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My pecans, cheese, and dates for dinner left me slightly hungry this morning, so I stopped at Burger King for “Free Coffee Friday” and blueberry biscuits for a dollar.  If anyone needs to know how to live on $30 a day in America, I’d be the appropriate person to ask!  The dogs and I got an early start.  I wanted to make sure we got close to South Carolina by day’s end because tomorrow we get the chance to meet up with Walter, an ex-coworker who quit before me but was more practical and lined up another job at his family’s farm in South Carolina and/or his lake house in North Carolina as they are thirty minutes apart.  I’m pretty excited about it!

Our first morning walk was along the shores of Chatuge Lake.  I just couldn’t help but stop as it looked so spiritual with the low hanging clouds in the mountains and the colloid rising from the surface.  If only the power line didn’t dissect the cloud in my picture.

After only a brief stop, enough to let the dogs do their business, we motored on to Moccasin Creek State Park, home to another lake and across the highway from Hemlock Falls Trail.  Hmmm…hike a mile to a waterfall or pay $5 to see a lake…I’m certain all my readers know by now that I did not choose the latter!  The dogs and I followed a canopied trail along a lovely creek.  Water seeped from the trailside cliffs as we passed by several small cascades before reaching Hemlock

VANilla got a cameo appearance

Falls.  The walk was quite pleasant until we attempted to find a geocache above the falls where the terrain, covered in dead leaves, turned quite steep.  Given I was alone on slick turf with a 50 foot drop below me and my phone was providing sporadic readings, I decided I’d try another cache location at Popcorn Overlook.

Popcorn Overlook, part of the Chattahoochee National Forest, was just off the highway.  I’m not quite sure how it got its name…interesting though.  I found the magnetic cache and decided I’d bring it back to VANilla to sign the log otherwise I would have been standing in a rather conspicuous location.  Dang it…a family of at least six, mostly adults, popped out of their van and began posing for photos.  I was going to have to wait or come up with a stealthy move to replace the container.  They looked like they were going to be a while, so I drove toward the exit, acted like I was taking a CLOSE UP picture of the sign, and quickly slipped it in to its rightful place.

We continued on to Tallulah Gorge State Park which was well worth the $5 “parking fee” that all the Georgia state parks charge.  All the overlooks to the falls and gorge are breathtaking.  In addition, the park includes several miles of not very well marked trails (I suggest taking a map with you) and a couple of geocaches!  Scout, Petey, and I made an afternoon out of it.  One cache was easily found nearby the more commercialized overlook areas.  The other cache was hidden on the 1.5 mile High Bluff Loop Trail.  This one took a little more effort as by the end of the day we had hiked about 5 miles.  Both had lots of goodies, but no travel bugs or geocoins to move on in my travels.  Just before reaching the trailhead; however, a tower used by tightrope walker Karl Wallenda to cross the gorge laid on the ground.  As he crossed the gorge, he also completed two headstands!  I’m sick to my stomach just writing about his feat!

The trail system at the park is named for Helen Dortch Longstreet, one of Georgia’s first conservationists and later became Georgia’s first postmistress after the death of her husband, 42 years her senior.  Her love, General James Longstreet, was a Mexican War and Civil War Hero who later was appointed US Railroad Commissioner by President McKinley.

from the left

My last stop before finding a Walmart that must back up to a motor cross facility was at Toccoa Falls College, a bible school.  The College charges $1 to see the 180 foot

from the right

spray of water fall to the pool below.  The area was quite tranquil.  It’s hard to believe a flood of water surged over the cliff upon the failure of the Kelly Barnes Dam in 1977 killing 39 people.  What a tragedy.  What isn’t tranquil is the Walmart parking lot.  All I hear is constant revving and shifting of gears as motor cycles make their way in a circle as far as I can tell.  I think it will be a Nyquil night! ETB

websites: www.blueridgemountains.com/chattahoochee_national_forest.html, www.gastateparks.org/info/tallulah

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