Monday, June 1, 2009

Camping with Bears - Post One

Five days and four nights spent camping in North Georgia is a lot to post in one blog post. So I'm going to split it in three parts. First part will be the hiking to see the nature spots. The lots and lots of hiking we crammed into two days. Second will be the ultra cute things the girls did and experienced. Third part is going to be a surprise and I'll let it be the cliched save the best for last.

We took the Bears to North Georgia and there is so many natural areas to see that it was rather hard to narrow down the sites we wanted to visit. We started with Tallulah Falls and Tallulah Gorge. This is a granite walled gorge that has a combination of five waterfalls through a 1,000 foot chasm. Lucky for us the rains had been heavy for a few weeks so the falls were spectacular. They have a path that is 1 mile total that we took the girls in their B.O.B. walking stroller. Now at one of the viewing points it offered a closer look at the falls by going down what they call the "Hurricane Falls staircase" which is 310 wire steps down to an 80 foot swaying suspension bridge and of course 310 steps back up. Hubby offers to take the girls on to the other areas while I went down to take a few photos. This walk is posted in several areas as very strenuous. Posting that I failed to read. Note to self, if someone took the time to make a sign I should take the time to read it. I must make note of the tremendous sound that surrounded me while down on the bridge. A thundering roar that vibrated my body and made the experience viseral as well as visual. It was beautiful but I was pouring sweat by the time I hoofed it back up the stairs. It did not help that while continuing the wooded trail I couldn't find Hubby and Bears nor reach them by phone/radio which just made me go faster. By the time I had made it to the end and almost back we got a hold of each other and they were around the corner at the car. I was drenched and out of breath as I found them sipping water and eating lunch. Next time Hubby can take the stairs.
Our next waterfall was Toccoa Falls located at Toccoa Falls College. It's only a 150-yard path to the 186-foot high Toccoa Falls. We decided to let the Bears stretch their legs and walk it. I've never been so close to such a massive waterfall. A few large rocks separated us from a torrent of water flowing into a hazy amber pool. I climbed some of the rocks to get closer while the girls played safely in a rocked playpen. The cool spray coming off the water was refreshing while the sound emphasized the power coming down the cliff facing. Not as enveloping as Tallulah Falls but just as poetic in it's utterance.Our last waterfall was Anna Ruby Falls. This is a merging of twin falls with Curtis creek dropping in at 153 feet and York Creek is 50 feet to form the double falls. This hike was moderate for most but pushing two bears up was calf burning fun. Out of all the falls this was my favorite. It was beautiful and tantalizing for as you are approaching the falls the sound builds with the crescendo of the combined falls. We didn't see a lot of animals during our camping adventure but on this trail we saw a chipmunk and two beavers, a parent and child, run across the path. It was really cute but I doubt the girls saw them as anything but cats with no tails.
On the next day with the waterfalls appreciated we wanted to visit the highest place in Georgia, the top of Brasstown Bald 4,784 feet above sea level. The Brasstown Bald Trail is 1.2 miles total and is extremely hard. Just as an example it climbs 500 feet in half a mile. The trail is well maintained which made the struggle with pushing the girls a little easier. They have a tower at the top offering magnificent views. We went on a virtually cloudless day and seeing up to the horizon was incredible. From the tower's vantage point you can see the neighboring states North Carolina and South Carolina as well as Atlanta. This was certainly more of treat for Hubby and I but the girls did roam around and play in the tower's historical center.

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