ivman's blague rotating header image loading ... please wait....

Seeing The Forest for More than the Trees

picture of autumn beauty

There are not many things I enjoy more than being in the woods of Western North Carolina in the fall. Becka and I go up there several times each fall, just for the day. If you're a long time iv reader, you know that I try to go camping up in that area one weekend each fall with my son Mark and with my friend Phil and his sons. This year our various schedules just don't mesh. Read about last year's adventure in my post called Camping Tips. This year instead of going camping, Mark and I will be going to a men's retreat at the Wilds this weekend. I'll tell more about it at the end of this post.

As I look forward to this weekend, I decided to post some humor from our nation's Forest Service personnel and rangers. What follows is comments and questions from visitors.

Forest Service Complaints
This list circulated for a while among Forest Service employees. These are supposedly actual comments on Forest Service registration sheets and comment cards by backpackers completing wilderness camping trips:

"A small deer came into my camp and stole my bag of pickles. Is there a way I can get reimbursed? Please call."

"Escalators would help on steep, uphill sections."

"Instead of a permit system or regulations, the Forest Service needs to reduce worldwide population growth to limit the number of visitors to wilderness."

"Trails need to be wider so people can walk while holding hands."

"Ban walking sticks in wilderness. Hikers that use walking sticks are more likely to chase animals."

"All the mile markers are missing this year."

"Found a smoldering cigarette left by a horse."

"Trails need to be reconstructed. Please avoid building trails that go uphill."

"Too many bugs and leeches and spiders and spider webs. Please spray the wilderness to rid the area of these pests."

"Please pave the trails so they can be plowed of snow in the winter."

"Chair lifts need to be in some places so that we can get to wonderful views without having to hike to them."

"The coyotes made too much noise last night and kept me awake. Please eradicate these annoying animals."

"Reflectors need to be placed on trees every 50 feet so people can hike at night with flashlights."

"Need more signs to keep area pristine."

"A McDonald's would be nice at the trailhead."

"The places where trails do not exist are not well marked."

"Too many rocks in the mountains."


These are questions that people actually asked of park rangers around the country. Some of the questions are as breathtaking as the landscapes that inspired them. (excerpted from Outside Magazine)

Grand Canyon National Park
Was this man made?
Do you light it up at night?
I bought tickets for the elevator to the bottom — where is it?
Is the mule train air conditioned?
So where are the faces of the presidents?

Everglades National Park
Are the alligators real?
Are the baby alligators for sale?
Where are all the rides?
What time does the two o'clock bus leave?

Mesa Verde National Park
Did people build this, or did Indians?
Why did they build the ruins so close to the road?
Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?
What did they worship in the kivas — their own made-up religion?
Why did the Indians decide to live in Colorado?

Carlsbad Caverns National Park
How much of the cave is underground?
So what's in the unexplored part of the cave?
Does it ever rain in here?
How many ping pong balls would it take to fill this up?
So what is this — just a hole in the ground?

Yosemite National Park
Where are the cages for the animals?
What time do you turn on Yosemite Falls?
What happened to the other half of Half Dome?
Can I get my picture taken with the carving of President Clinton?

Denali National Park
What time do you feed the bears?
What's so wonderful about Wonder Lake?
Can you show me where the yeti lives?
How often do you mow the tundra?
How much does Mount McKinley weigh?

Yellowstone National Park
Does Old Faithful erupt at night?
How do you turn it on?
When does the guy who turns it on get to sleep?
We had no trouble finding the park entrances, but where are the exits?


As I promised, here are a few details about this weekend. Many of the men from our church, Hampton Park Baptist Church, will be going to the Wilds for a men's retreat that happens for us every three years. The speaker is Dr. Dick Stratton, president of Clearwater Christian College. He'll also be speaking at our church this Sunday morning, if any of you locals would like to come hear him there. He was a very active member of our church before the Lord called him to Clearwater. It will be great to see him again and to hear the messages the Lord has laid on his heart for us.

I'm looking forward to the retreat for the spiritual refreshment, the fellowship, and some of the great outdoor activities available at the Wilds. We're hoping that the heavy rains that have hit that part of North Carolina will not keep us men from doing some of those fun activities. For sure I hope the rain will hold off long enough Saturday afternoon to allow those of us who want to (and that includes me!) to go for a ride on the 65-foot (20-meter) "Giant Swing."

I found two videos of the Giant Swing on YouTube — one from ground, watching a pair of people swing, and the other from the swing itself. You can watch the videos on my blog or on YouTube itself, whichever works best for you.

The Giant Swing from the ground:

The Giant Swing from the swing itself:

I'll let you know in my next blog post if Mark and I got to do the Giant Swing. It will be a wonderful weekend either way.

Do you love being outdoors in the autumn? If so, what do you like best?


"It's much more difficult to be irritated with people you're praying for." Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

A flashlight is a case for holding dead batteries.

