I believe this goal bears repeating. We live on a great big beautiful planet and it is the goal of my wife Morgan and I to see and experience as much of this as possible. The best way to experience this is to walk up to it and through it. This summer we found a cool walking paradise a few miles up the road by walking and hiking in the North Georgia Mountains.
We are very fortunate that early this summer our good friends Jerry and Ellie invited Morgan and I to join them at their cabin in Sky Valley, GA. When the heat is bearing down at 95 degrees at nearly 100% humidity, how could anyone say no. In fact, the 6 hour and fifteen minute drive is well worth the time and effort. Living in our north Florida humidity during the summer, if you believe in evolution, I believe we will all have gills in a million years. I now really understand why so many people migrate to the mountains during the summer.
Sky Valley is the highest city in Georgia and is surrounded by the Nantahala National Forest. This is an ideal base of operations for some great hiking. With the elevations ranging from 3,200 – 4,200, here during our short stays we found lots of waterfalls, hiking trails and incredible views.
The first place we discovered to walk was to follow the paved road down from the cabin to Mud Creek Falls. This is quite a stunning gem at the end of this path. Closing your eyes and just listening to the sound of the falling waters you feel as one with nature. Initially traversing up and down this path at this 3000 ft elevation was quite a transition for “we” Florida based hikers. I loved getting up early every morning to take this 3 mile round trip up and down the hills with spectacular views. Being outside at these times, my mind kept repeating, Yes!, It is great to be alive walking in God’s post card on Mother Earth.
The next day we headed up towards Highlands to hike down the Glen Falls Trial. This 2-3 mile round trip trail makes a moderate descent with about 400 feet in elevation change. There are quite a few switchbacks, but the climb back was not too steep. Glen Falls is a triple waterfall with several great scenery stops along this gem of a place located in the Nantahala National Forest. The upper and middle sections are the most beautiful.
During our next trip it rained incessantly so we were limited in our hiking. For this type A guy, it forced us to chill. Relaxing and reading with the rain in the background was actually OK. During this time we were able to check out part of the Appalachian Trail and started thinking, could this be in our future?
While we were only able to dab our toes in the spectacular beauty of this neck of the woods last summer, we will be back to check out more of the cool hikes in North Carolina and North Georgia. I urge you to do the same. Just the difference in temperature, makes the trip here worthwhile.
Camino update – we are honored that people are still asking for us to speak about the lessons learned on our 500 mile Camino trek. Please join us at the Florida Trail Association meeting at 6:45PM this Tuesday, November 10th. This event will be held at the Early Learning Coalition meeting room in Northwood Center at 1851 Martin Luther King Blvd, Suite 70. For more information call Liz Sparks at 850-570-5950.
So grab a friend or family member, or go solo, and go for a walk and check out everything our planet has to offer. It’s a beautiful planet, getting out will change your attitude.
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