SC State House

27 Jun 2016 – Soda City Market
2016_3$largeimg217_Mar_2016_005625550Sat: deeply saddened by the news of Marlene’s passing. May she RIP. Our thoughts and prayers are with Alonzo&family and Jan&family. Jan and I go back to the days when we were in the same travel school together in the late 1980s FL, and we have celebrated many family Bdays together – her first-born and I share the same date and Linn shares the same date with Al, her husband.

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Bright and early up to get downtown to Soda City Market (Main St) which happens every Sat where local vendors are there selling fresh produce, food&drinks, arts&crafts etc etc etc. Soda City is a nickname for CAE. Locals often refer to the city with the abbreviation of Cola. and hence the term Soda City.

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Like this piece of Palmetto decor which will be a present to L&J.

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Main St has many exciting and interesting buildings+historical landmarks.

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One of my favourties – Sheraton Hotel is the first (1913) high-rise (18storey) and once tallest building in CAE then is an excellent eg of early 20th century skyscraper sheathed in Gothic revival detail with use of the palmetto tree motif (SC state tree).

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Starbucks in the basement with a pleasant blend between historic landmark and modern convenience.

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It was perfect timing to make my first visit to SC State House located at the end of Main St sitting on 18beautifully landscaped acres.

http://www.knowitall.org/letsgo/lgsh/welcome.html

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Talk about a small world, walked up the steps to have a view of Main St. Watching life from there, saw this guy was carrying his bike up the stairs. Told him how impressed I was to see someone so fit and we got to chatting to discover that Greg knows L&J from church…

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Had fun taking pix inside and was the only visitor in the building when it opened its doors which made it most enjoyable in this Greek Revival style building.

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Fascinating ornate ceilings and trimmings on the 2&3floors. Wonder what the designer was thinking with these demon-looking heads at the end of every support corridor for the 3level??? Like the openness between those floors ie that they share the same dome ceiling.

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The Museum Gift Shop has the most amazing quilt handing on the wall with the SC State song stitched discreetly into the background. The lady working there was most informative and helpful – nowhere in this world can compare to the SC courtesy and graciousness.

http://www.columbiacvb.com/listings/South-Carolina-State-House/15796/

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Columbia Museum of Art – the exterior was on my list for viewing…

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but seeing the chandelier in the lobby got me to pay S10 (senior) to walk thru’ 2floors of exhibits! Just picking a few contrasting random pix.

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One of Dale Chihuly’s (my favourite glass sculpture artist) chandeliers which the museum purchase with funds provided by The Contemporaries. The design was chosen to enhance the asymmetrical shape of the Museum’s atrium and a ‘Carolina Sunset’ color-scheme incorporates Columbia’s ‘Famously Hot’ shades of golds, oranges and reds.

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These very contemporary wall-murals are quite neat.

That was all this tired body and mind of a happy tourist could digest and handle – starting from 0800hrs and got back by 1430hrs. SC State Museum originally on the list will have to be another time in one of the future trips – blame it on Chihuly 🙂

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Sun: completed last-minute errands@Walmart&Staples before packing. Treated myself to my favourtie Ultimate Omelette@Denny’s and as usual had to doggy-bag half of it.

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Have been trying to take a pix of this old barn. Finally today managed to pull into the driveway to buy 1watermelon, 1cucumber and 1tomatoe, all for $4 which are grown in Chapin and not anywhere near this barn on Weed Rd!

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Even Zuno got a Sun treat! Hope that this rough map of Lake Murray will do its job for a very rough guideline to see how big and also whereabouts on the lake we are when on the boat! Family arrived home before mid-night, all happily exhausted.

blurry young man framed by small golden frame

UK Making History

24 Jun 2016 – 51.9% YES to Pulling Out of EU

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Thu: week3 of Irmo XC summer conditioning! Linn and the other 2 coaches are coaching the team with first a 1m run followed by a swim workout and breakfast here today…

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while the FaBulous5 (pix credits of them to Terry) are having a blast in some river in NC. Looking forward to seeing Katy’s pix. Good to see such an active sporty bunch of young people enjoying the lovely summer weathers. Happy Summer to All…

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A successful shopping spree (total spending app US$200) for a few hours with some good deals at Old Navy, Ross (a perfect T-shirt, summer shoes and a set of underwear $21.37) and Nordstrom Rack, new for me (2shirts $29.90).

