Traveling Georgia Peach hits the road in our new travel vehicle.
It was still relatively early Friday evening as I headed home after a long day in the classroom ( I teach third grade). I was thankful that I evacuated the building at 4:45 seeing as PTO was having a movie night starting at 5:00. I made a mad dash out of there just in time to avoid the stampede of families filling in the parking lot and possibly trapping me there until after the movie.
I made it home and began loading the camper, which was looking rather homey in my driveway. I packed my trusty Wenger backpack with necessary hiking clothes and sleeping attire, I even threw in a hairbrush thinking that I possibly might want to use one (I had forgotten one in Glacier and went without the entire week adhering to the whole “hiking hair, don’t care” mantra. Then I grabbed my MountainSmith camera pack and chose two cameras and two lenses to bring along. I wanted to try out capturing the Milky Way since I had never attempted that before. I grabbed both my Salomon and Merrell hiking shoes and a cheap pair of flip flops to have at the campsite. My husband had stopped by the store and picked up some delicious camping food. Nothing but the best for our delicate palettes, we were prepared. We jumped in the Traveling Peach mobile and headed up towards Clayton. We were on the way to Black Rock Mountain State Park, this was one park that neither of us had ventured to.
We made it there in no time flat, that’s about seven my time. We then did the difficult task of hooking up the water and the electricity, waaa laaa, done! This set up was so simple I think my third grade students could handle it, well okay, maybe not that simple. So now it was time to pop a top and kick back and have some fancy camp cooking. We grabbed that can opener and pried off the Dinty More Beef Stew lid and warmed up our meal. Best dinner ever, I mean we are camping, so everything tastes better! I guzzled down my lime flavored drink and popped a couple NyQuils, and before I knew it I was in lala land.
A moment later my phone was going off and a message was awaiting me from my daughter that she was leaving for work! Goodness it was morning so soon. I lingered under the warm covers lying against my husband and then later crawled out of the covers to start our day. My husband is a gourmet cook and he decided to start the daunting task of making biscuits and gravy from a box and packet. Let me tell you those were some great stove top biscuits. I inhaled mine because, well, I’m a teacher and I don’t know the meaning of eat slowly and savor each morsel. That and I have no patience, I am ready to SEIZE the day! I throw on a cute camping shirt that my loving husband ordered for us and then donned my sparkling Merrells. We were READY!!!
One problem….no water bottles. So we headed up to the trading post ….which was closed. Then we headed towards the visitors center, we didn’t realize there was a trail there until after walking up the winding road to the visitor center. We checked out the gorgeous mountain view then headed inside. It was packed with a boy-scout troups and Indian family reunion and many other visitors. The visitor center didn’t have drinks for sale there but luckily just outside there was a Coke machine. My husband waited in the long line to get change in order to buy drinks for our hike. He got his change and asked for my request. “water please”. He then went in and came back with two cool bottles of water and stated that he had waited in line when the machine accepted a credit card! Who would have thunk it? Not I, but now I know.
Finally we are ready to hit the trail. We decided to hike the James Edmond trail which was a nice 7.2 mile loop and then complete the lake trail as well. We headed down to the entrance and we saw the sign posted that this trail was rated “most difficult”. LOL who are they kidding, I have hiked in Banff and Switzerland, this will be pie! We began our ascent spotting many ferns and flowers. The forest was particularly green even though Georgia is in an extreme drought. We continued onward and upward, the trail continued upward and upward. Once I thought I was near a peak I would reach it and then see it just continued higher. I began to wonder how the Himalayas were in Georgia and why they weren’t as barren as the pictures I’d seen.
We trudged on upward, I was desperately looking forward to seeing the highest lake in Georgia, Black Rock Mountain Lake. We made it up there and it was a small lake that had some kind of water filter in the middle. On the far side was the ridge of the dam where a small church sat. My husband and I ambled up there to see if it was picturesque. The church was quaint but didn’t have the backdrop I had wanted, so I headed back down and captured a good reflection picture and then I stumbled across a lost glove positioned in an” I Love You” pose. I had to take a picture of that as well.
After circling the small small lake we ventured back to the Edmond’s trail, we continued walking in what seemed a constant incline. The soil was eroded and we hiked up trenches and gorges. I had to grasp on to trees to help my short legs make the deep steps. I know the trail map showed elevation changes and downhills but to my recollection it was uphill both ways. Now I see where my parents came up with these sayings!
The Georgia heat sucked out all moisture from my body and I took small sips of water trying to conserve what little I had brought. We made it to the top and sat along the black rock taking in the vistas. There were many mountains around, with clouds casting shadows on them. There was a small town down below and some kind of unsightly factory. Overall it was beautiful and worth the hike up. We snapped some pictures and sat and rested not thinking of the trip back. There were these little no-see-um bugs chewing on our legs so we didn’t sit long. We began our trek back.
As we headed back the heat was even more relentless, I regretted starting our hike so late. My little bottle was near empty and my husband was trying to conserve his because he’s a gentleman and he knows how quickly I overheat and he wanted it there in case I needed it. However, I am one tough cookie too. I was fighting off a headache from the exertion compiled with the heat. There were parts of the trail where I felt I was okay and recovering but then out of nowhere there was a steep climb again. We continued on, me trying not to complain and wondering why we chose this trail and my husband randomly asking if I was okay. If he continues asking HE may not be okay. I knew he was just checking on me but that makes me feel even weaker and at this point I’m really thirsty and I could kick myself for not bringing my water tablets. I mean what good are they back in the camper?!?
We continue on the trail and I point out flowers and trees and birds that I see just to make small talk and sometimes to just stand still and catch my breath. I wonder if he knows that is what I am doing, I assume so. We amble on and I point out a game trail. Nathan, my husband, laughingly jokes, “you mean a bear trail.” At that moment I spot three bears, and tell Nathan, “Look! Bears. One, Two and one more.” They must have known we were there the larger one stood on its hind legs and smelled the air with his brown tipped nose then the other two took off and the third followed. Nathan and I both tried to get pictures on our cell phones. I was so annoyed, here I run across bears again and my camera is in my backpack! When am I going to learn?
We start heading upward a-g-a-i-n talking about what had just happened. He asked, “are you going to write about this?” “Yes, of course!” The bear siting was a great ending to a long hike. I really wasn’t sure how I’d feel the next day, but we planned on doing the shorter 2.2 hike which was rated “more difficult”. I thought I can do that after completing a hike that was rated “most difficult”, this will be cake!