Where This Meets That
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The chilly air that settled onto my “squirrels nest” camping platform overnight did little to numb my aching back. These 40-year old bones apparently aren’t as adaptable to sleeping surfaces as they used to be. Fortunately, my discomfort encouraged me to awaken for good before sunrise. I had things I wanted to accomplish before picking Aidan up from Covecrest at one o’clock that afternoon, and sleeping in wasn’t one of them.
First up was Helton Creek Falls, near Vogel State Park in Blairsville. The sun rose as I got close, and the trees opened up to give me a beautiful morning view.
I had assumed the falls would be fairly easy to find, so I hadn’t staked them out beyond their general location on a map. Turns out that their entrance is camouflaged by a mountain neighborhood community, so I hesitantly proceeded through the neighborhood. Before long, the neighborhood ended, and the road turned to gravel. My 1997 Camry creaked and groaned its disapproval as my spine had done in the squirrels nest, so I slowed to a crawl and rolled on.
Finally, I hit pay dirt, parking in a small gravel parking area and following a sign pointing me down a railroad tie-framed stairway into the woods. From there, it was just a short climb to a beautiful set of two separate falls.
Here is the lower falls.
Beautiful, no doubt, but it turned out to be a mere appetizer compared to the upper falls. Check out this beauty!
Needless to say, I had a hard time pulling away from this splendor, but after a short while, I forced myself to move along.
My next, and last, target was a backtrack toward Helen. Raven Cliff Falls is about fifteen minutes outside of Helen. My family and I had been to its trail head during a previous trip to the mountains (ahem, potty break), and vowed to someday return for a better look. This was a perfect opportunity to scout it out.
What a great trail! The trail is about two and a half miles to the main cliffs and falls, but it is a relatively easy hike, very kid-friendly until perhaps the final 50 yards. The trail never strays far from scenic and serene Dodd Creek, and lovely cascades are never far ahead. Unfortunately, I was somewhat pressed for time, so I couldn’t get the pictures that the trail truly warrants. Nevertheless, I did make it to the cliffs and main falls, and I look forward to one day making the hike again, when I have a little more time to play with.
My whole time along the trail, I implored the Lord to give me time to make it to the end and still pick up Aidan on schedule. On my return from the falls, I did actually jog a bit, then my foot was a bit heavy on the gas during drive back to Covecrest, but the timing couldn’t have been better; I arrived to pick up Aidan at precisely one o’clock. Thanks be to God for no road construction or radar cops!
Thank God also, and my wonderful bride, as well, for encouraging me to enjoy such a wonderful and timely weekend. I am trying to hold onto its feeling for as long as I can!