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There is always something I can get at the DollarTree (like Daiso in SIN). 1storage-box, 2sunglasses with 2cases, 2packs of greeting cards & 6packs chewing gums, all for $20.

IMG_2124IMG_2127Most expensive ($45.11 for 1large jar/750ml and 8shorts) shopping today was@Kroger’s Liquor Store. Palmetto Moonshine made in Anderson SC, and the signature award-winning White Lightning is determined to preserve the rebellious spirit and southern traditions of the moonshine culture. It is an un-aged/young! corn whiskey made from a recipe handed down from generations of moonshiners. Produced using custom copper still built by a 5th generation moonshiner to call this SC’s first legal moonshine.

http://www.palmettomoonshine.com/#!palmetto-moonshine/col1

Not forgetting US$28 to fill gas in the car and that will let me drive for app 360mi (14.2gal@$1.91pergal). $50 for tenderloin+lobster tail, Portabello mushrooms dinner for 3, and some kitchen and toilet paper towels.

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Sankthansaften is celebrated on 23Jun in Norway and that is tonight. In present days, the main event is the burning of a large bonfire. Happy Mid-summer night and sweet dreams – it is also said that, if a girl puts flowers under her pillow that night, she will dream of her future husband. Certainly no flowers under my pillow tonight and still paranoid about fires!!!

And sleep, that sometime shuts up sorrow’s eye, Steal me awhile from mine own company ― William Shakespeare in A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Fri: UK made history by voting (51.9%) to leave EU and David Cameron to quit after UK votes to leave EU. Well wishes for UK and EU in these uncertain times ahead. This brought back memories from 1975 when Norway voted to not join EU.

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http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-politics-36615028

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Turbulence and Uncertainty for the Market After ‘Brexit’… as if anyone can predict the future here!!!

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TGIF and my last Fri here in the US for this trip. L&J will be off for a weekend trip to meet up with Matt (pix credits of the Bowmans to the Bowmans), Scott (pix credits of the Tubbs to the Tubbs), their spouses and another couple from school-days.

304282_10150369950386971_50988288_nHave know these boys, now middle-age men 🙂 since middle school days, 1980s! Safe journeys to them and for sure they will have a good reunion.

Dog and house sitting this weekend and looking forward to exploring downtown CAE tomorrow!

To Grammie & Papa They Go

23 Jun 2016 – Over The Highways And Mountain Roads!

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Sun: Happy Father’s Day to all fathers and to Jeff, the best father the FaBulous5 could have! As he was saying over dessert that if all the FaBulous5 decide to have a family and if they average 3each, then there will be 15great-grand for me but will not live to see that!! Wonder if putting them on a boat will get all their attention to take a pix then 🙂

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Father’s Day humour – both Jeff & I are fans of Calvin & Hobbes.

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Mon: and they are off to spend the week with Dee&Terry+their 3cousins in NC. Linn is driving them to meet with Terry half-way. Wishing them all a fun and safe week. Will be strange and quiet in the house with a middle-age couple+their dog – hahaha, but hopefully will get to try out some adult! eateries in the area.

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Dinner at Alodia’s***and the way to see how good an Italian place is to taste their simple classic pasta. The Crab Cakes were good; the Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo was thick&creamy, but lack the umph! Was on the rich side and had to doggy-bag. Tkx Linn&Jeff for dinner.

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Time to get the boat out of the driveway now that it is dry after the Father’s Day weekend boating. Being a weekday night, decided against a boating as the middle-age couple had to get early to bed 🙂

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Beautiful evening and Happy Summer Solstice to those celebrating. Lovely walk in the neighbourhood moon and star-gazing. Young people fishing and such good sportsmanship when he unhook the little fish to let them back in the water while keeping the big one for dinner. The view of the lake is just so serene that it is impossible to be tired of it.

