170514hill hiking the trail disappeared.  More map reading and discussion of what to do.  We turned back and bushed wacked our way up the draw to the trail junction. More map studying and up the hill we went. It was a short climb.  We passed a young lady hiking by herself.  I thought how dangerous it  for her to be alone. We soon came to another trail junction.  We turned left and started our decent to the river.

20150307_140240We got to the river at lunch time.  There were a few people hanging out on the rocks.  Two ladies with a dog were finishing up their lunch.  A couple was sitting on a large boulder that was once the landing of the now missing foot bridge.  We dropped our packs and began exploring the area for a way across.  Where the bridge once stood was a gap much to wide to jump.  There was a boulder below that we might could have jumped to but if we didn’t make it we would have been swept 20150307_141053down river in the raging white water.  The river was up due to rain just two days before our trip. There was a row of smaller boulders below a pool that looked like we could have rocked hopped across but again it was to big of a gap. I made my way up the river looking for a way to cross.  The gorge is very narrow and the hillsides are like walls.  I could only crawl and climb over rocks for a short distance before coming to a point that could not be traversed.  I made my way back to the trail and reported my findings.  Jason and Brandon tried a route a little higher up the hillside with the same 20150307_144354results.  I ate my lunch of tuna with crackers.  The talk of swimming the river came up again.  The air temperature was in the 50s. Remember it had been a low of 16 degrees over night. There was a very deep pool of water just above the spot where the bridge once span the narrow slot of swift water that funneled all the river. Not a place you would want to get caught up in.  The plan was evolving.  We looked where to enter and where to exit. What would be the easiest and fastest way across without getting caught the current and be pulled into the rapids.  Russ was the biggest supporter of this plan.  Jason was up for it too.  Brandon and I had not fully committed.  That was going20150307_140311 to be some cold water.  Part of the plan was to ferry our packs across on a rope.  Two of us on one side and two of us on the other to handle the rope and packs.  We stripped down to our underwear and put our clothes in our packs. Brandon and I were still not sure if this was what we wanted to do.  While discussing our options and had almost decided to bail out and head back,  we heard Russ splash in. There was no turning back now.  Jason quickly followed with a dive into the clear frigid waters. They were across in about 15 seconds. That doesn’t sound long. But believe me you couldn’t stand much more than that. After they caught their breath, Russ took a position on the lower bolder.  It had a 30 degree angle into the water and was not that good  a base. I think Russ may have swam with the rope.  We had found a big carabiner on the old bridge foundation. We used it to attach our packs to the rope. The upper end of the rope was looped around rebar that was part of the old bridge and I anchored it.  Russ ran the lower part of the rope behind his back while sitting and Jason anchored the end of the rope. Brandon loaded the packs and send them down to Russ who caught them and passed them to Jason.  Talk about a team building exercises. It was now mine and Brandon’s turn to swim.  We waded in until 20150307_144400the water was waist deep then started our swim.  I made the mistake of keeping my sandals on thinking they would help me walk over the rocks.  They were pulling me down a little and slowing down some too. I was almost to the other side and was at a point where I thought I should be able to stand up but to  surprise I could not touch.  I felt that I was in a fight for my life.  The cold water had taken my breath.  I was trying to take in deep breaths. I was getting encouragement from the guys on the shore. It was the most primeval feeling of survival I have ever had.  One on the back of the river I collapsed with deep gasping for air. After the shock wore off and I regained feeling,  I was the most refreshed I had ever been.  I also had a huge sense of accomplishment.  We got out of our wet short, got dressed and got back on the trail.

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20150308_092534The trail now followed close by the river.  Never losing sight of it. We were still in the narrow upper part of the gorge.  The trail was narrow and climbed up and down the side of the hill.  It really was a goat path. Large trees littered the way. This was becoming the worst part of the trip. More people were on this side of the river. There are a few trails coming in on this side and more camping opportunities. Most  If not all possible camping areas were occupied.  We made our way down to below the chimneys before we made camp.  Almost even across the20150307_171408 river from where we had camped the first night.  The sun was low in the west and its soft light painted the cliff face above on the east rim of the gorge. It was a sight worth the efforts of the day.

