It is getting to be time to head for the hills to try to get cooler. Don’t doubt it—the day is coming. But to cool your heels in green vales, cross the river and rest in the shade of the tree, you barely have to cross the line. The North Georgia mountains offer many pleasant opportunities.
Catch a hike on the Appalachian Trail. Not all the remote hollows have been turned into upscale developments. Walsi-Yi and Vogel State Park still offer quaint CCC period effects right down to the stonework. Driving the winding roads ifs fun as long as you don’t run over any motorcyclists while you are gawking at the cliff walls of rhododendron and mountain laurel that are now blooming. Stop and look for the rarer trillium.
If you can’t find good home cooking like the Smith House in Dahlonega, you will find endless varieties of Q. In Blairsville alone there is Smokin Jim, Rib Country, and BJ’s in the old Owltown country store.
Better yet, and healthier too, go trout fishing in a cold mountain stream. It’s fly fishing season. You can swim in freezing cold lakes and even stand under waterfalls. And, if you get half a chance, just drink the pure spring water.
Watch out for bears, but don’t forget it is now getting to be berry-picking time as well. The black raspberries are about to pop, and even a few mountain blackberries have ripened.
Speaking of fruit, you can get decent wine made in Georgia unlike some states we know, and many wineries have nice restaurants with mountain views. Wolf Mountain and Frog Hollow come to mind. If you can find any wine from the former Persimmon Creek winery, snatch it up, especially the Seyval Blanc they used to serve at the Ritz-Carlton Buckhead and The Cloister. While most off-state wines are watery and lacking in structure and definite fixing of even the fruit flavors, much less bitter notes for complexity, Tiger Mountain now makes a Cabernet Franc that can stand its ground—a point that could not be conceded three years ago.
Well a wine tour of Lake Rabun doesn’t sound half bad. You might even be able to do some recruiting for your team.
Here are waterfalls you can hike to in Union County alone:
DeSoto Falls. Legend tells of piece Spanish armor found near the falls that possibly belonged to explorer Fernando DeSoto or one of his men, during their hunt for gold. DeSoto Falls consist of five waterfalls located within a 650-acre recreation area. Three of the five waterfalls are along hiking trails that are maintained for easy access. The lower falls cascade about 20 feet. The middle falls drop 80 feet and is considered to be the most scenic. The upper falls drop 200 feet down a granite rock incline.
Helton Creek Falls. The upper and and lower Helton are contained along a .3 mile trail. These falls are easy to reach.
A well maintained trial follows the right bank of Helton Creek, along the extended drop of the lower falls, then comes to a dead end at the base pool of the spectacular 100 ft. vertical drop of the upper Helton Creek Falls.
Trahlyta Falls. Directly below Lake Trahlyta in Vogel State Park is a stepping stone waterfall. Go south from Blairsville, Union County Georgia on US 19/129 for eleven miles. Just before the entrance to Vogel State Park on the right is a one lane pullover where you can view the falls from above.
Look for more information about our mountain neighbors appearing on www.bhamweekly.com Photos by Stephen Humphreys