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Amazingly bright full moon, but no strawberry as the strawberry season is over here – blueberry now. Looking forward to Linn’s blueberry cobbler with vanilla ice-cream, yum! Goodnight Moon, goodnight trees, goodnight house, goodnight flag, goodnight road and goodnight to all. Tomorrow will be a new day and the days will start to get shorter.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/06/20/summer-solstice-2016-first-day-of-summer-longest-day-strawberry/

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Tue: nice that Jeff was able to join us for lunch. Spotted Salamander****2nd time round, will certainly return again next visit. Smoked Summer Squash Soup has good flavours and Tomato Pie Fried Chicken with basil, stew tomatoes, Pimento cheese, pie crumbs and honey basil mayo was delicious. And no Jeff was not wearing a tie 🙂

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Fresh produce shopping at City Roots,  SC’s first urban sustainable farm where they grow a variety of vegetables for local farmer’s markets, restaurant sales, and for our market on site. Thought I had pix of City Roots from when Linn was racing the 2014 Crawdaddy Dash, but sadly to discover that 2014 has gone missing from my hard-disk and a total void 😦 thank goodness for 2014 blog postings even when I do not post all my pix! 3 above pix of City Roots downloaded.

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Wed: the heat and humidity is back and time to hide indoors unless before sunrises or after sunsets! Even a short shopping trip at Old Navy gave me a headache! Take-out dinner from Fusco’s Market****Italian night. Fresh Mozzarella and Livingston Farms tomatoes; Mussels Milano with garlic, lemon,white wine, and Sicilian olives. Served with Ciabatta Toast for dipping, all fresh and  yummy. Their Red Velvet cake is so-so.

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The saying that you can’t eat your cake, and have it too. But you can have your cake if you eat someone elses or bake another cake. With my present attitude and mind-frame, I do not want to eat it or have it 🙂

Blame it on the full moon…

Sesquicentennial State Park

19 Jun 2016 – Happy Father’s Day

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IMG_1868IMG_1867Fri: TGIF and the last day of VBS where #2&3 completed their whole week. #1, 4&5 did not attend today. And so concludes 2016 VBS at Shendon Baptism Church where #1 got to enjoy the volunteer lunches as she was helping out. The carved water melons are just some of the foods displayed served to the volunteers. #1 ensured me that she ate well for the week 🙂

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Golden Corral is not the same as my previous visit! It is now an all you can eat buffet-joint with 150+items. We were fortunate to be leaving when 2bus-loads of people arrived! Perfect place for very active people who need to fuel their body – all you can eat for US$8 for seniors! But most of us do not need to eat like there is no tomorrow.

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#2&3 were excited to experience such a tall chocolate fountain – today they first had to take some proper lunch before they were allow to eat all the dessert they wanted – ice cream, all kinds of foods dipped in chocolate, cakes&cookies, etc.  Just looking at them consuming those sweets was enough for me 🙂

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Saw this interesting hair-do and at first thought it was a hat!!! Bad traffic with accidents on I-26+storm warnings in various counties on the way home.

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Sat: bright and early out to Sesquicentennial State Park where Linn&Co are running. Located in the Sandhills region in the suburbs of CAE, this 1,419acres park includes a 30acre lake. Was there before it was opened, so parked at Murice’s BBQ lot (across the road) and walked for an hr before driving the car into the park (US $3.25for SC seniors).

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The weather was at its best for walking.

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Beautiful flowers along the way.

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The spider-webs are of sizes like these – where they are by the road and assuming that most people drive into the park, thus not disturbing these weaves.

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It is an amazing morning and was pleasantly surprised

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by a flock of geese and the lovely water-lilies on the lake.

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Unfortunately did not have the time to get onto the trails, but they do look inviting.

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The Columbia Running Club was hosting their annual Summer Social and it was breakfast time for Linn & her running group who started at 0600hrs and ran from 9-18miles. First taste of a warm Krispy Kreme doughnut and it is yummy! Also time to bid farewell to this group. Appreciations to all for allowing me to take pix and to observe their practices and training.

Tomorrow is Sunday and Father’s Day – plan to prepare a Bourbon Salmon late lunch  with Irish Creamed Potatoes for the family while they are at church.

The more civilized man becomes, the more he needs and craves a great background of forest wildness, to which he may return like a contrite prodigal from the husks of an artificial life – Ellen Burns Sherman

If All Else Fails

17 June 2016 – There Is Always Food & Shopping…

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Tue: Orlando, FL – the Magic Kingdom World (home to Linn, May&I from 1987-2000) has really been hit with more than its fair share of tragic news within a week. They certainly need more than magic to console all those who are affected.