20150308_113040Our camp was a spacious area. We had plenty of fire wood and room to spread out.  Brandon pitched his tent and the rest of us hung our hammocks. We cooked dinner,  I had a setak cooked over the open fire.  Then it was a relaxing evening around the fire.  The night was not as cold as the night before.  The next morning I cooked eggs for breakfast.  We had a big day ahead of us. We broke camp and we all hiked together, getting back logged at each down tree we had to cross.  Some 20150308_115634were quite tricky, like a puzzle you had to solve before you could pass. The morning trail was much like the afternoon before.  It was a goat path on the side of the hill.  We took lunch at a campsite that was just passed where the gorge started to open up.  After lunch we hiked in the flat flood plain of the river for about an hour until we could go no further.  The river cut into the steep mountain side blocking our path.  This would be our second river crossing.  The river was very wide here and didn’t look to deep except right next to the bank on our site. We looked for a spot that wouldn’t be too deep. Again we stripped down to our underwear and I put my sandals on.  This time they worked as planned.  The river20150308_134841 turned out not to be too deep.  My shorts didn’t get wet. The water was cold but refreshing.  Jason took the opportunity to soak his knees for a while.  This is where the trail ends and your own your own.  After gearing up we wander and bushwhack our way down river.  We found a road a little inland and took it out of the national forest onto to private land.   About a mile on down the road it crossed the river and there was no way to continue down the river without crossing. We studied the map and decided we had to climb out up the mountain to the east. We were looking to hit the Mountain to Sea Trail on the ridge top. The mountain side was steep. I believe it was a 1100 foot climb.  We did not have a trail to follow.  It was get to the top.  We were soon on the west slop where the fire had burned all the trees. We were without protection from the afternoon sun.  It was slow going.  My tracking poles helped a lot. We had to take several stops.  20150308_135306We found the trail and took a left and continued to climb the mountain along the ridge line. This trail intersects the trail down to the truck almost at the top of the mountain so when we found a side trail that looks like it cuts a  cross the side of the mountain we take it.  It goes up and over several ridges but it was a shorter route.  The guys turned on the over drive and left  behind.  Once a Wolf Pit trail I turned right and it was all down hill to the truck.  It took a little longer to get down than I thought it would.  The small parking lot was packed.  We loaded up and headed to the nearest waffle house.  Great trip.

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Confession of a Rebel

Some of you may not know this about me. I am not proud of all I have done but feel I need to tell my story.  

I came from a broken home.  My mom died when I was very young.  My dad fell in with the wrong crowd and left me and my sister.  I was sent to live with my dad’s half-brother on his farm. It was in the middle of nowhere.  I never saw my dad when growing up.  I thought he was dead from the storied my uncle had told me.  Come to find out he had not even told me half of what my father had done.  He was a war hero. A great pilot. A warrior. He nearly died from his battle wounds. But he changed with the death of my mother.  He went crazy, destroyed the hospital room.  That’s when he turned evil.  

My sister went to live with a family friend.  He was in politics and lived far away from us.  I didn’t see my sister for a long time.  Her adopted family got in trouble with the authorities and she got caught up in it to. We were both in our late teenage years at that time.  She had made a video of herself and when  I saw it, I had all these strange feeling come over me. She was in trouble and I had to go see her.

I didn’t have a ride so I asked some friends to help me out. My aunt and uncle that I lived with had just both ben murdered. I had found the bodies.  It was awful. Turns out one of my buddies that we were catching a ride with, owed a lot of money to an underworld gangster.  Plus Federal special agents were looking for him. He had been smuggling “supplies”. So we blasted out-of-town.

