I love the thrill and adrenaline rush of hiking into the wilderness and the unknown. It is very strange how you can feel so many emotions all at once. Your senses are on overload as you journey down a heavily wooded trail. You listen for every noise and try to process it to determine if it’s a normal or threatening sound. The breaking of a branch or even small limb will make you suddenly wince or jerk towards the direction it came from. If the sound continues towards you, the hair on your arms and the back of your neck will stand up, your heart starts racing, and your flight or fight innate defenses kick into action.
Finally, when you see the culprit, an innocent deer nibbling tall grass and walking towards you, calmness sweeps in and you breathe in deeply and smile. You immediately forget the fear and your senses immediately switch gears and zone in on the scent of all the evergreen trees and blooming flowers surrounding you. Calmness instantly consumes you and the fear is long forgotten. Ahh the joys of nature and wanderlust….
On my drive to Tallulah Gorge State Park , I found a lovely trail on my journey called Angel Falls Trail. It was classified as a moderate 2.1 miles out and back trail heavily trafficked. The road I travelled around Lake Rabun, Lakemont to get to the Angel Falls trail was stunningly beautiful. I didn’t drive slow because it was a very windy road, I drove slow so I wouldn’t miss all the beautiful lake cottages with perfect manicured lawns and adorable boathouses all nestled into lazy coves..
My GPS takes me to the Angel Falls parking lot and I notice that there was only 1 other car that was parked there and it was not heavily trafficked as the trail guide suggested. I’m not a big fan of hiking in areas without people because of lack safety hiking alone but I shrugged it off, grabbed my bear spray, threw on my pack, locked up, and started my journey..
I bet the Tallulah Falls locals can all guess where I’m going with this blog…I took a quick photo of the trail marker for my journal, and I start hiking up the hill but I suddenly notice the path seems very heavily wooded, the trees looked a little more gnarly and crooked than usual…I keep going and I soon hiked past the unusual crooked trees and crossed a lovely crystal clear running creek…Then there it was… The hair stood on the back of my neck..the heart started racing.. For a fluttering moment I thought I heard banjo music floating through the forest…I let something from my past scare me and put fear into my brain.
I had recently learned that some of the beautiful river scenes in the scary movie “Deliverance” were filmed in this Tallulah Falls area. I had watched this movie when I was younger and I had to get these memories and thoughts of this frightful movie out of my head. I started humming non banjo music, clutched my bear spray, and I trudged on and fought my fears like any true hiker would do. I realized that I was hiking alone and I had not come across any other hikers and the woods can be scary if you let your imagination run away. I tightly closed my eyes and focused on how beautiful the water was that was beneath my feet and it was just that..beautiful water and the forest didn’t have toothless boogeymen lurking in the shadows to get me. Soon the thoughts floated away and the sound and sights of the beautiful Angels falls were all that mattered.
Gypsy mama bear tip: I do pack bear spray, whistle, compass, first aid kit, water and protein bars for even short hikes…. Better to be prepared than not.
I had read a lot about Tallulah Gorge State Park and it was my next bucket list stop. When I arrived I found it very heavily trafficked.. This park is one of Georgia’s most popular destinations and the parking lot was almost full. There’s a small fee at the entrance but well worth the charge. The park had plenty of activities for the entire family. I saw many families enjoying picnics, biking, hiking, and swimming. The water was a beautiful creamy green-blue color.
My first stop was a lookout to view the top of Tempesta Falls and the Hawthorne Cascade and pool. I decided to climb down 350 ft to see the bottom of the gorge. There’s a warning at the top stating that it is strenuous and to walk down and back out you will be required to walk 1062 steps to get to the base of Hurricane falls.
Gypsy Mama Bear tip: Signs were clearly posted that persons with health problems should not attempt this climb and children must be supervised.
I loved every minute of the hike. The suspension bridge was breathtaking and the views were wonderful from every nook and cranny. The mountain laurel was in bloom and the colorful flowers were an added treat. After I hiked to the bottom, I wanted to get a clear shot of the suspension bridge so I wandered around and found another lookout platform on my way out that gave a nice view of the entire bridge from the top view.
I was pretty worn out after climbing up and down the 1062 steps so I was really looking forward to my stay in the cute hotel.com booking at the Cascades Inn in Tiger, GA. The hotel had lovely cascades to enjoy right out my bedroom door.
I also loved how they had several porch swings all around the cascades. I purchased carry out, poured myself a lovely glass of Pinot noir and sat in the porch swing until sunset. A perfect ending to a perfect day. The staff was probably the most friendliest I’ve encountered in a very long time.
The desk clerk gave me directions to bike trails and even offered to show me how to get to the bike trail-head the next day. I would have taken her up on this lovely offer but the rain came in and the bike trail adventure will have to be put back on a lovely return trip.. This journey definitely made it to my “must return to someday” journal.
I always long for nature and I feel at peace when I’m there. I have a calmness that I find hard to recreate in other surroundings. Nature of all types should bring those peaceful easy feelings to everyone but unfortunately Hollywood has created some movies that tend to put other thoughts and images into our brains when we are in the woods or consumed in nature. We should not let these thoughts slip into our private brains, especially when we are outside enjoying sunshine and fresh air. Often, there are times we allow these negative thoughts to be there. It is similar when we submerse our bodies into the ocean for a nice swim but no, instead of hearing the waves and enjoying the cool salty water moment, we sometimes hear the “Jaws” soundtrack music loudly playing in full orchestra in our brain.
I hope you enjoy Tallulah Falls, Ga and all the beautiful nature here. I would love to hear about what you did here and how you liked it so I can add it to my return list as well. Above all, do find joy in all your journeys!
Peace I leave with you. My peace I give unto you.. Let not your heart be troubled. John 14:27