Blairsville, Georgia (high 75, low 62)
Although the weather here in the mountains is much, much cooler than the Florida, or even the rest of Georgia, the last few weeks have been a little warmer than we like. We have been anxious for fall, and it appears our wait is over. Temps this week are predicted to be in the mid to low 70’s.
Yesterday was a long and busy day. We started out at the Mountain Art Festival at nearby Vogel State Park. They had a craft show early, and different music groups starting at 11am. We left before the music started, but did enjoy looking at some of the crafts. One of the vendors told us about a place where there were acres of planted sunflowers, so we decided to check it out.
We headed west to Dawsonville, Georgia and easily found the sunflower field. They charged $5 a to go in and drive through the fields. There were 30+ acres of blooming sunflowers.
From this distance the sunflowers look small, but they weren’t.
Al was taking a close up picture of all the bees on the flowers.
It was so nice being surrounded by all this beauty. It kind of reminded me of scuba diving on a reef.
We must have stayed in the field a good hour, and I took way too many photos, but I couldn’t help myself.
The next few pictures show how large the field was.
Notice Al is walking next to the field.
We hated to leave, but we found out that the farmer also had a field of pumpkins nearby, and we thought that might be kind of pretty too, so we headed up the road to Burts pumpkin Farm.
No charge to get in, but they had some baked goods and a lot of knick-knacks for sale.
They had every kind pumpkin you could imagine.
Many different colors
and amazing squash and gourds of all shapes and colors
Since it was a Saturday, there were a lot of kids.
For $5 a person, you could go on a hay ride through the pumpkin field. We had visions of being in the middle of big fields full of pumpkins, but that wasn’t quite what we got.
A huge tractor pulled us in a hay filled cart. It was mostly a kids ride, and I think we were the only adults on the cart without children! :)
We started in a field of flowers.
We saw a few pumpkins growing in the field.
A few displays
Evidently this is the farmers big new house on the top of the hill. The pumpkin business must be pretty profitable. The pumpkin farm is only open 2 months a year.
Since we were fairly close to Amicalola Falls State park, we decided to go there. We have an annual Georgia States Park pass, so it doesn’t cost us anything to get in. One of the highest waterfalls in the east is there.
Amicalola Falls State Park is also known as the entrance point to the southernmost portion of the Appalachian Trail on Springer Mountain.
The trail to the AT at Springer mountain is 8.5 miles, which includes some 600 steps to the stop of the falls, and that is AFTER you walk up some pretty steep grades. It’s not for the faint of heart. :)
Imagine doing that hike with a 40-50 pound back pack carrying all the supplies you will need for your nearly 2200 mile trek to Maine!
If you come here in April and May, you will have a good chance of seeing some of the 2000+ thru-hikers that start their 2200 mile journey here on the Appalachian Trail.
We decided to take a short hike to the base of the falls. It starts out on paved trail that went up, up, up.
There were lots of big rocks and small waterfalls.
The trail map the park furnished wasn’t too clear, so I have no idea how long of a hike we did. My phone was dead so I didn’t have access to my “Tracker” app.
We followed Nancy’s advice for strenuous hikes, which is rest a lot. The trail was very steep, so I needed quite a few rest stops!
We weren’t really sure what to expect, but after walking up the trail for quite a while, we ended up at the base of 175 steps.
At this point, we still hadn’t gotten a view of the main waterfall.
We walked up and up until we could finally see a little of the big waterfall. UP, up, rest, up, rest, up….
We made it to the lower viewing area, where you could get a nice view of the waterfall.
It was loud and the rushing water gave off a nice cool breeze.
There was a sign at the beginning of the steps saying there were 175 steps. What the pathetic trail map didn’t tell you was that, after you got to the top of these steps, there were 475 more stairs to the very top of the falls.
In the next photo, at the very top, is where the 475 steps led, but we didn’t know that until I got home and looked into my waterfall hiking book.
We would have asked questions at the visitor center, but the place was jam packed with people and a bunch of rambunctious kids.
We wouldn’t have gone any further anyway, because by the time we got up the trail, and 175 stairs, we were tired.
Going down was a breeze in my new size huge hiking shoes. No toes jamming into the front of the shoe!
We saw two dogs being drug up their with their owners. The steps were metal grates and the poor dogs had a hard time navigating them with their claws. One poor dog was overweight, furry and breathing so hard. I felt bad for both dogs. The black lab we saw apparently had some hip issues. He was limping when he got to the bottom. Damn people.
After we finished this trail, we got into the truck and drove to the top. There is a 25% grade to the campground and lodge!
Once we got out and did a little more exploring, we discovered the very top of the water fall with the 475 steps going down to meet up with the area we had just been.
The view looking down wasn’t nearly as spectacular, but probably if you took the steps, you would see some nicer views. We’ll go back and do that another day, and not on a week-end.
This is the southernmost access to the Appalachian Trail.
It was a long day, we were tired and we headed home after stopping for a quick dinner.
Once we got home, we rested a few minutes, then went our for our evening golf cart bear “hunt.” No bear sightings yet, but we keep trying.
After we got home, we decided it would be a good idea to soak in the hot tub, and it sure did feel good.
I think we’ll stay home today. Al has football to watch and I’m going to sit outside and read my book about through-hiking the Appalachian Trail.