Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 28, 2011 - Grass Jelly and Bankhead National Forest: Kinlock, Pine Torch

Today starts with an introduction to yet another Asian drink with slippery jelly things in it. World, meet Grass Jelly Drink from Taisun, Judging by a quick video search, this stuff is commonly selected as "strange new thing to record a video of me drinking for the first time."

Grass jelly looks to be ubiquitous across Asia. It's just one of the many food products that are created from some process that results in something that you can watch both wiggle and jiggle. There's a picture on the can itself, but here's our sample poured into a glass.

Esther was the brave one for this round. The grass jelly itself doesn't have so much a distinct flavor as it does a texture. The liquid portion of the drink she described as "restaurant sweet tea." I think this will resonate more with folks from the Southeast US than other parts of the world. We tend to HEAVILY sweeten our iced tea (about 2 cups of sugar to a gallon is common and 3-4 is not unheard of). Restaurants will tend to mess this up by letting the tea sit too long with the bags still in it. The result is over-sweet, over strong tea the color of 4-month-old motor oil. Now take that and toss some mostly tasteless (but not completely unpleasant) cubes of Jell-O and you get sort of an idea of what's in in the can.

Esther, bless her heart, always smells first.
Point at the can. Good girl.
Maybe not something we'll snag at the market every trip, but not as strange and inexplicable as the Hawthorne Berry Drink I had the other day.

That out of the way, we traveled to the Bankhead National Forest in search of pictures, adventure and geocaches.

First stop, Kinlock Shelter, a rock overhang used by the local Native American tribes for thousands of years.

Petroglyphs or graffiti?
I didn't find the geocache that is hidden near the shelter, but I did locate one at the nearby Kinlock Falls. This is a great example of why decommissioned ammo cans are one of the most popular containers of choice for caching. The cache is sitting in the water, but every thing is nice and dry inside thanks to the rubber seal and tight-fitting closure system. These things are designed to keep ammunition functional in all manner of harsh conditions so keeping a log book and some swag safe is an easy task.

Ammo can, I love you, never change.

Kinlock Falls.
I have no idea who these people are.
We hopped back in the van to head to another historical location in Bankhead and then... this happened:

Ladies and gentlemen, the future of our planet.

...but somehow we pressed on and arrived at Pine Torch Church, the oldest standing structure in Bankhead Forest.

More pictures from our trip can be found here.

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