It's Brady!

Monday, March 27, 2006

Studio Backdrop (Updated)

A cold breeze met us with absolute contempt. "Are you really dumb enough to go hiking today?" it smacked at our ears. "Why yes I am!" came the dumb reply from my mind. Since when has freezing temps kept us at home?
Liberty and Pickens breezed by us and Pumpkintown nearly missed us as we sped by. Caesar kept watch over the foothills and Piedmont, but we continued on to the trailhead for Raven Cliff.
By eleven we were leaving any trace of civilization behind. The trail began to undulate with the ridges and forty pounds in my pack seemed like a hundred. Soon, though, my tight muscles would relax and we maintained a quick pace. At the highest elevations, we looked out over the mountainous terrain which sprawled out beside us. The hillside below descended quickly and disappeared before touching bottom. The lowest elevations were hidden from our sight. The world was unreal for a time. It was as though we were in the world's largest movie lot. The terrain derectly beside us was real, but beyond that sharp edge lay the most beautiful studio backdrop I've ever seen. Mountains in their deep green met the sky with it's sharp blue. The Artist's work was incredible. No human touch could be seen; it was all God's awesome Creation.
The trail began to descend slightly and soon we were on nearly flat ground. The winding dirt path became rocky and fell into what looked like an old streambed. We walked under the face of the earth for a while until the trail rose out of the deep rut. The way was still very rocky; our road looking like something from a Robert Frost poem.

Soon, our path led us down to a river which we followed for a short while until we reached a bridge. The bridge was like none I've ever seen before. It was a wooden cable-supported suspension bridge. The cables were cemented into the rock on each side of the span. The bridge swayed with our steps but made not one sound in its moving.

(Sorry about the pic quality on this one, it is a screen capture from a video)
It wasn't long before we had to make our way down to the rocks. The navigation of the "trail" down to the falls was tricky to say the least. We finally made it down and began the tedious crossing of the slick rocks. We realized that this 420 foot waterfall was not one continuous drop, but a series of steps that culminated in one large plummet of well over a hundred feet.

As the egde came nearer, we slowed our pace. The world fell away to the depths, and our view became trees across the deep valley. Minutes passed as we built the courage to approach the edge. Thoughts of my fall earlier in the year crossed my mind and I hesitated to go any closer. I had to do it though; for me...and to get some cool photos. I hovered at the edge, teetering forward to get the entire shot down the falls. I couldn't take it for long and had to step back. It was Jarred's turn. I could hardly watch. I was able to walk to the edge, but I certainly couldn't watch anyone else do it. Thoughts of a splatter stain on the rocks below ran through my head as Jarred peered over the precipice.

We headed back to the trail and started the difficult climb back up to the bridge. I shot a quick video from the middle of the bridge (from which the photo of the bridge in this blog entry came from) and we were off. The four-mile hike back was a time of reflection, but our day was not over yet.

A quick stop at Caesar's Head gave Jarred the chance to climb in the Devil's Kitchen.

The view from Caesar's Head is a panorama of many of South Carolina's natural treasures. Table Rock and Pinnalce Mountain stand in sharp contrast to the Piedmont in the south. Just to the north (right) of Table Rock is Jones Gap, a deep and craggy valley that looks nearly impassable. Just below the observation deck and through Devil's Kitchen is a profile view of Caesar's Head.

We headed back to the car after a few minutes and started back toward Central. On the way down the snaking mountain highway, I put the car in neutral and coasted for several miles. Pumpkintown, Pickens and Liberty passed us again, waiving their backcountry hands and yellin' "Ya'll come back now!" I'm sure we'll be back again soon.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Ode to a Precarious Blossom

Miles behind us life's cares sat
Mouldering in the mundane world;
God's hand before us unfurled

What manner of beauty is inherent
In rocks strewn about a hill?
My quickened spirit cannot be still!

