This past weekend we tackled what I would call the "Jeff Special" hike on Saturday. A combination of 3 different trails and a lot of small - but multiple - elevation changes made for a pretty strenuous hike.
We started on the Gold Mine trail and literally had to dodge blooming wild magnolias - they were like 'weeds' along this beautiful creek we followed. In fact, not only did we follow the creek, we had to walk IN the creek for a bit to catch up with the trail again.
Then we hopped on the Gahuti backcountry trail - and it was. Sometimes narrow, sometimes VERY rocky, always shaded with lots of trees...I can't imagine doing the full 8 miles on it.
Finally we got on a loop that took us down to the most magnificent waterfall. It was just breathtaking (also a cause of breath-taking: hiking) and we were so close you could dip your feet in the small pools.
Too bad there are no photos - I think we have to invest in a pocket camera!
After hiking, we did our obligatory swim in the lake - both really fun and relaxing, cooling, and keeping the swelling down are all benefits to the afternoon swim.
As we were bobbing around, we saw some menacing clouds in the distance. No sooner had we decided to get out, than the sky opened up with thunder, lighning, and driving rain. We took refuge in the building with the concession stand and ate the best hot dogs we'd ever had (we were wet, cold, tired, and hungry - so that may have had something to do with it too).
We drove back up to our campsite and hoped our tent had kept our things dry. It had - hurrah! Since we didn't put our chairs away and the wind had blown rain sideways, the only place to hang out while things dried out was on our air mattresses. We thought dinner might be Oreos and dried apricots if things didn't dry out - but luckily they did and we could still cook dinner.
Here's a sample of our campsite at Fort Mountain State Park. No worse for the wear after the rain!
On Sunday, we went up to the West Overlook to see 4 states. On the way down, we saw the Great Wall of Georgia. It's extremely mysterious - no one has been able to identify who built it or why, but these giant boulders fortify the top of the mountina in mounds from 2 to 5 feet. I imagine at one time it did make the top of the mountain quite secure.
While walking around this area, we found our first GeoCache!!! It was off the main trail just a little bit, but as a well-established GeoCache already had a foot path going to it so was a bit easier to navigate. Jeff climbed right over it, but in the end, I was the one who spotted it! We logged our visit in the logbook and took a Travel Bug with us - we are going to drop it off in a few weeks at the Spearfish Canyon falls GeoCache. COOL!
After packing up, on way back through Northwest Georgia, we stopped at a roadside produce stand for fresh peaches, vidalia onions, and sweet corn - yum!