Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tallualah Gorge

(By Steve)  One of the places that was high on my list for this adventure was Tallualah Gorge in far Northeast Georgia.   It worked out by chance that it was very close to the condo where we can stay for free (at least no additional cost).   I knew that the hiking would be hard at the gorge so I planned to go alone since the rest of the family needed some downtime.   On the day I was leaving, I let Alyssa know she was welcome to come with me as she is probably the most adventurous of my kids.   She accepted, so we headed off mid morning.

We paid our $5 and went to the visitor center.  There is alot of good info about the area there, but we headed straight to the permit station.  You have to get a free permit to hike to the canyon floor, and the ranger does his best to scare you about the dangers you will be facing.   Undeterred, we headed for the trail to the bottom.   Alyssa was full of energy and was nearly flying down the steps.   The steps go way down to a suspension bridge that crosses the river.   From there we crossed the bridge and headed down another set of steps to the point where a permit is required to go further.

It gets interesting crossing the river at that point.  The rocks are really slippery from so many people walking over them.   It was here that we had to toss Alyssa's shoes to the other side so they wouldn't get wet.   On the second throw, I hit a sloped rock and the shoe slid down into the water.  I was barely able to retrieve it, and the funny thing was that it floated, so the inside stayed dry!

She was off like a rocket down the steps.
The rocks were slippery from many hands touching them.
The path continues along the rivers edge over and around huge rocks.   There are several waterfalls that you pass along the way.   After a little while you come to the what is called Bridal Veil Falls (like the third falls we have seen with that name), but this place is better know as Sliding Rock.

This is the trail along the side of the river.
This falls was a little too steep and rocky for sliding.
There was a group of people there when we arrived, so we were able to see that it was perfectly safe to slide down.  Alyssa quickly took off and went a few times while I ate some lunch.   One of the guys ahead of us was amazed because he said it took him a half hour to work up the nerve to slide down and Alyssa went right away.  Our little dilemma though was that neither of us had thought to bring swimsuits.  I had Alyssa go in her shorts which were old anyway.   I was wearing my good shorts so I asked the one girl in the group if she would be offended if I went down in my boxer briefs.

The sliding rock!
It gets really fast at the end!
I went down at least 10 times or more.   Alyssa probably went down closer to 15.   It was lots of fun.  It starts slow at first then gets really fast right before you plunge into the deeper water.   The water was pretty cold, and there were lots and lots of tiny leeches but it was still worth it.   When we were ready to go, it was quite a challenge to get all of our dry clothes across the river dry.  We managed to do it except for my boots which got soaked.
Alyssa went down over and over.
The hike back up was nearly straight up among large boulders.   Once at the top, we still had to hike all the way around the top of the gorge to the visitors center.

This is the trail back up.

A couple days later, we all went back as a family so that Linda could see the gorge.  She took the big girls and hiked down to the suspension bridge while I watched the littles.  For some reason the gorge floor trail was closed the second time we went, so I was really glad that we went when we did.  


The Bakers said...

Absolutely beautiful!! Tallulah Gorge is definitely on my list of places to visit. Thank you for sharing!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful !!!!!