Thursday, April 21, 2016

Long Creek Falls and Sea Creek Falls

We had a busy day this past Saturday. Kind of reminded me of "old times" actually. "Old times" being when we lived in Cumming and the girls and I would get up at 8AM, grab some breakfast, go fishing for a few hours, grab some lunch, drive up and explore the mountains all day, grab some dinner, and come home exhausted at 10PM. It wasn't quite like that, but it was the closest we've done in years.

In fact, substitute "the girls and I" with "Kathryn, the girls, and I" and substitute "go fishing for a few hours" with "do some work on the rent house" and it was almost identical.

The "explore the mountains all day" part consisted of driving up and over Winding Stair to Three Forks and hiking out to Long Creek Falls.

The Family at Long Creek Falls

After sitting on rocks for a while, and wading around in the water for a while, we climbed up to the top. The girls wanted me to get pictures of them. So here they are. The girls are the white and yellow specks in the upper right hand corner.

Iz and Sophie specks.

Iz and Sophie on Top of Long Creek Falls

Iz by herself speck.

Iz on Top of Long Creek Falls

In urban areas, people apply grafitti with spray cans. In the woods, they etch it directly into the rock.

Long Creek Falls Graffiti

On Stone Mountain, I've seen such graffiti dated from the mid 1800's. No telling how old this graffiti is, but the AT there was once a road, with settlements all up and down it, so some of the etchings could easily date back that far.

At one point Kathryn was trying to remember where the falls was with the "tree in the middle of the water". I assumed she meant Sea Creek Falls, and since it wasn't terribly far away, we went there too.

Sea Creek Falls

On the way in we passed two women and a small herd of kids hiking out. This seemed odd at first because there were no vehicles in the lot other than ours. But I was distracted from that thought by another thing that seemed odd... Both women were armed with revolvers! They were otherwise friendly though, and after passing them, we didn't think about it again for a while.

At the falls, recent flooding had moved "the tree" downstream about 50 feet and deposited several metric tons of rock and gravel along the outer edge of the pool. This rock and gravel contained hundreds of stones ideal for skipping, and we did plenty of that, for plenty of time.

Skipping Rocks at Sea Creek Falls

At a point, one grows hungry, and weary of skipping stones, and at that point we headed back out. We solved mystery of where the families we'd seen earlier came from as well, as we saw them all running around in the yard of the nearest house.

Thinking back to the women with the guns reminded me of something...

There's a lady who lives near Bull Mountain and hikes there all the time. I've run into her on the trail a dozen times or more and talked with her for a while on a few occasions. One time I told her how I ride all over the place up there - trails and roads, and she told me she'd be terrified to do that. She'd lived up there her whole life, was well familiar with her neighbors' territorial fear aggression, and cited their expressed intend to murder various forest users. To my knowledge though, no such thing has happened in modern times, despite tens or hundreds of thousands of opportunities. In fact, I only know of 1 case in Georgia where anyone's even been directly threatened. Further, with the exception of specific activists, almost everyone I've encountered in or around the forest has been overtly friendly, independent of what we were both doing. Even further, except for having talked to her about it, I'd have been oblivious to the entire prospect of danger.

My analysis... If I may quote Ice-T: "some brothers talk a mean fight but fight like ho's". Or, to translate - some people make fantastic claims about their intent to murder, but wouldn't actually follow through on those claims, even given the opportunity. I know this about people, and it would seem to apply in this situation.

But, it's easy for an outsider to dismiss the threat. We base it on objective evidence, limited personal experience, generic analysis of human nature, and perhaps some amount of naivete. I imagine that it's more difficult to dismiss if you know the people making the threats. They're part of your community, you have to trust them to some extent to live with them, and tend to take them seriously, threats included, and that trumps other factors.

It made me wonder if the women we saw earlier were protecting themselves against a generic threat - the random looney in the woods - or if they felt like they needed to protect themselves against specific people they knew. If the latter, I wondered how prevalent that was. How many people who live in remote areas live in fear of their neighbors?

I wondered how self-perpetuating it was too... 1) I'm scared of a specific threat so I should arm myself. 2) Hmm, she's armed for some reason, maybe I should be armed too. 3) Goodness, people walk around here with guns, I'm now scared. Goto 1.

At any rate, we mulled this over on the drive back.

The drive back made Kathryn ill too, as she is a lightweight when it comes to twisty mountain roads. Ha!

Heck of a day though, just like old times. Kathryn's recovered well enough to start getting back into hiking too. There could very well be more "old times" to come.

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