What beauty this is, my God!
This beauty I did soon realize
Is filtered through my poor eyes;

I surely cannot fully grasp
The incredible force of nature
With such simple nomenclature: is you whispering to me;
Asking, begging me to peer through
Granite faces to see you.

God help me to see!

Heights continue upward;
Our journey is nearing its end.
What lies around the next bend?

That sound is so familiar now;
We anticipate what we know nears -
Water's sweet voice touches our ears.

A railless bridge meets our view;
The peaceful stream runs below;
No troubled waters here do flow.

Above the walk ours eyes met;
Mill Creek splashed it playful "Hi"
As it dropped its water from the sky.

As we walked away I heard once more
The sound of water moving fast;
And heard His whispering voice at last.

God, help me to hear!

Thick trees cleared wide open;
The trail spilled out of dead wood
And onto clean, gray rock we stood.

It seemed as though the whole
Of Carolina lay before us.
No wind or water played a chorus;

Sound, thought and time stopped
As we gazed upon these expanding sights
That only come with awesome heights.

What is it that grabs my attention?
Over the edge and into blue
A blossoming tree demands our view.

A backdrop of thousands of trees
Standing dead from winter's cold,
Reaching tall and growing old.

Hanging over open space;
Keeping watch o'er the distant land;
Reaching out like a father's hand

To cover over the farthest points
With a calming stroke as wind then passed;
Our small throng poised en masse

Awestruck by tiny petals;
Pink clusters floating nearly free
Clinging to bare branches of the tree.

Snapshots of a blossom
Filled my camera and danced in my mind;
To all other things we were briefly blind.

At last I heard that voice again
Through the wind which barely wailed
The words of God were then exhaled,

"I'll help you to see me by my Creation,
I'll help you to hear me by mind's revelation,
But I'll help you to know me through no special powers
Just look on a mountain for a tree with pink flowers.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Plural of Praying Mantis

The word mantis derives from the Greek word for prophet; the plural is therefore mantes, with mantises also acceptable.
Quoted from Praying Mantis Wiki
I witnessed the birth (if that's the right terminology) of some of the meditating mantids this past Saturday.

Friday, March 10, 2006

A Slight Mis-steak

Earlier in the week, Bruce and I decided we wanted to grill out steaks. Thursday night was our agreed evening. Wednesday afternoon after I got off of work, we headed over to Wally World and bought up all the stuff: steaks, marinade, fries, cooking utensils, and a grill. Grand total for the evening: somewhere around $80...ouch.

3.6 lbs of beef! *Droooool...*

We put the steaks in the fridge to marinate overnight and went to bed in sweet anticipation for next evening's meal. Thursday afternoon after work, I headed over and we started cooking. We very quickly encountered a problem. I closed the lid on the charcoal too soon and all the vents were closed. No more flame. I made a fast dash to the convenience store to get more charcoal and we were soon back on track. The steaks ended up being cooked to perfection.

They were quite tasty in their New York style marinade and were well-complemented with Mac'n'cheese and fries (both prepared by the wonderful Jen). Roscoe, Jen, Bruce and I shared a good home-cooked and home-grilled meal. Good food and good friends = a good time.

Steak - The Manly Man's Meal of Choice!

A Game "Akin" to Glory

Jason Williams and I attended a Clemson b-ball game last week. This was my first experience of NCAA DI basketball action. Tigers versus GA Tech.
Akin Akingbala rose to the occasion more than once.

The Littlejohn Coliseum is proud to bring your MONSTER JAM!!! (Look at the people's faces in the

It was a close game for the first half, but the tigers pulled away at the end to win...

At one point the cameraman aimed the camera up towards Jason and I. I told Jason to wave at the camera and not the big screen in the middle, so he looked up to the network cameras and waved like an absolute idiot. One problem though, I was waving like an idiot towards the correct camera. Up on the big screen is me looking at the crowd waving my big orange paw at everyone, and Jason turned completely sideways waving at a different camera. Needless to say, it looked like I brought a complete fool to the game with me...jk...I love ya, man.