Family, Cherohala Skyway & Foster Falls

Labor Day Weekend
Greetings from Tennessee,

Since my last update we enjoyed a very nice visit from family over Labor Day
weekend. Our first guests to arrive were my sister Sarah who traveled all the
way from Yemen, and my parents who came from California. Once they landed on
Friday afternoon we all went to Sam's club and Walmart to finish up some food
shopping. Sabbath morning we headed to church where Brenda was in charge of
our Sabbath School study for the week. Before we got back from church Brooke,
Jeffrey, Elise and Zion arrived from Nashville. They came a bit early to take
advantage of our hot water for showers as theirs was not working. When we got
back from church we had a good lunch together and then spent the rest of the
day visiting and playing with the kids.

On Sunday after breakfast my grandparents joined us from McMinnville for
another day of visiting and playing with the kids. Sunday night we had 11
people in the house but managed just fine.

Monday morning
Cherohala Skyway Overlook
Brooke, Jeffrey, Elise and Zion headed back to Nashville after
breakfast, and the rest of us went to an afternoon baseball game. It was the
last game of the season for the AA Chattanooga Lookouts and we had fun
visiting and watching them pull off a win against the Huntsville team.

On Tuesday Brenda had to go back to work but the rest of us had another day of
visiting and working on some travel details for our upcoming trip to South
America. My grandparents headed home late in the day but my parents and Sarah
stayed one more night before flying back to California bright and early
Wednesday morning. Overall we had a great time just relaxing and spending time
with family over the long weekend.

The next weekend we stayed in town as Brenda was helping with the 7th year
birthday party for our church. Although the church as a group has been around
for 7 years, we have only been in the new building for a little over 1 year.

After quite a string of busy weekends
Whigg Meadow
at home we decided to get away for a
break the second weekend in September. We were originally considering a
camping trip, but Brenda was feeling a bit sick with what later turned out to
be strep throat, so we decided to rent a cabin in the mountains instead. We
found a nice log cabin with a small kitchen and it's own hot tub just off the
Cherohala Skyway. The 36 mile skyway is named after the Cherokee and Nantahala
national forests and climbs from about 900 feet in Tennessee to a summit of
around 5400 feet in North Carolina. It is known as the most expensive road in
North Carolina with a price tag of $100 million and was completed in 1996.
After getting a good nights rest Friday, we headed out to do some exploring
and to search for wild blueberries at Whigg Meadow on Sabbath. The meadow is
located a couple of miles off the main skyway and is known for wild
blueberries, good views and bird banding. The high elevation and abundance of
berries make this area
Wild Blueberries
a popular stopping point for migratory birds.
Enthusiasts gather to watch the birds and also to capture them so that
tracking bands can be attached. I was more interested in the wild blueberries
though, so spent a couple of hours picking after we ate our picnic. After
berry picking we did some more exploring and ended up getting back to our
cabin using mostly gravel forest service roads. We found some good campsites
for future trips along the way and had a fun, relaxing day overall. On Sunday
we had a nice breakfast of wild blueberry pancakes and then took another
scenic route back to Chattanooga.

The third weekend in September I had organized a group to attend a Casting
Crowns concert but unfortunately the tickets sold out a few days before we
went to get them so that didn't work out. We had a nice weekend anyway though
and got together with friends to play games on Saturday night instead of
attending the concert.

Last weekend we went camping at Foster F
Bald River Falls
alls with our young adults group. The
campground was just over an hour away near a waterfall and some good hiking
trails. The waterfall didn't have much water flowing since it has been so dry
here, but a couple of us still went swimming in the pool below the falls which
was deep and quite cool. We also walked to the top of the falls but mostly
spent time visiting and hanging out around the campfire. On Sunday we took a
short hike and I twisted my foot badly enough that I couldn't put weight on it
by the time we got home Sunday night. It has been healing quickly though and
I'm doing much better now.

This weekend we stayed in town and enjoyed potluck with our young adults group
on Sabbath. We then attended a get together with some of my coworkers later in
the day. Sunday morning I played sand volleyball and then spent the rest of
the day working on projects at home and getting ready for our trip to South
America. This coming Thursday we are scheduled to fly to Montevideo, Uruguay
where my aunt lives. From there we will travel with my parents over to Buenos
Aires and then fly south to El Calafate in the Patagonia region of Argentina.
We are really looking forward to spending time with family and to seeing lots
of mountains and glaciers on this trip.

Until next time,