So, that’s what happens when I open Live Writer to start a blog post and walk out of the room . . . I come back to “I posted a blog!”
Contrary to his opinion, we had quite an adventurous day on Wednesday. Directly north of us on St. Rt. 15 about 35 miles was Tallulah Gorge State Park. We packed a lunch and waited for the fog to clear in the morning, and set out around 11:00, arriving shortly before noon.
From the Georgia State Park website:
“One of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a permit to hike to the gorge floor (100 per day, not available during water releases). A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls. Tightrope walkers have twice crossed the gorge, and visitors can still see towers used by Karl Wallenda.”
We stopped in the Interpretive Center first,
looked at the displays,
and Bryce & I talked to the volunteer about the hikes while Tom finished up a conversation with the diesel mechanic who’s rebuilding our engine (all parts are in and he’s getting ready to start re-assembling it!).
Permits are required to hike to the gorge floor, and they were all given out for the day already (darn! ), but we still had two options for the day – we could take the North Rim Trail from the Interpretive Center (stopping at Overlooks 2,3,4, and 5), cross the dam and pick up the South Rim Trail to overlooks 6,7,8,9, and 10. From the end of the South Rim Trail, option 1 would be to turn around and go back the same way, or option 2 would be to hike down 347 steps to the Swinging Bridge, and then up 310 steps to the North Rim Trail at overlook 2.
I was leaning toward option 1, but we’d see how it went . . .
We met Tom at the car, transferred our lunch and water bottles to the backpack, and set out for the North Rim Trail.
We back-tracked a little to Overlook 2, where we had a better view of the falls – L’Eau d”Or and Tempesta Falls.
Across the Gorge, we could see a picnic shelter on the South Rim Trail – that looks like it’ll make a nice lunch stop.
From Overlook 2, lots of people head down the stairs to the suspension bridge over the river – but we weren’t sure if we were doing that yet!
We continued along the North Rim Trail,
past Overlook 4 (where we couldn’t see much of anything) and some really fragrant flowers,
to Overlook 5 – Tallulah Falls Dam.
There were lots of warning signs along the trail,
but maybe they need one stating that motorcycles aren’t allowed on the trail! This guy came down the trail that connects the campground to the North Rim Trail!
At this point, we had reached the end of the North Rim Trail, and had to walk over the dam to the South Rim Trail. From the top of the dam, we could see into the Gorge,
but we had to be careful not to get dirt in our eyes when trucks passed by on the highway!
Our first stop on the South Rim Trail was the picnic shelter where we enjoyed our lunch while admiring the view of the gorge. You can see the suspension bridge over the river in this view.
The South Rim Trail seems to be a little more developed, with structures,
Moving along, we reached Overlook 7,
where we could see Hawthorne Pool flowing into Tempesta Falls.
Overlooks 8, 9, and 10 are at the end of the trail, behind a stone wall at the edge of the gorge.
From here, we could see the Interpretive Center,
and Overlook 1 on the North Rim Trail.
Another view of Hurricane Falls.
So, we had reached the end of the South Rim Trail – I thought we would turn around and go back the same way, but Tom didn’t want to. We talked to several people who had just made the climb up the 347 steps on this side, and they survived . . .
So we decided to continue on! More warning signs!
These steps were pretty steep!
We made it, and we could see where the water flowed over Hurricane Falls,
and continued on after the falls.
There was an additional 221 steps down to a platform at the bottom of Hurricane Falls, and Bryce did that one by himself! 221 down, and 221 back up – less than 10 minutes!!
Tom and I waited at the Suspension Bridge for him to return,
then we all went across the bridge . . . there was quite a bit of sway and flex in that bridge!
Especially with Bryce jumping!!
On the other side, we rested some more before our big climb up 310 stairs . . . steep stairs!
I must say, it actually wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be! We took about 10 minutes to get down the 347 steps, and just under 30 minutes to climb the 310 steps!
It helped that each landing was numbered, so we could see our progress as we climbed! Back at the top, we made our way back along the trail to the parking lot and headed back to Commerce.
After an early dinner at Five Guys (Bryce’s choice), we relaxed in the pool back at the RV Park – a great way to end the day!