  We found out that my sister was in jail.  We went to pick her up. At first she didn’t know who I was and then on the way out she gave me a kiss.  It wasn’t a sisterly kiss. Said it was for good luck. She told us how her adopted family was murdered. Their home was destroyed.  She couldn’t go back. We then went to her friend’s place.

My buddy was trying to put the moves on my sister but she blew him off and laid another kiss on me.  Again I had more strange feeling. Her friends were at a place that was cold and snowing.  I took a walk, got lost and nearly froze to death.  Lucky my friends found me the next morning.

Then Me and my friends shoot up a police station on a fly by. We needed to lie low. I went to one of my dad’s old army buddy’s place.  He lived way back in the woods.  A swamp really.  A good place to hide.  I think he was hiding out himself.  He was a war hero too. He was a high-ranking general during the war. He and I started a training program.  Stuff he had learned in the service.

The other guys and my sister went to the smuggler’s friends place.  That guy ran some kind of underworld operation, too. They thought they could hide out there. Turns out the Feds had his place under surveillance.  They conducted a raid, my sister and most of my friends got out in time but my buddy got caught.  Through corruption of the system, the gangster he owed money to get a hold of him. My sister tried to negotiate his release but was kidnapped too. Me and some more friends had to bust them out. I killed several people who day, including the kidnappers.

Fast forward to this party we were at. I had seen my sister in a two piece bikini.  More strange feelings. Did she like me or my buddy.  I knew she had kissed him too and told him she loved him. I walked outside to clear my head and she followed me out. We stated talking and I told her I had to go fight Darth Vader our father.

April Fools!

God

There is Good and there is Evil in this world.  There is Right and there is Wrong in this world.  Evil is wagging a war against Good. Michael and his Angels are fighting the Devil and his Angels. It is a warfare that starts in each of us. Each chose we make is a battle in this war. Will we choose to do good or to do evil.  Choose you this day whom you will serve,  for me and my house will serve the Lord.  “My House” is not your household,  but rather your body.  Your body houses your soul.  The Devil is in this world. He said that he is going up and down,  to and fro in the Earth seeking whom he may devour.  Again the Earth is not plant Earth but our Earthly body. He is going up and down in our body and going from person to person.  So the battle is in us. I would do Good but Evil is present.  We will win battles and we will lose battles. Let God fight your battles and you will win. As a Christian you will fight two major wars and win them both. As a non-Christian you will fight the first war until you win or die. At that point you lose.  The first war is for your soul. As you come to the age of accountability,  that is to know right from wrong,  good from evil and accountable for your own actions, you will enter this war. This happens at different ages for different people. It occurs when you realize you will die one day and spend eternity somewhere. An event may trigger this realization. For me it was Dooms Day. Back in 1982 all the planets were on the same side of the Sun and there were Dooms day predictions.  The fear was that the gravitational pull would blow up Earth. The talk and buzz got me scared. Fear of God is the beginning of Wisdom. I was only 8 years old, the age of accountability hit me. I talked to dad about it, how I was scared. He told me about God, Heaven and how beautiful it was there. He compared it to the Mill Branch. A small stream in the hills behind our house where we had been hunting just days before. It is still one of my favorite places. You could call it my Bethel. Where I first knew the Lord. I don’t believe I was ever lost or out of the grace of God. I won that war at age 8. It was any easy one for me. I just believed in Jesus. As I grew up my belief also grew. I now believe that Jesus Christ, son of God, came to Earth, borne to a Virgin 2000 years ago, preached His own everlasting Gospel, set an example for us to follow, set up sacraments to be handed down, gave His life on the Cross of Calvary as the supreme sacrifice for all sin, rose on the third day with a glorified body, was seen by many for 40 days, set up His Kingdom in the hearts of those who believe upon His name, ascended to Heaven to the right hand of God where He makes intersections for us with groanings that can’t be uttered and sent back the Holy Spirit to lead and guide us on Earth.

