Jacks River & Other Labors

Labor Day weekend was filled all of the good kinds of labor.

  1. Hiking
  2. Cooking/Eating
  3. Relaxing
  4. Laughing x1000000000

It was the last hoorah for Leah in the city and we were lucky enough to get a visit from Anna and her boyfriend Matt on their way to the Outer Banks. A&M flew in late Friday night and flew out early Monday morning so we had 2 short days to pack all the activities in. Because I came to Atlanta with such lack-luster expectations I always feel this pressure to make sure first impressions of the city are top notch. There are so many special things about Georgia that I believe are overshadowed by other big cities. Growing up in Denver I would day dream of one day moving to Chicago, San Francisco, or New York City. I never thought in a million years that I would end up for a short time in this southern metropolis, but now that I have I’m in love. So whenever I have visitors I feel like an un-official ambassador for the city sharing the sweetness and wonder of Georgia with the world.

All that to say, we did all of the most perfect, non-touristy things. Saturday was filled with hiking in the North Georgia mountains along Jacks River. Our intention was to hike to Jacks River Falls, a waterfall just south of the Tennessee-Georgia border. From what we read online there were 2 approaches to the falls, one from Dally Gap and another from Beech Bottom. With both trails clocking in a 4.5 mile hike each way we decided to choose to start at Dally Gap since it was closer to Atlanta. This turned out to be a poor choice, we also severely misread the trail information.

The trek started along a gentle trail flanked by large green trees, green vines, and green wild rhododendrons. I’m telling you there were some large trees along the trail and the mystery has officially be solved – when a tree falls in the forest and there are four people are around to see, it makes a VERY LOUD NOISE.

Let me explain…As we were walking along, minding our own business, we heard a loud cracking sound and glanced across the valley. There, ~ 100 feet in front of us a huge tree was crashing down across the trail like a domino falling after someone gave it a light tap. Other small trees were taken down as collateral and branches and debris littered the site. All I can say is, thank the lord we weren’t standing 100 feet further up or we would have been squished like pancakes.

So, Jacks River and the namesake trail winds through the valley following each other and frequently crossing paths. At the beginning we were doing really well with staying dry. Whenever we approached a river crossing we would strategize and then leap faithfully from one balanced rock to the next until we reached the opposite bank. We hiked for 2.5 hours before beginning to question the trail information. At this point we should have reached the falls and so far we had only encountered small ripples in the river. With the afternoon passing and dinner plans in Atlanta we made the decision to stop, turn around, and head back to the car. Turns out it was actually 9 miles to Jacks River Falls from Dally gap, with 42 river crossings! Holy river crossings!

For future reference, this trail would be a fantastic overnight-er. Overall, it was more like a saga of never ending occurrences. Aside from the tree falling and river crossings:

  • We saw a giant, black snake
  • EVERYONE FELL IN THE WATER
  • I was stung by a bee
  • Anna tripped over a tree
  • Matt swung from a vine
  • Leah, Anna, and Matt went swimming
  • A threat of 30 pushups if we didn’t make it back to the car by 5 PM made us basically run the last mile
  • Google maps takes some very interesting back roads
  • No, panthers are not part of the wildlife in Georgia

The rest of the weekend we spent in the city – gorging on brunch, swinging in hammocks on my front porch, cannonballing at the pool, and feasting with a home cooked salmon dinner. My heart felt so full after my house emptied of guests on Tuesday. Even though I feel pressure to put together the perfect trip for whoever comes visit me I love the way it allows me to share my life with the people that mean the most to me. I love that Georgia has the outdoor escapes that define what Colorado is for so many people. By no means have I explored the entirety of what this peachy state has to offer, but with less than a year here I’m saying anything’s possible.

I’m ready for my next visitors.


 

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