Christina Grimmie shooting
Pulse nightclub massacre 
2-year-old boy was snatched by an alligator from a lagoon at a Disney hotel

Why Orlando? City Reeling From 3 Horrific Events in 1 Week

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IMG_1904Kids at VBS this whole week. Today we were at Whole Foods Market****where one can buy Norwegian Smoked Salmon and Snøfrisk=SnowFresh (white Norwegian cream cheese). Julie/NC mentioned AKA ‘Whole Paycheck’ store and Larry/TX agreed! Definitely over-priced but that is what happens when you do not buy local, hence with just intentions of just browsing only but found this wine for US$2.99per bottle, not bad! Believe in shopping local, especially at the weekend Farmers’ markets.

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The opening of Fusco’s Market****Wonderful to have a deli within 5mins drive! Place was packed in-spite of the rains! Bought their Shepherd Pie and Pecan Brownies – they were delicious and reasonably priced. Their meat section made me want a steak…

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Wed: in memory to 2 of my favourite men, my father LAM TinYue(1911-1996) and ex Norwegian father-in-law, John HALD (1923-2008) who shared the same bdates! Supposedly window shopping, but bought some red, white&blue decorations, napkin rings (US$3.99×2), party crackers (US$14.95 Pier1Imports) for any celebrations with those colours. Found this insulated cup (US$4.99 BedBath&Beyond) that looked like a soda-can – neat, as anyone who knows me well also know that I hardy drink soda!

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First experience at Zesto, but do not rate fast food-joints. Food was good for the price.

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bb05c5d12a591c48edb5ab2d69805c7bHad a small chocolate milkshake and it was yummy. The FaBulous5 did good jobs on their fried chicken-lunches with fries&biscuits before attacking their medium-size ice-cream cones and ate the entire cone, including #5 – no wonder they have sooo much energy!!!

Those cones reminded me of Teddy’s Ice in Dun Laoghaire, Ireland when it was sold from a window on the wall! It must be good as they are still selling it there, but from a shop now – wonder if the window is still there?

Great News!  AT&T Abandons Development Plans in VA

http://loudounnow.com/2016/06/14/att-abandons-short-hill-development-application/

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After expressions of strong concern from the Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), other members of the Blue Ridge Conservation Alliance, the National Park Service and, most importantly, a groundswell of support from the people of Loudoun County, Virginia, AT&T has abandoned its application to develop a two story, 161,000 square foot facility atop Short Hill Mountain.

http://appalachiantrail.org/home/community/news/2016/06/07/appalachian-trail-conservancy-expresses-strong-concerns-about-proposed-at-t-facility-on-short-mountain

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IMG_1925Thu: what a treat to be able to test out these fast food joints, tkx to the FABulous5 for their VBS. Today was Cook Out across the road from the church. This is a privately owned fast food restaurant chain founded in 1989 Greensboro/NC and at present there are 170locations. The 1/4lb burger was good and moist; yummy Coleslaw and the milk-shake, rich&thick. Had to be eaten with a spoon.

Crowded and had to wait for a table, but the kids enjoyed it.

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One more day of fast food and then it will be just Linn&I for lunch next week! Some interesting billboards and signs on the roads, how about naming a gas-station el cheapo!  – pix on the blur side as taken thru’ the car wind-screen!

To eat well, I always disagree with critics who say that all restaurants should be fine dining. You can get a Michelin star if you serve the best hamburger in the world – David Chang

Pulse Club In Orlando

14 June 2016 – An Act Of Terrorism

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Sun: awoken to the sad news this morning and having lived and worked in Orlando for over a decade makes it another home for me there. Thoughts and prayers are with the victims’ families and all those affected.

http://www.cnn.com/2016/06/12/us/orlando-nightclub-shooting/index.html

49 killed at Orlando gay nightclub marks deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history

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A plea to People on Planet Earth
Regardless of beliefs, culture, race, religion, sexual preference, etc
Why can’t we just accept and respect our difference?

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Life is a gift to be celebrated
Differences to be appreciated
Compassion to be achieved…

Wrote this over a decade ago hoping for a more peaceful tomorrow, but peace still seems out of reach 😦

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Good to meet up with Susan, Jay and their kids who have been and still is living in Niger, Africa for the past 5yrs. The last time we met was in 2002-03 when they were en route to ? via SIN. They stayed with me then and poor Susan was ill. They were in UFMed School with Jeff and then together in OKCity for internship. Today there is Anna, Samuel, Sara and Johnathan Kraus (easier to train the memory when you write!) who are the same ages as #2-5 (with numbers, the names will not get mixed-up 🙂 ). Here are 2 wonderful couples who are now middle-age! and doing good jobs to raise their flock of 9!!

