Monday, April 5, 2010

Helton Creek Falls

My in-laws are in town and my kids are off for spring break, so today I took off work to hang out with them. We ate at Waffle House, went and saw The Last Song, which we'd seen them filming in Tybee last year, and then the girls, my father-in-law and I went driving around the mountains.

Helton Creek Falls...

The edge of the trail is lined with these cool erosion-barrier/building-blocks that are a ton of rock encased in a rectangular cube of chicken wire. Iz noticed them and decided that we needed to use those to shore up the hill in our front yard when we level the ground. She really liked them.

 Iz Demonstrating Erosion Barrier

The girls climbed all over the lower falls.

 Girls at Lower Falls

 Iz at Lower Falls

Sophie was really proud of a Hemlock cone she found. I think that's what it is.

 Sophie and Hemlock Cone

It was a popular place to be.

 People at Lower Falls

Everybody there had a tiny little dog and a guy showed up with a huge, fluffy, old German Shepherd and all the little dogs went absolutely crazy. The big dog casually walked within inches of each little dog, unflinching. I realized that it wasn't tolerating their insanity, it simply didn't notice. I wondered if it was deaf.

The upper cascade was bigger than the lower, but just as popular.

 People at Upper Cascade

The kids and I walked all over the rocks and logs, but we also broke my rule number zero - stay together as a group. The kids and I stayed together, but we'd walked away from my father in law who was standing on the deck. He didn't notice us down on the rocks and had gone back up the trail looking for us. When we noticed he wasn't on the deck, we went looking for him and chaos ensued. We all found each other, but it was a mess and clearly demonstrated the value of the rule.

On the road, we passed a black rat snake, sunning itself on the road. Its head isn't perfectly round and at first I thought it was a cottonmouth, but the kinks gave it away.

 Black Rat Snake

Bailing out of there, we drove up to Brasstown Bald but just checked out the view from the gap and didn't walk up the trail. We'd passed a cyclist in a purple jersey a couple of times, and descending the road back down, we passed him climbing. Hard. Another guy was climbing up on a mountain bike too. We drove back over Unicoi and passed a dozen riders climbing up the south side. One guy was walking. I offered him a ride, but he passed. Also hard.

We made it home at 6 and attempted to go fishing again, only to be thwarted by a water release from Buford Dam. I've got to remember to check the schedule next time.

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