Earthcaches

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Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Lake Junaluska, Susanna Wesley and some geocaching

sumajhuarmi at Lake Junaluska, NC
It was great to have some time off to travel into the North Carolina mountains again. We had planned to come up to the Ridgecrest Conference Center just east of Black Mountain, NC back in October. A medical setback prevented that. So here we are in the rainy spring time. We set out from our home in High Point, NC about 7:30 a.m. We picked up a cache every hour so I could stretch my legs. Doctor's orders and all that. About half way through the trip the weather went from overcast to rainy so we changed up our plans a little. Instead of climbing at Ridgecrest, we decided to travel on to Cherokee, NC. On the way we planned a stop at Lake Junaluska.

We approached Lake Junaluska from the north. I'd never been there but remembered hearing about the United Methodist Conference center that was located there. Every time I traveled from NC to Tennessee I'd see the sign for Junaluka but had never visited. This time I had several things I wanted to see. I also had a few caches in the area I wanted to find. We pulled into the large conference center overlooking the lake and took a few pictures from the high overlook. From there my GPSr indicated that the first cache was along a walking/running trail that circles the lake. It was about 300 feet below us. We decided to drive down to a parking lot close by the cache. From there we walked to the GZ and began the search. As happens sometimes I looked at a likely location but didn't go over to investigate it like I should have. After searching in all the other places I finally went back and found it in the first place I'd looked. When will I ever learn to go with those first hunches? Along with sumajhuarmi I logged the find.

Chief Junaluska statue
We headed back to the car for a short hop over to the statue of Chief Junaluska. I recently discovered a website that tells about some interesting roadside sites worth seeing, the majority not being on the tourist lists. Check out Roadside America for some neat things to see when you next travel in the US or Canada. One of the recommended places to visit was the status of Chief Junaluska. It stands near a beautiful chapel near the lake of the same name. The story goes that Chief Junaluska of the Cherokee fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of Horse Bend. He was among the "friendly Indians" that assisted Jackson in his fight against the Redstick segment of the Creek Indians in Alabama. It was recorded that Andrew Jackson expressed his gratitude and promised that Junaluska's people would always have their land. As the story goes Junaluska was among the Cherokee rounded up and forced onto the Trail of Tears march from east Tennessee to east Oklahoma in 1838. Chief Junaluska lamented having saved Jackson's life after the poor treatment his people received. Later in life Junaluska escaped Oklahoma and returned to his homeland in the mountains of NC. This lake, a mountain and the conference center are named in his honor.

Just a little further down the road we came to the Susanna Wesley prayer garden. It is nicely landscaped on the side of a hill running down towards the lake. There is a bust of Susanna Wesley, the famous mother of Evangelists John and Charles Wesley. John Wesley is perhaps most famous for being the founder of Methodism. Even more importantly was his emphasis of personal and small group discipleship methods. The story goes that Susanna had nineteen children. In order to give priority to her relationship with God she would take time sometime during the day to pray. The sign that her children should leave her alone for this purpose was when they saw that she had pulled her apron up over her head.

Susanna Wesley statue and prayer garden
Susanna also prioritized time for each of her children. She wrote, "... I cannot but look upon every soul you leave under my charge as a talent committed to me under a trust.... I resolved to begin with my own children, in which I observe the following method. I take such a proportion of time as I can spare every night to discourse with each child apart. On Monday I talk with Molly, on Tuesday with Hetty,...." (and so on). Susanna Wesley's example should encourage us all to seek God and to help our children grow in the knowledge of the Lord as well.

We parked the car in the parking lot to the World Methodist Museum. The Susanna Wesley Prayer Garden is just to the north of the museum. One of the first things you see is her bust. Not far away from there is a nano cache in her honor. It is well-hidden. Persistence helps. Don't give up! Go find Susanna Wesley Garden (GC325GX).

The lake was beautiful and the caching was fun. After about an hour around the lake we headed further southwest to visit Cherokee. That visit will be the subject of a future blog.
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