Why are we here?,  you may ask yourself. Well it isn’t about you. In short, it is to worship God. But you say he has the Angles and all the Heavenly Host to do that. Yes he does and they do it continually. But consider this, they were created to worship God and can not disobey God. They do not have freewill. We were created with freewill. So when we stop what we are doing in our lives and give God praise it is a true praise that the Angles can not give. You may say, I am a good person, why does bad things happen to me? Again, it is not about you. It is about God. When trouble befalls you, consider it great joy. Why would you do that? Here is why. If everything in our lives were easy go lucky, peace and happiness we would not feel the need of God. If we have troubles and seek the Lord for his help and receive a blessing, then we have a reason to give him praise.

Civil War – Tibbitts

By Trent Tibbitts

One story passed down about my great, great grandfather Madison Green Tibbitts goes something like this: At the age of 18, He was in the 14th Ga. Infantry. During the Battle of the Wilderness, on May 6th, he was shot through the right knee. A silk handkerchief was used to clean the wound by running it through the hole created by the mini-ball.

While in the hospital he was bunked next to a Yankee named John. They became friends and keep in touch after the war. Once he was released and after the war was over,  Maston took a train to Ga. He had to walk a long way to his home in Paulding county on crutches from the train station.

He received a war pension for his knee, $50 a month. For two summers,  he attended Bowdon College in Bowdon Ga. It was one of five Ga. colleges commissioned to provide free tuition to poor and maimed Confederate veterans. There he learned to be a cordwainer (shoemaker) or a cobbler (repaires shoes) or both.  He walked from Paulding to Bowden on crutches, a distance of 60 miles one way. He was joined by Bill Sheffield and A.C. Scoggins. The Union army had destroyed everything along the route, including stores and hotels.  They relied on the generosity of strangers for food and a bed for the night. One such person was Mr. Dyer in Sand Hill. They would stay with him on each trip. On his last trip home, Maston bought a heifer calf from Mr. Dyer. He drove the calf home with a rope while still walking on crutches.  He was to marry Mary Ann Starnes and needed a cow of his own. This was the first new livestock to come into Paulding County after the war.  Paulding was totally devastated from the live off the land campaign of the Union.  Paulding had the most soldiers for the longest period of time than anywhere else during the war. Very little livestock was left.

Maston’s friend, John sent word and invited him up to visit and paid for his trip. John was a wealthy man who had indoor plumbing.  Matson asked to use the restroom. John showed Matson were to go. When he came out and walked back to John, he said, “John I have to ask you a question. When I was sitting there, I looked up and to my surprise there was a nice big framed painting of General Bobby Lee. What in the world is a Yankee doing with a painting of General Lee?”. John replied, “there isn’t anything that could move a Yankees boules like Robert Lee.”

 

 

Some of my Confederate heritage

By Todd Tibbitts

 

In the Spring of 1864…. March 19th according to enlistment records… my great, great grandfather, M.G. (Maston Green) Tibbitts was talked into joining the 14th Regiment, GA Volunteer Infantry, Company K (Etowah Guards – Bartow County), of the Confederate States of America by his two older brothers who’d already enlisted a few years earlier at the beginning of the Civil War. The two older brothers were James W. (Jim) Tibbitts and Thomas J. Tibbitts, and while on furlough back home in Dallas, GA, northern Paulding County, they talked the younger Maston into signing up to fight so that they could receive signing bonuses.

 

M.G (Maston Green) was born on October 13, 1845. Private M.G. Tibbitts was wounded during his first campaign at The Battle of Wilderness, VA, May 5-7, 1864, just a few short months after enlisting. He was transported to a hospital in Augusta, GA for treatment and rehab for his battlefield wound… a mini-ball had passed relatively cleanly through the knee allowing for recovery without leg amputation. (His Confederate Pension Application reads/// “Application for Allowance for ‘Disabled Leg’. Amount $50. Entered on Record, March 29, 1894.” He walked with a limp the remainder of his life while carrying on a full and productive life raising his family and working back on the farm in Dallas, GA. Maston Green died on February 13, 1924 and is buried at Old Harmony Grove Church Cemetery, Paulding Co., GA.

