Day of Service

Yesterday, C117 participated in the Messengers of Peace Day of Service. The troop had to rise at 5:00AM, cook breakfast, and hike to the loading point. We hopped a bus and drove 2++ hours to Welch, WV. We met the mayor of Welch before we moved over to their site.

Our service project was to clean up a family cemetery and sand and paint all of the ironwork. We ended up being about an hour late due to an more scenic route than originally anticipated so we had a lot less time than originally scheduled.

Despite the shortened work period, a large quantity of poison ivy, and a physically demanding project, we managed to complete the task with time to spare. NOTE: we took special precautions to avoid the poison ivy and Mr.Warriner has set up a special clothes washing station to make sure exposure is minimized.

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Chickamauga National Military Park

We all study the Civil War in school. However, nothing makes it more real than visiting a battlefield. At Chickamauga, we watched a brief documentary about the battles for Chattanooga, with Chickamauga being the deadliest (and the second most deadly of the war).

After the documentary, we went out back and was met by park ranger Chris, who was dressed as a confederate soldier. He gave a fantastic history lesson.

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I was both moved and impressed by the sincere reverence and respect displayed by our entire troop. Everyone listened intently and asked great questions. It was a very sobering experience.

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Below is a picture of some of the artillery on display as well as the view of part of the battlefield.

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Tennessee Aquarium

It’s hard to believe that we had so many activities packed into a single day. The Tennessee Aquarium made the day that much better. We were greeted by Loribeth and her crew who treated us to an informative behind-the-scenes tour of the aquarium. In the picture below, one group gets a top view of the largest salt water tank, with over 600,000 gallons of salt water.

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There, of course were lots of fish and other aquatic life. We also got to play with the butterflies.

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One of the groups also managed to squeeze all 21 members into a shark cage. They would have made quite a feast for some shark.

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We stayed overnight at the aquarium and got a chance to catch up on some sleep. In the morning, we played with the otters before we headed out.

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Before we left in the morning, we got some pictures in front of the aquarium with our hospitable hosts. Thanks Tennessee Aquarium!

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Incline Railroad

Ruby Falls was a pretty awesome visit. The next stop was the Incline Railway. We went from being 1100 feet under the mountain to being on top of the mountain. The ride is a mile, most of which is at a very steep incline. The view was great and the ride was relaxing.

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The picture below shows the train path up the mountainside.

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Fletcher and Caleb use the view as an opportunity to make a video. Wonder what they are up to?

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Ruby Falls

The next stop for the day was Ruby Falls at Lookout Mountain. This was a cave tour that culminated in an amazing waterfall at the end if the tour (really the half way point). The water fall is 145 ft water fall located over 1100 feet below the surface of the mountain. You can learn more about it by visiting rubyfalls.com.

It is difficult to get good pictures in the dark caverns, but a couple of decent pics are available.

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Rock City

After visiting the RR museum, we headed over to Rock City where we started our visit with lunch at the pavilion. After lunch, Rock City was open for exploration.

I apparently have been living in a cave because I’ve never heard of Rock City, but I must say it is quite a gem! There’s a great 7 state horizon view, a magnificent waterfall, suspension bridges, caves (including the fat man’s squeeze), wildlife, artwork and more. I captured a few photos but unfortunately the pictures don’t capture the experience well at all.

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Tennessee Valley RR Museum

After traveling all night and sleeping on the bus, the crew arrived at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum around 8:30am eastern time. We set up shop and ate breakfast in the parking lot.

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After breakfast, the boys were able to hang around the living museum and hop on some of the cars. Below are some pics of the boys milling about the RR cars.

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