By Clint Confehr
Senior Staff Writer
CHAPEL HILL - Henry Horton State Park's become the crossroads for good citizenship, personal fitness and spiritual awareness, all as reflected in comments from folks at the park last week.
"Some folks think it's a time of change with a lot of spirit," Gayle Williams of Nashville said calmly while seated in the front seat of her family pickup truck that towed a big camper trailer to the park for a weekend get-away.
She and husband Bobby were going to the SpiritFest, timed for Friday since the date was Nov. 11, 2011. That date, 11-11-11, has fascinated more than numerologists. Non-denominational prayer was planned at the state park as participants sought inner and world peace, Gayle Williams said.
She and others at the festival were apparently praying on Veterans Day "for peace to help the world; with all the stuff that's going on - earthquakes, war and financial upheaval," she said. "11-11-11 represents a time of change and it's used to focus for good," she said. "Some see it as angel numbers."
About 50 people were expected, according to a park lodge employee.
Meanwhile, Park Manager Randy Whitworth has issued a fitness challenge, suggesting that area residents walk, jog or run 50 miles before Jan. 1.
The challenge was issued several days ago so that the 50 miles could be accomplished in 50 days.
"We're not holding them true to one mile a day," Whitworth said. "And, we're encouraging people to try the trails at the park.
A package is available at the park's office for those who accept the challenge. They'll be provided with information on trail lengths, a map and a chart to record progress toward completing the goal. Free T-shirts are available to the first 100 people who accept the challenge.
The challenge comes as the holidays approach, complete with all the extra snacks, special dinners, and tempting treats, Whitworth noted.
And in conjunction with park personnel encouraging residents to enjoy nature, Faye Street, one of the park ladies at the lodge, has provided latex gloves for Girl Scouts.
Daisy Troop No. 1152 - the Girl Scouts who meet at the Cumberland Presbyterian Church near Forrest high School - took to the trails last week to collect litter, Street and troop leader Cheryl Bartusch said.
The girls are working on their "Between Earth and Sky" badge, Bartusch said.
They've also been to the Adventure Science Museum in Nashville, Bartusch said, explaining proceeds from cookie sales paid their entry fee.
In the coming weeks, the park will see other events, including:
* A big Christmas party for National Guard troops from Marshall, Maury, Bedford, Giles and Moore counties. It's on Dec. 4.
* Christmas with Mrs. Claus is set for Dec. 10 when hot cocoa and cookies will be served to good little boys and girls.