Friday, September 26, 2014

A Scare on High Shoals Trail


Blairsville, GA (high 78, low 59)


We’ve had a busy few days.  Today, I think will be a stay at home day.  I have laundry to do and a book to finish.  Al, however, has other plans involving lunch.  We’ll see who wins!

We have had visitors from Tampa.  Our friends, Rhonda and William rented a cabin at nearby Vogel State Park  They came up for a short visit after losing their 17 year old dog.  It was their “grief trip.”  Rhonda and I worked together at USAA.

We had lunch and a few happy hours, but mostly we let them explore on their own.  Last year, we played tour guide to all our visitors.  This year, we decided to let visitors do all their own exploring, and we would have a few meals or happy hours with them.  Gas got to be too expensive, and most people prefer to explore on their own.  I know we do.   We never quite know what we want to do, and our exploring is usually on the fly, deciding as we go, so this works out better for everybody.   Al and I do not like to plan ahead.   :)


Rhonda and William

Rhonda and William rented cabin #14 at Vogel.  It was right on the river with a nice “babbling brook” sound.  It was the perfect cabin choice.  The cabin was very nice, with 2 bedrooms, basic cable TV with huge flat screen TV, even a dishwasher and fireplace!  

We had happy hour at our Rv site and twice at their site at Vogel.


On Tuesday, we had our front air conditioner replaced.  

Front AC unit replacement

On Thursday, after some coffee and computer time, we decided to go on a hike.  There are quite a few more waterfall hikes nearby,  and we chose High Shoals Falls.

My trail book, mentioned you would have to “ford” a stream on the way to the trail head.  I was hoping they meant there was a bridge.

There wasn’t.  This was our view when we were driving to the trailhead.

stream crossing on FS road 283 to High Shoals Falls

We got out and checked it out.  It wasn’t very deep and there were nice smooth rocks on the bottom.

stream crossing on FS road 283 to High Shoals Falls

While we were looking, a  man from the Georgia Fisheries service stopped by the stream.  He confirmed the stream was fine to cross and said we had to travel another mile or so to the trail head.

He told us he was taking the water temperature of the stream.  He explained they have sensors in all the local streams and rivers and document the water temperature.   This proves that the water is the correct temperature for trout, so if any city wants to do anything that would affect the waterway, they will have the documentation to stop it. 

We crossed the stream, and drove up a rocky, bumpy and sometimes narrow road to the trailhead.

Along the way, we passed two cars going down. It was a tight squeeze, but we managed.

The first car had 4 kind of grungy looking guys in it.  I didn’t think anything of it at the time, but later I would.

We parked, and started down the 1.2 mile trail.   It was mostly downhill.

High Shoals Falls Trail

Those darn acorns were there again, but fortunately they were mostly at the beginning.  As careful as I was, I still managed to slip a few times.  Luckily, we stayed on our feet this time.

High Shoals Falls Trail

There was no shortage of things to trip you.

High Shoals Falls Trail

High Shoals Falls Trail

Before long, we came across a campsite.  There was plenty of trash left, along with a lot of broken trees and branches.

High Shoals Falls Trail

Al noticed there was some ice on top of the campfire.  Obviously, it was recently left there.  We assumed it was those guys we had passed coming in.  They must have spent the night, and that is probably why they looked grubby.

Slobs.  I hate people who leave their trash.

I also hate people that feel the need to write their names scribbled on anything they can find.

I think I’m going to post this on Facebook and see if enough people will share it.  Maybe the Greene’s will see it.

graffiti on high falls trail


Soon, we came to our first bridge.  I was relieved to see an actual bridge, because our trail map said we would have to “ford” the river.  I was glad to see something more than a few stones across the river.


Gold has been found in the streams in this area.  The first gold rush was in nearby Dahlonega, Georgia, 30 years before the California gold rush. Occasionally, people still find gold nuggets around here.

From the bridge, we saw a lot of shiny objects.

Al was determined to check things out and see if there were any gold nuggets down there!

Notice the pretty orange rock.

Al looking for gold on High Shoals Falls Trail

We saw a few overturned trees and even checked there for some long covered gold nuggets….just in case.   :)

overturned tree...any gold???

It wasn’t long before we came to a cut off to the first waterfall and “blue hole.”

High Shoals Falls Trail, waterfall and blue hole

The blue hole showed up a little better in person, but you could definitely see a blue-ish color to the water.

