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there was...

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

... here in the state where I live, a tourism promotion some years ago, with the theme of 'Stay and See Georgia'. Encouraging vacationers or weekend travelers to explore the natural wonders and urban resources within the state rather than go elsewhere to spend their time and funds. Though a native, and a life-long resident, I know I have not seen it all - plus such a variety of landscapes and unusual destinations, interesting places I would love to visit again.

I came across a really interesting book last year about waterfalls in the hills of north GA., east TN., and upstate SC. Though I have visited a number of state parks in north Georgia over the years, the book was a surprising discovery. Written and well documented by a man who lives in the Atlanta area, it is all about places to see waterfalls. I did not know there so many, some seasonal and most in the preserved areas managed by the department of natural resources. I was not aware of the number of picturesque places where water pours over rocks, often descending with great force from heights to create beautiful scenes. The book tells just precisely how to find each one. Some require considerable hiking, while others are more accessible. The author provides clear instructions  about trails and distances for finding the places he visited.

There is one up in the extreme corner of northwest GA on land protected by the state, near Lafayette. Probably one of the easier to see, as the walk through the woods along a wildflower trail is on an elevated wood path, actually accessible by wheelchair for viewing. Pocket Falls was more of a splashing cascade down through a jumble of exposed rocks, rather than the dramatic drop from a great height you generally associate with 'falls'. You could hear it off in the woods, burbling down the hill, long before the first viewing.  The water was amazingly clear, gurgling along the rock strewn creek bottom.

Wildflowers blooming in the floodplain were glorious. Most were tiny, with flowers the size of your pinky thumbnail, easily overlooked in the leaf litter and fallen tree limbs on the forest floor. One prolific bloomer was called a Virginia xyz, with brilliant blue blooms. None of the deciduous trees have begun to leaf out, with ample sunshine to cause the early bloomers to show their colors.

We had to ford a little stream, on foot, stepping from rock to rock to get into the protected area, so walked a bit. There were maybe a dozen other vehicles that bravely maneuvered the creek I would not drive through, and other groups out enjoying the pleasant weather. There was parking for the disabled at the start of the raised wooden trail, making it easy for those with limited mobility to enjoy. A beautiful walk in the woods.

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