lthough a Georgia resident for three years, I’d only visited one or two state parks, so decided to check out the surrounding hotspots while still in the area. Tallulah Falls has been called “the Niagara of the South”. Since I’d been to Niagara Falls dozens of times in the past, I decided to put Tallulah Falls to the test.
Unfortunately, the falls is dammed up for use by Georgia Power most of the year to supply power to Atlanta and surrounding towns. Water release dates are publicized so that white water rafters and other visitors to the park can partake of the full glory of the Tallulah River. However, there were still plenty of recreational opportunities within the park to make it one of my favorite state park visits ever.
Today I arrived at the Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center at 8:30 am to get one of the 100 gorge floor hiking permits allotted per day. However, there was a gully washer of a rainstorm last night, and permits were being held until later in the day when things dried out a bit. If there’s anything I’ve learned about being a full-time RVer, it’s to be flexible. We live so close to nature that it dictates our activities more so than most. So I opted for a hike down the rim of the gorge, down several hundred steps, across an 80’ suspension bridge, up the other side, and back via the other rim.
It was about 3-4 miles altogether, and a challenging vertical hike on well-constructed stairways, yet retained the beauty of walking in the woods with several waterfall lookout points. In this photo, you can see the suspension bridge in the center.
Yesterday I used my new inflatable kayak to traverse Tallulah Lake. Another solo female kayaker, Ali, pulled up in the parking lot at the same time, and offered to help me set it up. It wasn’t difficult with my new double action hand pump. I am quite pleased with the sturdy construction of this kayak by Advanced Elements, it’s portability, and that it easily stows away in my cargo bay.
The only downside vs. a “regular” kayak is it took a full day in the sun to dry out thoroughly, once I had dismantled the sections. Ali kindly snapped a photo for me when we met again on the water. We had the lake to ourselves, except for a handful of swimmers in the shallow roped off swimming area, and a family of Canada geese. There was a gorgeous stone bridge across the waters, and fishermen on the other side, so I didn’t disturb their lines in order to explore the cove.
As wonderful as the hiking and paddling is here, I am most impressed with the campground. Operated by Georgia Power, our camp hosts have been here for 7 seasons and keep the grounds and facilities immaculately clean. There are several pull through sites bordered by mature trees and mulched sections, each with a concrete picnic table, fire ring, grill, and trash can. The hookups are 30 & 50 amps with fresh water and a common dump station. I used the nearby laundry to wash a load for $1.50 and dry for $1.00. Verizon service was at 4 bars and 3G all week.
A kindly couple stopped by my first day and he said “You’re a new RVer, right?”. “Yep. How can you tell?” I was afraid of the answer, but he noted that I was planning to go hiking with my awning still extended. There was only a 20% chance of rain, and my awning is supposed to collapse itself when filled with water, but I humored the guy and rolled it away. “What else?” I queried. “You don’t have your stabilizer jacks extended.” I thought they were optional and Gypsy wasn’t swaying too much when I walked through her, but I dutifully extended the two front jacks. “What else?” I was determined to glean this seasoned veteran’s knowledge. He gave me one or two more tips.
Overall, my neighbors have been more than kind and willing to share stories. That’s part of my mission as I travel the U.S. – to restore my faith in humanity, share myself with others, and see who shows up. So far, I’ve been overwhelmed with friendly folks. Gotta go now – my newest neighbors, Debbie & Joe, and their little dog, Harley, have invited me over to their campfire for marshmallows.