High Shoals Falls Trail, waterfall and blue hole

The green moss growing along the rocks was pretty.

High Shoals Falls Trail, waterfall and blue hole

Back on the trail and down to the second waterfall.


It was a beauty, at 175 feet.  You can barely see the start of it at the very top of the picture.

second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

There was a nice viewing platform, with a good spot to lay the camera and get a photo of ourselves.

Karen and Al at  second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

We had lunch, then Al decided to go gold hunting again.

Al gold hunting on second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

Al gold hunting on second waterfall on High Shoals Falls Trail

We decided to head back, and this time it was going to be all uphill.  We made a few detours to walk by the stream…and look for gold.  :)

High Shoals Falls Trail

About half way back to the trail head, Al  (who was quite a ways ahead of me) heard what sounded to him like a car alarm.  He was concerned maybe someone was breaking into our truck, which was parked at a very remote spot in some very remote woods.

He scampered up the mountain like a mountain goat, pausing occasionally to check on me.  I was hurrying as much as I could, but we were going up hill and I needed to catch my breath a few times.

As I was walking back, I had visions of those 4 guys we had passed coming down, at our truck breaking in and stealing our stuff, or our truck.

I started hearing the boom boom sounds, like you hear when someone has a big speaker system in their car.  That certainly concerned me and now thoughts crossed my mind about those 4 guys waiting by the truck ready to murder us when we returned.

Of course, I had just read a passage in my book about some murders on the Appalachian Trail, so that was fresh on my mind.

It’s funny all the things that go through your mind.

We finally made it to the point where we could see the truck.  It was up on the top of the hill, but still there and still shiny with no broken windows that we could see.

We were relieved there was no one there, and no damage to the truck, but it reminded us that we were in a very remote area and anything could have happened.  If those guys had wanted to, they could have certainly come back, and broken into the truck.  They would have seen we were older, known we were going hiking at we would be gone a while and known they would have almost no chance of getting caught.  

It’s a good thing they weren’t inclined to do anything like that.


  1. As a solo RVer and lover of hikes (mostly easy, short ones these days), you've touched upon something that I think of, but try not to dwell on too much since I know if I lived being dictated by my fears, I wouldn't have started fulltime RVing for sure. I post about my hikes, too, and people sometimes tell me they'd be too scared to hike alone due to being afraid of the "critters" they might encounter. I've never had a problem with that, but the two-legged kind that you describe are what scare me the most. I would have been freaked out about what you described, too, and glad your fears were unfounded!

    1. Its certainly something to be aware of Malia. We recently bought some pepper spray for bears but as we were heading back to unknown possibilities, I considered how useless it would be on men with guns.

  2. I join you in just despising litterbugs, and folks who deface things. . .goodness!

    What a beautiful waterfall. . .totally worth the effort. . .sad you had your peace disturbed, and that you needed to feel concerned for your safety. . .glad all was well.

  3. We sometimes worry about running into some scumbags who hide their meth labs in the woods. So we try to keep aware of our surroundings and don't do anything to appear weak or easily taken advantage of... (yes, we also carry bear spray on a strap on holster so it's easy to reach)

  4. That's pretty scarey - thank goodness it turned out well. Sure is a pretty area - I was surprised people were camping right there on the trail, as well as driving vehicles on the trail.

  5. When in remote areas, personal security is always on my mind and usually I have some method of defense with me.

  6. Glad your truck was not in any trouble. That looks like a nice hike.

  7. Never leave for a hike in unfamiliar territory without my two little friends, Mr Smith & Mr Wesson...they really enjoy camping and hiking.

  8. You are definitely intrepid hikers with all those acorns and roots and low life. It is amazing how easy it is to imagine the worst when you are in a remote area. I hate the fact that as we get older we have to fear being taken advantage of more. What a world we are living in now. Gorgeous falls and a great picture of the two of you.

  9. Glad that everything was ok with your truck.

    The falls look real pretty, it's just too bad about the garbage at that campsite! When we were hiking the other day on some sand dunes, somebody just had to throw down a soda can. I picked it up and carried it back out. I don't understand why people have to litter!

  10. One of the work project the local volunteers at Thurmond Lake did today on National Park Lands Day was to clear brush around a parking area at a trail head.

    Last summer they had four hiker's cars broken into, so removing all the brush exposes the area to the main road, making it less of a target (hopefully).


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