Cloudland Canyon

Our last stop on this trip was at Cloudland Canyon in the northwest corner of Georgia.   We were there the week before 4th of July so the park was a little on the crowded side but it wasn’t too bad.

We did have some “boisterous” campers next to us for the last two nights.  They had a lot of people on the site and more stuff than you can imagine (including a jump house and a blow-up movie screen.) We were only one site down from the Camp Hosts and they sent a Park Ranger over at one point to ask them to quiet down.  There was a noticeable change for a while but then the Ranger finished up his chat with the Camp Hosts and headed out.

We had the best hummingbirds of the trip here.  They found the feeder within a few hours and there were probably three different hummingbirds fighting over it.

We took a beautiful hike along the West Rim of the Canyon one morning.  It was lovely and the weather was perfect – not too hot.  You didn’t realize the Canyon was there until the trees opened a bit and you could see that you were on the edge.  We only saw a few people along the trail.

The trail head was in the campground.  We finished up the West Rim Trail in time to get back to the Airstream for lunch.  Then we decided to head back out and hike to the two waterfalls in the Park.  I’ll just say there were a lot of stairs.

We left Cloudland Canyon and started the drive home.  It took us two long days of driving with a layover in Vicksburg, Mississippi.  We’ve been missing the cool weather of the Georgia Mountains every day since we got home!

Atlanta

I’m still catching up with the last of my posts from our Beaches and Biltmore trip.  One of our last stops was in Atlanta.  We stayed at Stone Mountain State Park and spent several days playing tourist in Atlanta.  We had stopped here on one of our first trips but didn’t spend much time seeing the sites.  This time we bought the Atlanta CityPASS.  That meant that we pre-paid for tickets to the Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola, High Museum of Art, Zoo, Inside CNN and the Fernbank Natural History Museum.

The Aquarium was nice.  Alan and I both agreed that the highlight was the Beluga Whales and the giant Ocean Voyager tank (with the Whale Shark) that you walked all around and through.

The World of Coke was okay but much too crowded and it seemed a bit on the expensive side.  We did enjoy seeing the mini-production line and tasting the array of coke products from around the world but I ended up with a stomach ache at the end of the day. They had a 3D movie with moving seats but I really did not appreciate getting poked in the back as part of the experience!

The Fernbank had an awesome Gecko exhibit.  I’m not sure if it was a permanent display but it was very interesting and you got some close up looks of different Geckos.

The High Museum of Art was nicely diverse.  They had everything from traditional art work to a very modern European Design display with furniture and commercial products (like toasters.)  We caught the last day of their classic car show.

I also would give thumbs-up to the Inside CNN Tour.  We enjoyed hearing the show producers work with the live feeds.  It wasn’t going exactly as expected and that probably made it a little more interesting.

We also got to enjoy a lovely dinner with my Godmother.  It was great getting to see her and John.  Before we left town, we climbed Stone Mountain again.

One of these days, I’m going to write a post on when history becomes graffiti.  We have visited a few places like Stone Mountain that have “old graffiti” that is protected but they don’t allow anyone to make history today.  This is one of the carvings from 1892.

We only had one more stop in Georgia and then we made the drive home.

Big Trees

I promised that I would post pictures from our last few stops.  Before Atlanta, we were in Columbia, SC.  We picked this location because we wanted to visit the Congaree National Park.  They have “Champion Trees”.  We aren’t really sure how you get the title of Champion Tree but we were pretty sure it meant big trees.

We were not disappointed. At first, as you are hiking through the forest, you don’t realize that there are humongous trees around.  Not all of the trees are huge, so if you don’t pay attention, you can miss the really big ones.  You also don’t have any reference points until you get up close.  Here is Alan with a fine hardwood specimen:

There is also a boardwalk you can take if you don’t want to actually hike into the woods.  The Champion Loblolly Pine is conveniently located along the boardwalk.

The Congaree National Park is actually in a floodplain, so there are a lot of Cyprus Trees around.  In some places, the knees of the Cyprus Trees are dense and kind of look like gnomes:

It didn’t look like a lot of people actually took the hikes – most probably kept to the boardwalk.  This meant that we had numerous spider webs to get through (and it was very clean – no garbage at all.)  We’ve worked this out over the years with the lead hiker waving a stick in front of them.  At one point though, I did get into a web where this nasty little guy was hanging out:

It was too hot to do much else in Columbia, I did some work and we did get to the movies.  I think I previously posted about the A-Team movie.  It was pretty good – definitely better than I expected.

Home Again

We’ve made it home to hot, hot Texas.  It really was very pleasant and comfortable our last few days in the Georgia mountains – cool and breezy.

I’ve got some pictures from our last few stops that I will post over the next couple of days.  Check back here later . . .