 

Older brother, Thomas J. Tibbitts was born on December 12, 1841. Sergeant Thomas J. Tibbitts was also wounded in battle, just a few days after his younger brother, Maston Green, was wounded. It happened in the very next battle of the 14th Regiment, GA Infantry which was the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, VA, May 12, 1864. (His Confederate Pension Application reads … “Application for Allowance for ‘Left Leg’. Amount $25. Entered on Record, July 16, 1888”) Thomas J. Tibbitts died on June 18, 1924 and is buried at Mt. Moriah Baptist Church Cemetery, Paulding Co., GA [Note: If one looks closely at his weathered marble headstone, along its top line, one can still make out the inscription…KKK.]

 

Older brother, James W. (Jim) was born on June 29, 1837. Corporal James W. Tibbitts served through the entire war, even having sustained a battlefield injury early on at the Battle of Mechanicsville, VA in 1862, and he also stood with General Robert E. Lee and the CSA troops at the surrender at Appomattox, April 9, 1865. (His Confederate Pension Application reads … Application for Allowance for ‘Leg Disabled’. Amount $50. Entered on Record, October 8, 1890”) He later died in 1909. James W. Tibbitts is buried at Old Harmony Grove Church Cemetery, Paulding Co., GA.

 

A fourth brother, W.A. (William) was born on June 26, 1839. William A. Tibbitts moved to Arkansa, fought with the 6th Regiment, Ark. Infantry, Co. H, and was killed in battle during the Battle of Stones River, TN on December 31, 1862. Apparently, he is buried in the mass grave of unidentified Confederate soldiers in the Evergreen Cemetery in Murfreesboro, TN>

 

These brave and honorable brothers were the sons of Joseph Chitman Tibbitts, 1812-1892, who was listed on the GA Militia Roster but never served due to his advanced age. Joseph C. Tibbitts is buried at Old Harmony Grove Church Cemetery, Paulding Co., GA.

 

Respectfully submitted: Todd Tibbitts, Dallas, GA. Son of Thomas Hershel Tibbitts. Grandson of Joseph Holis Tibbitts. Great Grandson of Maston Elihu Thibbitts                              August 15, 2012

By TRENT TIBBITTS

Ecleasties Tibbitts was born to Maston Elihew and Frances Bowman Tibbitts on Aug. 14, 1905. She was their next child born after my grandfather Hollis,  who was born in 1903. When she was at the age of three, the family was living in Alabama. They may have followed Frances family out there to farm.

On the faithful morning,  Elihew went to the barn to let out a mule from his stall. Not knowing that Little Ecleasties was near by, he opened up the door of the stall. The mule, being happy to get out of the stall, ran out kicking up his heals. The mule kicked the young girl in the head and killed her.

Francis dressed her and a pine wood box was built.  Wanting to take the child back home to Burnt Hickory, Elihew took her body by train to Georgia.  He departed the train at McPherson,  west of Dallas.  He didn’t have any way to transport her so he walked to a nearby home looking for a horse and Wagon to barrow.  The first person turned him down.  The next person was willing to help.

Word got around to family and friends. A funeral was held at Mount Moriah and Little Miss Ecleasties was laid to rest in the cemetery behind the church.  She is in the back left side of the old cemetery.

The Elihew Tibbitts family moved back to Burnt Hickory not to long after this happened. Elihew became a Deacon of Mount Moriah.  His son Hollis and grandson Hershel were Moderator of the church.  His great grandson Todd is the current Moderator.