Can understand why we address our aunties and uncles by numbers, especially when they are up to the count of 18, and not kidding!

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Mon: the kids are at VBS except for #2 who is with her friend at Carowinds, an amusement park in SC/NC state-line. In this heat and humidity how does one survive in the outdoor rides?

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Not dealing well with all the hate and politicizing of this tragic event and not my usual self. The Monday Blues + what just happened in Orlando was just too much that even words cannot console the hopelessness feelings as to if PEACE can ever be achieved. Was it just an idealistic era with John Lennon’s Imagine and the Hippie Flower Power to think that it is possible???

13077038_200742820312499_6437243660614949272_nHippies was about being happy, but what made it bad was when drugs such as marijuana and LSD were integrated into their culture as a means to explore altered states of consciousness. Some argue that the movement ushered in more liberal press and movies which has led to a degradation of our cultural values and ethics. And the embrace of spontaneity and worship of the ‘primitive’ have turned many towards mindlessness and violence – some points to reflect on!

So what kind of era are we in now?????  Not referring to technical or geological terms! In circumstances when God is mentioned in any of my postings, it is not referring to any religion but to a higher power or omnipotent.

Monday, Monday, so good to me
Monday mornin’, it was all I hoped it would be
Oh Monday mornin’, Monday mornin’ couldn’t guarantee
That Monday evenin’ you would still be here with me… The Mamas & The Papas

Boozer’s Tree Service

12 June 2016 – Bye-Bye Trees 🙂

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Fri: Jeff, #1, 2, 3 and Zuno left for camping. Jeff was in Boy Scouts, so he knows what he is doing. John is now in it, and excited about this trip. Looking forward to seeing pix and hearing all about it when they get back.

IMG_1841Katy is using my old pack from the 2005 AT thru’hike, too heavy for me as we are now spoilt with these new light-weight gears!  Ellie got to borrow my SW Hyperlite MtGear – tkx to Calvin of Campers’ Corner.

Let’s hope that it will help as she is  apprehensive about this trip. Pix of them loading the car brought back memories of the AT where –

how many of our 2005 AT thru’hike days ended like 🙂  →

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Cutting down a total of 10 large trees – 3 large ones by the driveway, 2 by the neighbour and 5 in the backyard, a mixture of pine & gum over the past 3 days in this heat is NO joke! Job professionally executed from the beginning to the end. Was indoors watching and feeling sorry for anyone who had to be working outdoors in this weather. Was thinking of my young friend Chris@CC when I saw their safety harnesses…

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Would highly recommend Boozer’s Tree Service and their crew to anyone who is in need of any advice or work from them. Am impressed with their efficiency and graciousness.

http://www.boozerstreeservice.com/

34D0CB4100000578-0-image-m-39_1464787592136Edited 14 Jun: did not want to miss posting this amazing tree. Tkx to Kiat for sharing.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3619890/He-shrubs-nicely-Bizarre-tree-looks-just-like-real-person-spotted-Bulgaria.html#ixzz4BMYeaZ2x

An unusually quiet Fri evening in the house was quite a change!

Sat: Sophie had a friend+the mom and little sis for a belated Bday celebration – at that age, the celebrations can last for a week 🙂 Was certainly not brave enough to join them at the lake when the temps are in the mid 90sF+a humidity of over 45%!

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http://alltrails.com/trail/us/south-carolina/chattooga-trail

The gang got home before 1900hrs from their overnight camping trip at the Northern section of the Chattooga Trail, Sumter National Forest Oconee County where they hiked app 8miles total for 2days in perfect weather.

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Exciting to hear about their adventures from all in different versions. Starting from Burrells Ford Rd where the car was parked (nearly 3hrs drive from home), they backpacked to the campground and from there further north to pitch tent.

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Following the Chattooga River which borders with GA, they daypacked to Ellicott Rock and back to camp where they spent the night. Next day they packed up and headed home. Poor Ellie was not feeling too well but marched on like a true trooper.

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All camping pix credits to John where he even managed to capture a snake – looks like a Copperhead to me. And here is Zuno home after his 8x5miles! hike, seriously if you have seen dogs on the trials you will know that they run about everywhere sniffing marking their territory!!  Just glad that everyone had a good time and are home safe&sound.

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