Monday, May 21, 2012

Roadschooling: Tellico Trout Hatchery

We visit the girl's Grandparents in TN every year.  Tennessee is a beautiful state with many things to do and see.  We have our favorites that must be done every time we visit, like swimming in the lake and fishing off the dock.  We also explore.  Our goal is to discover new places by traveling off main roads as much as possible.  We visit new towns and pop into local points of interest.  Today we headed to Cherokee National Forest.  

The beauty of this land is awe inspiring.  Every winding turn can bring a gasp of wonder from overhanging rock ledges, crystal clear pools of water, clouds that dip down to touch the tops of the mountain peaks and waterfalls plunging hundreds of feet down to glide over boulders and gather in pools of beauty.

Sixteen miles along a mountain road we found Tellico Trout Hatchery, where thousands of trout are raised and released into the Tellico River.  As any homeschool family would do, we ventured inside the ranger station to inquire about the operation, how the fish are obtained, what they are fed, when they are fed and how they are released back into the wild.  We learned that each concrete pool holds 5,000 fish and they are fed several times a day.  Upon maturity, they are released back into the river which is closed on Thursdays and Fridays to fishing to allow the fish time to adjust to their new environment and acclimate.  The “trophy” trout remain at the hatchery since they don’t do well in a natural environment.  Having become used to feedings, they tend to swim up to fishermen, quite pet-like, and tend not to seek out their own food.  Grace and Lilah had the opportunity to feed the trout.  Grace said it was a once in a lifetime moment that she will never forget.  Lilah thought the park ranger had a “cool job” and thinks she would like to be a ranger. 

I love moments like these.  They become part of our family history.  The winding mountain roads are something that long after we have returned home and no longer have the same scenery to gaze upon, will be remembered and talked about and shared through family stories. 

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