Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Climbing and Charles Anderson

Before I tell you about my weekend I should tell you about my challenges from two weeks ago.  The first was to write more, so this one is going to be a long post.  Second, was to do something to benefit someone which I cleaned out my closet and have a pile of clothes to take to donation.  Third, was to learn something new which I learned that Margherita pizza came from Greece in 1889 when they made a pizza in honor of Queen Margherita of Italy, it was made in the colors of the Italian flag; red being tomatoes, green basil, and white cheese.  So there you go, my challenges complete, now on to my weekend.
            I took Friday off work and we headed to my home state of Alabama to visit my sister. We got there early evening, went to dinner, and just relaxed Friday night.  Saturday morning came early, partly because my dog doesn’t sleep at night, but mostly I was excited for the day. I was heading out to do some climbing while Amber (wife), Kelly (sister) and Christy (Kelly’s’ neighbor) were going to do some shopping. After a cup of coffee, some breakfast and a quick check of my gear I was out the door.  I ended up at a place called Cherokee rock village which is atop a mountain over looking Weiss Lake.  I did go alone which I don’t recommend but the ladies aren’t much for climbing and Kevin (childhood friend) was at work.  But in my defense it was a holiday weekend so there where plenty of people there.  As soon as I parked I was on a rock climbing like a cat up a tree. Ok that may be a lie, more like a dog trying to climb a tree.  It has been awhile since I climbed so I was a bit weak and rusty.  I did conquer a few good routes and after a few hours on the rocks and a huge blister on my toe I packed up and headed back to Kelly’s.  I would have stayed all day but we had planned a cookout in celebration of Christy’s birthday.  After I got back and the girls got home and we started cooking baked beans, mac and cheese, chicken dip, potato salad, hamburgers, chicken dip, plus everything else people brought, and yes there was alcohol.  We played horse shoes and bocce ball and hung out with friends and family.  It was a great day.  Sunday was a bit more relaxed, did some visiting with friends and family and some riding around looking at the places I grew up.  Yesterday we packed up and headed home.  It was a great weekend.
Now I left out one part of my story because I am going to elaborate on it now.  There is a road a few miles from my sister’s house called
Hinds Road
which apparently is haunted.  So, for a little thrill Friday night on our way to dinner, we drove down the road when it was still light out and again after dinner when it was dark.  Now this road is a very curvy, narrow gravel path through a dense forest of trees that hang over the road in almost a complete tunnel.  All this gives it an eerie feeling in the day time so you can imagine at night how dark it gets on the road.  when you first pull on the road there are a few houses but then the road goes from paved to gravel and no houses but trees, moss, rocks, and a pond.  Not a big pond maybe thirty feet across and seems fairly shallow, going by the look of it, but it is the base for the haunting of the road.  The story goes that there used to be a witch that lived close to the pond named Torbit during the early 1900’s.  When a child would stray to close to the area she would snatch them up, kill them, and drink their blood to keep her young and beautiful.  The town folk got fed up with it and went there to take care of business.  As the story goes they found the pond filled with blood and bodies of missing children and a cave with a fowl stench in which one man went in and came out screaming but never said what he saw in there.  When the mob went to the shack where Torbit lived they found a young beautiful woman standing on the porch and when they lit the place on fire she stood there laughing.  Now a days you can hear her still cackling, see orbs on the pond and the cave still reeks of the fowl odor.  I didn’t hear a cackle, see orbs, or smell the cave of course I didn’t get out to check either.  So that’s the story of the witch and that’s the only story you will find about it on the internet. What the internet doesn’t mention is the story of Charles and Elizabeth Anderson.  During Torbits rein a group of young teenagers, including young Charles and his younger sister Elizabeth, ventured up the mountain in search of this “so-called” witch and find her they did.   Charles was the only to return never speaking of what happen on the mountain. A year later he was drafted to go over seas for the First World War.  After the war Charles returned home to Gadsden unhappy to hear about Torbits continued rein so he vowed to kill the witch.  He went up the mountain and never returned.  Some time later the mob that set the shack ablaze was formed and sent up.  After setting the fire, the mob was heading down as the sun was setting and when the reached town they realized a young man was missing from the group.  Now dark, they refrained from going to look for him.  Hours later the young man came out with a ghostly look on his face, he struggled to tell a story of a ghostly man that led him down the mountain.  To this day the story goes that Charles Anderson still lives on the mountain fighting the witch and making sure that kids find their way home and don’t suffer the same fate as his sister Elizabeth.  Now, when the moon is just right beaming through the dense trees you can see him watching over any of those who are lost and helps them find their way home and occasionally you can hear him calling out in search for Elizabeth.
            It was a pretty awesome weekend and I can’t wait to head back down there.  No challenges this time just the stories of adventure.  So until next time, go on an adventure.