Print This Post Print This Post

If you enjoyed this post, to get updates when I post to my blog, sign up for your preferred method below — RSS, Twitter, or e-mail.

11 Comments on “Seeing The Forest for More than the Trees”

  1. #1 Brian
    on Sep 24th, 2009 at 9:29 am

    Uh oh! Does that mean I might run into you when I go on the Mount Calvary men’s retreat at the WILDS this weekend ?

    I like how they remodelled the area around the swing. The mini golf wasn’t there the last time I was at the WILDS.

  2. #2 Michael
    on Sep 24th, 2009 at 9:41 am

    I’m excited you and Mark get to go to the Wilds. I’ve done the Giant Swing once and don’t care to do so again. More power to you.

    Fall is my favorite time of year. The weather is cool and crisp. I can break out sweaters that I enjoy wearing. I do enjoy going on hikes but my wife and I have not yet done that in our married life. I enjoy doing yardwork in the fall and going to sporting events. Fall is lots of fun.

    As for the funny comments in your post, what a commentary many of them are on human nature. We want the glorious views and experiences in life without having to put forth any effort to get there. When, in reality, the struggle of the climb makes the view at the top all the more satisfying.

  3. #3 b.j.
    on Sep 24th, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Pretty sure you don’t have enough money to get me on that thing. Nope.

  4. #4 Julie Rich
    on Sep 24th, 2009 at 11:11 am

    This post brought back a memory of something that one of my younger cousins said years ago. She was only about 8 and grew up in a suburb of Chicago, so rural life was foreign to her. She was with our grandparents, traveling to their home in southern, RURAL, Missouri. As they got closer to where our grandparents lived (EXTREMELY rural), my cousin looked out the window and exclaimed, “Wow…you sure have a lot of nature around here!” (Our grandparents lived on 40 acres of woods, with only 2 acres cleared for the house, a small barn, and their yard.)

  5. #5 Cindy
    on Sep 24th, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    What I like most about autumn is the smells … fires in the fireplace, crisp cool morning air. Just a wonderful relaxing time of year to be able to see the glorious sights the majestic colors and have that mix with the smells … no better time of year. We have such an awesome God.

  6. #6 Laura
    on Sep 24th, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    If you happen to cross paths with the MCBC group this weekend, keep an eye out for the guys in our family. The boys were so excited to hear they might see you there. You’ll be surprised to see how much they’ve grown!

    Have fun. I probably wouldn’t enjoy that swing, so you can have my share of the enjoyment with your own!

  7. #7 Elizabeth
    on Sep 25th, 2009 at 5:45 am

    This post made me think of a funny story that I needed to share with you. It came to mind reading those questions people have asked at important landmarks. For Valentine’s day my husband and I went to a special event at the Georgia Aquarium. Part of the event included behind the scene tours in groups of about a dozen people. Well, in our group we had the token “question asker” who has to ask a question at every display regardless of whether or not the question makes sense or is relevant. One of the last things we saw was a display of poison dart frogs. The tour guide explained that poison dart frogs get their venom from the fire ants they eat and that these captive bred poison dart frogs never ate fire ants. As he moved away, the question asker stopped him and said, “Do all venomous animals get their venom from what they eat?” Matt and I were laughing so hard we had to stay back from the group to recover. Matt leaned over and said, “Yeah, because you know those poison mice that copperheads eat.”

    Hope you are doing well! Thanks for making me laugh.

  8. #8 Rob
    on Sep 25th, 2009 at 6:10 am

    @Brian and Laura I hope I see you this weekend, Brian, and the guys from your family, Laura. And I hope we won’t be dodging raindrops.

    @Michael You and Sweet Abigail need to go do some hiking! I can tell you several nice, non-strenuous hiking trails up in the Pisgah National Forest — no need for an escalator, and still something pretty to look at along the way and at the end.

    @b.j. You might like it, if you try it. If nothing else, it’s fun to watch the people on the swing and hear the moans, groans, and screams.

    @Julie I’m glad your citified cousin got to see all that nature in rural America once in a while at least. 🙂

    @Cindy Amen to everything you said!

    @Elizabeth Thanks for making me laugh! 😀

  9. #9 Ruth
    on Sep 25th, 2009 at 11:17 am

    Maybe you can get someone to take pics/video of you on the Giant Swing. We would all love to see that. 🙂

  10. #10 Janel
    on Sep 28th, 2009 at 8:45 am

    I loved these! As I age, I find it’s harder to shock me but the stuff that comes out of people’s mouths before they put any thought into their words makes me shake my head with wonder.

  11. #11 Rob
    on Sep 28th, 2009 at 8:23 pm

    @Ruth I’m sure you’ve discovered by now the pictures of my adventure in the latest blog post.

    @Janel Yes, if all else fails, think before you speak, huh?! 😀