“But, you promised after yesterday we would have NO more hikes,” was the fun start to our Anna Ruby Falls adventure. Actually, he snapped out of it quite quickly when I then promised I’d talk to him about Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on our ascent. He just saw the movie on his tablet this week. Alas, this is diverting too quickly.
Back to the falls. Of all the hikes we did in the Chattahoochee National Forest, this was the loudest. High Shoals is loud when descending, but Anna Ruby has gobs of water thrashing just aside the paved trail. It’s roaring, rushing, carving, and was a great final hike for the area. We learned it’s a Cove Forest, basically, that we were hiking through a ravine, hence the water sloshing just aside. We were rewarded for our uphill climbs with two falls, which was unexpected. They were really huge too. Tall.
This short hike had us up and back within an hour. The boys got some Smoky Bear booklets, pencils, and other paraphernalia from the visitors center which brings back old commercials. Dear Husband and I chanted in unison, “Only you can prevent forest fires.” I’m sure there was some eye rolling in the back seat. Alas, they celebrated our final hike in GA for now and we went back to Tracy to tidy. Our stay was fabulous, but we are moving on.
(Special thanks to my older son and his steady 10-year-old hands for the panoramic photo!)
Sitting at the campfire with neighbors, they asked what we had seen and what we had planned. Then they said, “Hey, you should take the boys up to Brasstown Bald.” Hmmm. That sounded a bit weird. But then they said, “It’s fabulous, it’s the highest point in Georgia.” Ding! Years ago we took the boys to Cheaha State Park in Alabama, which was the highest point of that state. We all enjoyed that trip fiercely. This seemed right up our alley after all.
It took two tries, a little grumpiness, and one heck of a steep climb to get to that tower. In fact, my older son and I left Dear Husband and our littler fella in the dust as we were anxious to reach the top. Man alive our hearts were thumping. We all arose victorious to freezing cold wind. Dear Husband mentioned the 20 degree temperature drop and sadly only had on a vest and shorts. My older son said he spotted a hat, and I about leapt to get and keep it. When he pointed it out, though, it was sodden. Bummer. I swear I would have worn it if it was dry.
Brasstown Bald is fabulous! The visitors center was closed due to the season, but the lookout area was open for us to roam (and hide from the wind behind.) That view helped my carsick belly settle for a while too. We were atop with fellow camera enthusiasts until the sun set, and then we all ran downhill to our heated vehicles. Not to compare, but I’d say Cheaha is the better option. We were literally camped walking distance from that tower and went back and forth to it many times with the boys. However, Brasstown Bald is nothing to complain about, save for our poor choice in sweatshirts. Heck, if you see undulating mountains anywhere, it’s a darn good day.
With a concentration of falls hikes that encircle us, we went with the easy choice, the nearest one to the north, High Shoals Falls. We did read that it is one of the most impressive, so that solidified our choice. What we didn’t read was that the “road” (and yes I put that in quotes for a reason) to the “parking lot” is really a swollen kick butt hiking trail. In fact, my older son about lost faith in us as parents as we swung back and forth up this gravely, bumpy “road”. We reassured him that there were still indeed rustic parts in our country, and surely as a forest road this would pass. We were right. We landed in a parking lot where he promptly exited the truck and declared we should just get on with it.
The descent was fine. The terrain was much more well traversed than our first GA hike, and the loud rumble of the falls helped reassure us we were on the right track. I noticed the abundance of Galax leaves which was very cool because as a florist I used those time and again. I always love to see the flowers and greens growing naturally, as I’ve only seen them wrapped and rubber banded.
Finally, I’ve been experimenting with my phone time lapsing. I filmed us pulling Tracy up into the Chattahoochee National Forest. Check out my instagram for the time lapses.
We pulled Tracy up into the Chattahooche National Forest to settle near a replica Alpine town, Helen GA. We had no idea how much amazing hiking was abound. It only makes sense the Appalachian Trail starts not too far away. Our first day here we hiked a private trail connecting to our campground. We later learned it’s not allowed to be improved anymore, due to the current ownership, but it was probably one of the best hikes we ever did. This is because it included ropes to pull us uphill, involved multiple creek crossings, kept our minds sharp as we constantly had to search for blue tagged trees, not to mention all the ducking and climbing. The boys LOVED it. Truthfully, Dear Husband and I agree, it was one of our favorites as well. It was quite a challenge.
After that morning hike, our day just sort of faded away. We had some plans to hike to a local waterfall (I do believe there are over a dozen), but that earlier 2 miles really did us in. We were so wore out, we decided to dilly dally in Helen for the afternoon instead.
Little fella found a new friend in the form of a stuffed koala. He’s saving up money for a future stop, but couldn’t peel away from said friend. I suggested he call him “George” because we got him in Georgia, but he said he needed a better name. Mr. Kooky, he announced, was that better choice. Of course, he conceded that George could be his middle name, to not hurt my feelings.
We stopped at Hofer’s Bakery where the boys were allowed to choose anything they wanted until we heard the prices. Then we kept swaying their choices to the frustration of the people behind us, until we just pretty much forced them to get chocolate creme puffs. Then we ate half of their puffs. They were darn huge, but I’m sure we did a fail parent move here, with the offering choice, denying choice, then taking half anyways. Apparently they are used to this or the sugar was enough, because they didn’t complain. Or maybe their payback was the mess…