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Tibbitts Lake

A few days ago I was at Tibbitts Lake standing on the bridge.  I was thinking back about my childhood growing up on the lake.  I’m 40 now,  I built my house, got married and moved out when I was 20. So, I spent 20 years living at my parents house on the lake and 20 years with Wendy in our house in the woods.  The two areas are so different but are less than a 1/2 mile apart.  Mom and Dad’s house sits on a hill above the lake and has a huge two acre yard.  Lots of grass to cut. There’s fruit trees,  grapevines,  pecans,  blueberries and lots of sunshine.  After growing up cutting all that grass each week and then working in the landscape industry during the summer starting when I was 14. I didn’t want any grass at my house.  When building our house we keep as many trees as we could.  I have two very small patches of grass that may only get mowed 5 times a year.  It doesn’t get enough sun to grow.  The trees keep us several degrees cooler here too. We are in a hollow at the base of a small mountain.  So there are no long distance views like a mom and dad’s but there is a lot more wildlife.  Just the other day I walked out on the front porch and two twin deer fawns were in the woods 40 feet away.

Growing up, when people found out l lived on the lake they would say “if I lived on a lake I would go fishing everyday”. Well I didn’t.  I did a little fishing but mostly social fishing.  It was mostly some friends would want to go and I would take them.  I would go by myself some.  I liked to walk to a small cove on the other side of the lake.  Dad’s side of the lake was open and no trees. The west side was wooded. From the open dam, I would walk a path next to the lake in the woods to my spot at the cove. This is where I caught the biggest catfish I ever have caught.  I also liked to go below the dam and fish in the spillway.  It was also wooded and was a challenge to get to. First you walked over the dam by the fish hatchery.  Then cross over the spillway.  It was a ditch as deep as I was tall. I had to pull myself out using exposed tree roots. Then down hill again and cross the small stream to the little fishing hole.  Fish that had been washed out of the lake would get trapped here. There was always someone, a friend,  a cousin or someone fishing.  I would go down and hang out but did little fishing.  Jonathan was who would fish every day.  He lived just up the road a few houses.  His grandmother and my dad are brothers and sisters.  She built a house across the lake from dad. Jonathan is two years older than me.  Just about every day after school he would be fishing.

I did like to go on fishing trips.  Mostly for the trip.  I love a adventure. If it was some where other than the house,  if there was a boat or best of all if it was saltwater. Dad bought a boat when I was 10 or so. Not much, but it was a boat. I remember going with him to pick it up.  He bought it used from a local man. We took it to Altoona a few times and down to lake Oconee to our deer hunting land a few times. That place had a really nice big cove that was just below deer camp. Between hunts we would fish.  Dad would let me drive the boat some.  Then as I got older I would take it out by myself on Tibbitts Lake. I have talked about our deep sea fishing trips in other post so i will not recap here but to say they were really fun.  One summer just after Wendy and I were married,  Jason bought a old bass boat.  I think he paid $300 for it. Trailer and all. That guy needed the money bad. Jason and I wore Corley’s Lake out. We had a lot of fun catching bass.

I have covered the catfish farming before to but that was a big part of my childhood working on the lake.  I was doing something just about every day on the lake from feeding the fish, to gathering fish eggs, to working the fish from one lake to the other, and then selling them.

When I started to write this story it was to be about deer hunting not fishing.  I got distracted.  I will have to do a follow up on hunting and the history of Tibbitts lake.