“The golden moments in the stream of life rush past us and we see nothing but sand; the angels come to visit us, and we only know them when they are gone.”
                                                                                                -George Elliot

Monday, May 21, 2012

                                                  'nough said

Monday, May 14, 2012

The owl and fox

            This past weekend I went on a walk with Penny the pup and as we were coming back we were trekking down a road that runs along the bottom of a ravine with woods on each side and a creek running along side.  As we came around a turn there was a man with binoculars staring into the trees, “just another bird watcher,” I thought to myself as we trotted past him seemingly unnoticed. A few hundred yards later as we are rounding another curve there was a red fox standing in the middle of the road. He was an adult fox, you could tell by his stature with a light reddish, tan coat, presumably his summer coat coming through because of the warm weather.  Just as Penny and I spotted him he found us and darted into the woods.  We walked slowly up to where he entered the woods and found him crouched by a tree about fifty yards up a slight hill, he seemed to be waiting on us, or at least Penny. As I watched him and did what anyone else would do, fumbled with my phone to attempt to get a picture, he just stood there like a statue never taking his eyes off us.  I finally decided to leave the fox alone and started back on our journey home.  I, for some reason, decided to look back and there he was again in the road, about hundred yards behind us and again, like a tourist, I froze and fumble to get my phone out. Of course instead doing what I should have done, which was pause and stay still, I slowly moved closer to him and, of course, he did what he knows is best and darted back into the woods.  Right about the time he reentered the woods, the bird watcher showed up.  I knew he would be intrigued by my finding so I proceeded to tell him the story and before I could finish he was spurting out about a family of owls that have been living in the area for a better part of forty years.  After he looked for the fox in the woods for a minute without success, he led me to the place of our first encounter where he pointed out a barred owl sitting on a branch looking at us.  He lent me his binoculars so I could get a better look, and he was a beautiful creature.  He was tall and plump, I assumed it was older and looked well fed.  The bird guy told me more about the owls and their habitat and that they have thrived on the small rodents and amphibians in and around the roadside creek.  He asked me a few questions about the fox, and we chatted about the areas wildlife for a quick minute before parting ways and Penny and I headed home. 
            I do quite a bit outdoors hiking, biking, kayaking, climbing, basically anything that will get me outside, so I do get to see wildlife but most of the time it’s the typical rabbits, squirrels, songbirds, etc. so when I get to come across animals that are not as commonly seen I take it as a sign, omen, happy coincidence, whatever you want to call it, and I think that something good will happen that day or the day in its entirety will be a good day, as it was on Saturday after seeing the fox and owl.  The weather was amazing, I spent time with the wife and pup, we sat on the porch and soaked up the sun, we rode our bikes, we ate a great dinner, it was all around a good day.  There have been a handful of encounters with a majestic creature such as the owl and fox.  For instance, a few weeks ago I went mountain biking and it rained the whole way there, which is not a good sign because the rain makes the trail extremely muddy and can’t be ridden. As I got there the rain had let up and a few feet from the trail entrance I saw a wild pheasant and turkey within feet of each other, again they aren’t entirely uncommon animals to see especially in a state park but I saw both at basically the same time.  That trail was ride able and the day ended up being a great day.    
            I know what your thinking, “PJ, it’s been a month since your last post and that’s all I get, some story about an owl and a fox?”  Well, yea it is.  However, I also had been thinking about my challenges recently and I have more than one this week.  First, write more, easy enough. Second, I have had challenges that benefit me but what about others. So, I am challenging myself this week to do something for someone else, donate clothes, food, some good advice, or whatever, as long as it is something to benefit someone else. And third, learn something new this week.  Ok so learning something new may be something I have done before but it’s been a little while. So until next time (I have to stop saying week in case I end up going another month), get off the road, and enjoy it.

“There is pleasure in the pathless woods, there is rapture on the lonely shore, there is society, where none intrudes, by the deep sea, and music in its roar; I love not man the less, but Nature more…”                                              -Lord Byron
                                                                                        Childe Harold