Carter’s Lake, Georgia…
Last May, I drove down through the Nantahala Gorge to Northern Georgia. My friend, ‘Grasshopper’, had been wanting to do some camping, and it seemed like a great opportunity to just relax and check out some Georgia trails and waterfalls. I had just a little trouble navigating my way through Ellijay, but the rest of the drive went fairly smooth, ending up at the campground on Carter’s Lake. Grasshopper had gotten there before me and had already set up her tent. I was feeling a bit cooked by the time I arrived, not having any air conditioning in the car, but the weather at the lake was nice and the campground was quiet. We spend the rest of the evening getting acclimated to our camp, which was quite easy actually, partly because it had running water, electricity, and 2 conveniently located bathhouses (with hot water). While I am not accustomed to so many comforts and luxuries when I camp, I have to admit, they were very nice to have.
Anyway, we were up early the next morning and soon on the road to find some trails to hike and some mountain vistas and waterfalls to admire. Driving eastward toward Black Rock Mountain, we saw quite a lot of storm damage around the area–remnants of the tornadoes that struck the U.S. in April. Not only did we go to Black Rock Mountain, but we also went to The Glen Falls Trail, The Chinquapin Mountain Trail, a couple of scenic overlooks, and at least one more waterfall. The Chinquapin Mountain Trail was the place we spent the most time on; it was very nice, featuring a small, shady creek, mountain vistas, and several wildflowers. By the time we arrived back in Ellijay, we were kind of tired and it was already getting dark, so we decided to just buy a pizza and take it back to camp with us.
The next day, we made plans to go see the Amicalola Falls at the Amicalola Falls State Park to the south. The waterfalls there are pretty awesome…and since we weren’t in nearly as much of a hurry as we were the day before, we walked around some of the park trails while we were there. It is a fascinating place, and I hope to go back again someday. While driving through the area, we stopped off and looked at the rather infamous ‘Tate House’, which besides being haunted (I am told) is constructed out of pink marble that was quarried nearby. The house and the gardens are quite impressive. After some discussion, trying to decide if we should hike to some more waterfalls, or not, we eventually decided to return to Carter’s Lake early and cook some seasoned tilapia over our campfire.
The next day, perhaps I was lazy, but I just felt like hanging out, walking around the lake (our campsite was positioned right above Carter’s Lake) and doing camp stuff, like sawing wood for the campfire we would have later on. Grasshopper went into town to shop and returned a few hours with a whole bunch of shrimp, which we cooked over the fire, seasoned with garlic and butter. It rained off and on, but that in no way spoiled our relaxation, or our delicious dinner, and we sat about the fire for quite a while enjoying our peaceful encampment above the lake.
Hoppy and Birdy’s Wedding…
About a week after returning from Georgia, I drove north to Damascus, Virginia for my friends, Hoppy and Birdy’s, wedding. It was nice to see that quite a few of my trail friends were able to be present, and it was a lot of fun catching up with them throughout the day and evening. I don’t suppose you could say that it was a ‘traditional wedding’, although there were some traditional elements about it, but I must say it was the most fun I have ever had at a wedding. To be honest, I don’t usually like going to weddings, but this was more like a fun gathering where two people just happened to be getting married. The dress code was relaxed and there was plenty of good food and beverages to absorb.
The day was sunny and warm, so most of the people were staying in the shade of the big trees while children played about the freshly mowed field. There wasn’t a ‘set-in-stone’ time for the wedding–that was casual, as well, so there weren’t any scheduling issues to contend with. I don’t recall what time it was when Hoppy came strolling up the hill in his tuxedo, but by the time Birdy arrived in her wedding gown, everyone was ready to go ahead and get them married.
It was rather fascinating seeing Hoppy in a tuxedo and Birdy in a wedding gown; while I already knew that these two people truly love each other and wanted to spend the rest of their lives together, it was nice that they allowed us all to share their happiness for a day. They are awesome people.
Josh Holland performed the ceremony with them in a shady alcove in the green meadow, amid a chorus of ‘Hairnts’. After the wedding vows, the much anticipated after-party began. There was an entire hay wagon overloaded with choice food to consume, including a pork loin that Jeb had smoked for about a day, or so, and also Rat Patrol’s famous ‘trail beans.’ There were also several other freshly grilled meats, cheeses, potato salads, and casseroles to sample, and of course, cake. The cake, which was a ‘tie dye cake’, following the theme of the wedding, was delicious. I cannot remember everything there was to eat, but it was all good, and there was plenty of it.
Later on, after darkness fell, there was more entertainment when the late night fireworks began, and even a bon fire to stand around after that. What a wedding it was.
More adventures soon, I hope,