Georgia-Heading North


July 14, 2011---- Heading north, this time without our copilot.  She is with us in spirit, not wanting to be morbid, but her ashes are with us.  Once we locate the ideal spot, presumably in a northern-forested area, we will spread them.  Taking off without her perched between us created a melancholy start for our trip.

 Of course, we can’t go north without stopping in Atlanta to visit with our daughter, Nicole and her partner, Robert.  As usual, food was one of the highlights of the stay.  Not only are they both first-rate cooks, but they also know all the hot spots in the city.  Having been to Atlanta numerous times over the past several years, we have explored most of the tourist venues of the area.  High Museum, however, offered an extensive introspective of the works of watercolorist, John Marin, and was a perfect way to spend a few hours.

Sweetwater Creek State Park, SW of Atlanta, provided an afternoon workout as we trekked up the trail past the old cotton mill, destroyed during the Civil War, and then up to the waterfalls.  Round trip for the ‘red’ trail that runs along the creek is only two miles, but the heat, humidity and rough conditions on the last ½ mile of the walk made it feel quite a bit longer.  The Park Service designates the last part of the trail as moderately difficult—I’d designate it closer to beginning rock climbing.  On Sunday afternoon the park was crowded with families taking advantage of the water and the shade.

Taking the recommendation of Nicole and Robert, we headed into Georgia Wine Country.  Near the gold rush town of Dahlonega, several boutique wineries offer tastings.  We managed to leave the area with only two bottles of wine.  Due to our weekday/morning stop, we found several of the wineries closed.  Driving through the area with steep roads, hidden drives and limited signage made it a challenge to locate spots but it was an enchanting drive.

Within the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forest of NE Georgia there are five state parks.  After studying the amenities, we decided on Moccasin Creek State Park.  The 2300-acre Lake Burton was the deciding point.  Planning on extensive fishing and kayaking this sounded like the best choice.  As it turns out this lake is primarily for families and groups.  The primary water activities were jet skies, water skiing and speedboats pulling screaming kids in floats behind them.  None of which is ideal for kayaking or fishing.   Getting out on the lake in our kayaks at 
6 A.M. the first morning allowed an hour of peace and quiet before the chain saws and hammers started to work.  As we drove into the park the previous afternoon, we saw damage south of the park spread over a one to two mile area created by a recent tornado.  Workmen started at the crack of dawn, removing debris, repairing roofs and rebuilding heavily damaged homes.  By 9 A.M. the jet skis and boaters were in the water.  A nice park, but it was not what we had in mind. 

Determined to catch something, we spent four hours on the water but with only a handful of nibbles, we decided to call it quits.  Later that evening, we went to the nearby Wildcat Creek (located on National Forest lands.)  Alan got a serious workout climbing up and down the steep inclines to get down to the trout holes.  He had a few nibbles but I landed three at an easily accessible spot just a few feet from the road. 

The following morning, as I slept in, Alan went out to the creek located inside the park and landed four brown trout.  He was pleased I had caught something but let’s get real here, he did not want to be outdone by me.  Our trip down to the Soque River in the evening netted us each one trout.

North Carolina is next on the agenda.  We’re meeting up with friends, Mickey and Cora, as they travel through the south in their RV.

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