Building a Home

By Trent Tibbitts

Dunning science class in the 9th grade a little girl started hanging around me and stole my heart. We went to our freshmen Homecoming dance together and dated most of the year. We would be on and off until mid 11th grade, and have been together since then. One of our first dates after I could drive was the North Georgia Fair. We went to the Prom together our Jr. and senor year. Wendy was in the color guard and I was at every football game to watch her perform. She would get to seat with me during the third quarter. I also went to several Band competitions where they always won Grand Champion. She got to perform at the Citrus Bowl too. I played Soccer and ran Cross-Country. She would come to my games. We were out every Friday night somewhere. A lot of times we would double date with friends. We had a lot of fun in high school. Our class voted us Cuties Couple for sensor superlative. After graduation we took at trip to visit Wendy’s grandmother in Miami. We drove back up to Orlando and went to Disney World. The first of many trips. Her cousin Amanda was young and we took her to the beach with us one of the days. As we drove by a power plant and white smoke was coming out of the stacks. Amanda said “so that’s where clouds come from”. We spent a few days on the beach and a few days at Disney. Wendy showed me all the places around where she grew up. Her Grand dads hotel that he managed, her old schools, places they would go and things like that. We took a dinner Cruise to no where. It was really a casino ship. There was not much for us to do after dinner so we just walked the deck through the night. I had been planing this trip for sometime. I had bought a ring with money I saved from working summers at Post Properties in the landscape department. Brandon was the only person who knew I had bough the ring. I knew there would be a full moon while we where there, and I knew when it would rise. I decided to ask Wendy to marry me in her home town on her home beach of Fort Lauderdale. I had the ring in my pocket, after dinner we stopped and parked at the beach for a moon light stroll on the sea-shore. It was around 10 PM and no one was around. I got down on one knee and asked her to marry me. When she said yes, there was a continues streak of lighting that circled us around the horizon. We came back home and continued our plans of going to college. I was going to what was the called Southern Tech and Wendy went to West Georgia. The plan was to finish school the get married. Well we couldn’t wait that long. It was getting harder and harder to say good-by each night. I thought I wanted to be an architect, but I didn’t. I went to school full-time the first year. Then started working more and more at Post. I would sit in class and think about all the money I could be making if I was not in school so I started going nights. I got raises and promotions at work and felt I was doing pretty good for a nineteen year old. We decided to move up the date of the wedding and we started to build our house. Dad gave my brother Todd, my sister Tammy and myself all about three acres next to each other when I was ten. So I had the land. Wendy and I were able to get a loan. I acted as the general contractor. First I got a drive way permit. Then I got a septic tank permit. We had to get a soil scientist in to sign off on it because of the perk test failed. I started clearing trees and debris for the driveway and house site. I cut a lot of wood and had a lot of brush fires. Wendy was still going to school and planning the wedding. The first real activity was cutting in the driveway and digging the basement. Dad helped out a lot. He worked with the bulldozer operator and helped cut trees as they were pushed over. Where the driveway started was an old dumping ground. Back in the day people would just through their trash out in the woods and this area became popular. There were old washer, dryers, refrigerators, sinks, along with household garbage. We dug a big hole and buried it along with the tree stumps. We loaded the Pine trees on my uncle Fed’s dump truck and sold them at the lumber yard. The Oak trees I split by hand and sold as firewood for the next few years. The next project was getting power. We were the first to build on our road so power lines had to be installed all down the road. That made a big difference in the way our little dirt road looked. Before then the trees would touch one another overhead like a tunnel. The foundation was next. The ground was to rocky to dig in the foundation like we did by hand at Todd and Toni’s A frame house they built. We poured the foundations on top of the rocks and a few days later the basement walls were poured. Two concrete trucks got stuck and I had to pay to get them out. We had to fill the basement floor with gravel to raise it up before pouring the concrete floor on top. The water proofing was done Easter morning. Dad and I used the farm tractor to back fill around the basement. We had a well dug. It only took a few day for the framing. Once the roof was on, the electrical and plumbing was in I started installing the insulation. The drywall was installed in one day. Wendy and I did a lot of painting with moms help. Wendy did most of it. Dad did a lot of the door trim. We had the house bricked and a very nice fireplace made. We had a lot of help when we built the porch and deck. Keith was a big help cutting out the steeps. We help, I did all the things I could. Wendy and I built our house with our own hands at the age of 19. I turned 20 on May 6th, we closed the loan on May 13th, Wendy turned 20 on May 22nd and we were married on May 28th. We spend the first night in the house on our wedding night. We Honey Mooned in Destin.

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