We arrived in Georgia on 9/24/13. Our first day here it rained all day. After the first day, the weather has been absolutely beautiful. This area is beautiful with lots of hills, green trees and some early sprinkles of fall colors beginning to show. There are so many waterfalls in the area. We hiked up to several of them and they did not disappoint with their beauty.
The first waterfall we hiked to here was Anna Ruby Falls which is located next to Unicoi State Park in the Chattahoochee National Forest. Anna Ruby is actually twin waterfalls located where the York Creek and Curtis Creek meet at the base of the falls, forming Smith Creek. York Creek drops 50 ft. and Curtis Creek drops 153 ft. The falls are named after the only daughter (Anna Ruby Nichols) of John Nichols, a wealthy resident that owned most of the land around the falls in the late 1800's. Not only are the falls beautiful, but the trail to the falls are as well.
Next we were off to the local Alpine Village, Helen. Helen is located along the Chattahoochee River. Formerly a logger town in decline, the city decided to rebrand themselves as a Bavarian Alpine town, only located in the Appalachians instead of the Alps. Most of the town is gift shops with European wears and restaurants. While here we visited Charlemagne's Kingdom.
Charlemagne's Kingdom was constructed by Willi Lindhorst, who came to the US from Oldenburg, Germany in 1963. The display is a miniature Germany, in HO scale, representing Germany with accurate landscaped topography (including the Matterhorn, rising 22 ft.), from the North Sea to the Alps. The display area covers 20 ft. X 50 Ft. with both floor level and overhead viewing areas. The attention to details was impressive. Not only do the trains move, but so do many other areas of the display. Naming just a few of these moving items, windmills turn, industrial area cranes move, the cars travel along the autobahn, the ski lifts are in operation, the swimmers in the pool swim, the bungee jumper is jumping up and down, and the balloons are drifting overhead.
From Charlemagne's we planned to head up to Brasstown Bald. This got delayed for another day, however, because as we were headed there, we ended up picking up some scraped up road cyclers that were unable to stop their cycles riding down the 15 % Hog Pen Gap and took dives off their bikes to stop. These two were training for the 'Six Gap Century Ride' being held on 9/29. We gave their damaged bodies and damaged bikes a ride back into town. They assured us, however, that they would have their bodies and bikes back together in time for the ride a couple of days later. This ride includes 11,200 feet of vertical climbs over 100 miles. We looked up the ride they were headed to do and could see that it involved some serious climbing: http://dahlonega.org/index.php/six-gap/three-gap-bike-ride.html
We did still make it to Brasstown Bald the next day. Brasstown Bald at 4784 feet, is Georgia's tallest mountain. At the top of this mountain, on a clear day, you can see 360 degrees including parts of Georgia, Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. The views are spectacular. Not too far from Brasstown Bald, we headed out to hike to another waterfall, Dukes Creek Falls. Along the way we got local peanuts and could not resist taking a picture of one of the cute 'visitors' the vendor had set up that waved hello and good bye to you.
The Hike to Duke Creek Falls was a bit of a climb down but well worth it upon reaching the 150 Ft. high falls. Like Ruby Falls, Duke Creek Falls has a twin fall also. The trail was full of switchbacks, which kept the falls within audio range, but we had to wait to get there in order to see all the beauty of what we could hear. Along the trail, some of the trees were beautifully bright with Orange Peel Fungus. On our way back we met up with a 5 ft. Black Rat snake, that refused to yield 'his' trail to any hikers and made us walk right next to him. He was not scared of us humans a bit.
On our last couple of days we discovered that Georgia has their own list of the 7 wonders (in the state) and that 2 of these were a short drive from where we were staying. So, you guessed it, we were on the road to see.
The first of these 7 wonders was Tallulah Gorge. The gorge is 2 miles long and nearly 1000 feet deep. Famous tight rope walkers have crossed this gorge. The tower used by Karl Wallunda (read about Karl at :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Wallenda )can still be see at Inspiration Point (a place we hiked to). Inspiration Point is also an excellent place to see lots of Peregrine Falcons soaring above.
The second Georgia '7 wonders' that was located within driving distance to this weeks 'home' was Amicalola Falls. Here we saw the falls, did the 300 + round trip stairs to the bottom and up, and generally enjoyed the beauty. On the way back we noticed an old truck, stuck in the trees. We tried to research on the web but found nothing. If you look, the tree has begun to grow around it. Here at Amicalola Falls there is a hike in inn and we plan to do this on a return trip. A 5 mile hike in, a couple of single beds, shared showers, and two family style meals for less than $150. Sounds like a fun thing to do and its, on the return list.
We are headed to Fair Play South Carolina for two weeks. Bob is flying to Cleveland, OH on 10/3 for a week to do guys Golf with his father, and bother's-in laws and then we will have another week in Fair Play to explore.