Monday, July 30, 2007

New Orleans

We had an interesting and different adventure last week. Nancy and I went to New Orleans with Nancy's sister Jane and her church group from Johnstown Pennsylvania. This was the church's yearly mission trip. Jane goes nearly every year. The group goes to various places such as inter-city Chicago, Philadelphia, or a Cherokee Indian reservation in North Carolina.

Last year and this year they went to New Orleans to do construction (or demolition) work for the people affected by hurricane Katrina.

The house in the picture above is one of the better ones the group worked on. It just needed scraping and cleaning the inside. Other houses needed to be completely gutted down to the studding and the entire contents hauled away.

Our group consisted of 7 adults and 28 kids from 8th grade through seniors in college. The kids were all good kids, however kids will be kids and the 7 adults were kept busy keeping everyone working hard and having fun. The fact that New Orleans has the highest murder rate of any city in the country caused us to extra cautious.

We never got to see Bourbon Street or the French Quarter but we did see several different sections of the city. Some areas are beautiful with very large beautifully landscaped houses and were completely unaffected by the flooding and damage. Other areas have nice looking streets with good looking houses , but uninhabited, boarded up, and overgrown houses are next door or a block away.

Stacks of debris like that in this picture are sitting along the streets in many neighborhoods.

While we were there the newspaper had just listed about 1500 addresses that were going to be demolished within 30 days because the previous occupants had not returned or made any effort to repair the house for 2 years since Katrina.

We met the 3 van caravan in Chattanooga and they dropped us off there on the way back. It was a 2 day trip each way for the Johnstown people and a long day each way for us. Trust me, 15 people plus luggage in a 15 person van is tight for 10 hours at a time.

We all survived and felt good about what we were able to accomplish in New Orleans, but getting home never felt better.

Friday, July 06, 2007

50 Miler patch

Here it is! My 50 miler award for hiking at least 50 miles on separate segments of the Cumberland Trail through Tennessee.

Gary Ruetenik and I were trying to be the 1st and 2nd people to achieve this patch but someone from Memphis beat us by 2 days, so we were the 2nd and 3rd.

We hiked 12.2 miles last Tuesday for Gary to go over the 50 mile mark. I was 1.3 miles short so I did another section of the trail on Wednesday by myself to get to the goal.

We have recommended to the Cumberland Trail Conference folks to establish a 100 mile award so we can shoot for that next.

Happy hiking!