I finally made it back to Atlanta. O, how I miss this motherland. All I could think about were the mountains and the rushing rivers. I couldn’t wait to be a part of Georgia’s natural beauty. I prematurely researched the parks I planned to visit and studied the photos with anticipation. I just couldn’t wait to get there.
The best part about the hotel that I stay at is the fact that the gorgeous Sweetwater Creek State Park is literally around the corner. I figured for a $5 entrance fee, I’d treat it like I do the parks back home. If I want to just spend an afternoon sunbathing before a great lake, I’d just hop in the car and go around the corner. If I’m up for a little strenuous hike, I’d pay to get into the other part of the park and take a stroll through the hidden hills of Georgia.
Growing up in Florida, I’m used to flatlands, bridges, and streams. When I visit Georgia and see a hill, I jump around like a dog who knows they are headed to the park. What is it about elevated landscapes that seem to have me on such a high? What is it about the sight of a mountain that makes me feel like I’m flying? What is it about rushing rivers that create a surge of energy in me?
Sweetwater Creek is my getaway; my paradise. As I continue to explore other parks and their wonders, I will always come back to Sweetwater Creek because it is a treasure like no other. Well, at least until I really get to traveling around and see the beauty of my planet.
This week has been insane trying to escape the path of Hurricane Irma by fleeing to Atlanta, Georgia. Well, to be honest, I was headed to a Matt Wertz gig at Atlanta’s City Winery (which is amazing by the way) so my trip had a purpose before the hurricane.
The next day I wanted to visit a state park somewhere, the place I had my eye on was Talulah Gorge State Park because of the suspension bridge and the rapid water racing beneath it. It was two hours north of Atlanta and the city was still packed with evacuees who had flooded the popular area. After some debating, I decided, “what the heck? Let’s do it!” The night before I left, I browsed the images of the park so I’d know exactly what I was getting myself into. Everything was great until I ran into their warning sign.
Basically, it warns that in order to get to the lookouts and the better views of the waterfall, you have to descend a great deal of steps. To get to the suspension bridge, you had to go down 620 steps and to get to the Hurricane Falls, you had to go down 1,062 steps. It advises anyone with health conditions not to take the chance. Of course, no one listened. Apparently, they felt if they drove all this way and paid to enter the park then they were going to get their money worth. I already knew the steps were going to break me, but I just had to see the better view. I knew I’d probably kill myself trying to master a thousand steps so I decided I’d just go to the suspension bridge and turn around, and thank goodness I did. The view was perfect enough…
After getting everything I needed, I was ready to head back up the grueling 620 steps. It nearly killed me. I’m not a fitness junkie, I eat junk food for a living and I’m well overweight so I was nowhere near ready for this. My heart was pounding so hard I thought it was burst. I took a break after every fifteen steps or so. I should have taken it as a sign when I saw the faces of those who went down before me come back up. Most of them had to be dragged or pushed up by friends and family in order to make it back to the top. My best friend was a canteen of water and the stair rails.
Believe me, when I tell you, don’t do more than you know you can handle. Going down may seem like a breeze but going back up literally feels like you’re climbing the side of the mountain.