Double Dippin’

For two weekends in a row we’ve made it up to northeast GA for some relaxation and fun. First we went to Dillard to stay at a friend’s house and enjoy the local Bluegrass and BBQ festival (warning site plays music) on Saturday. It’s actually more a of a competition for the BBQers and some of them let us sample the goods. Just when we thought we were too stuffed to move we all decided to head out on a country bike ride. That got us in the mood for dinner. I should also mention that we attended a lecture on GA snakes at the lovely Hambige Creative Center for Arts and Sciences. On the day we visited they were also beginning a day and half long session of managing a once-a-year wood-fired kiln bake. They get the temperature up to over 2000F to bake their pottery. When they do a ‘charge’ the smoke billows out the chimney at the back of the kiln.

This last weekend we headed up near Clayton for a day trip to two absolutely perfect GA swimming holes. Neither of them made the list in the most recent Blue Ridge Outdoors but should be checked out. The whole day was really planned around making it to Tallulah Gorge. Since we would be able to leave Mali at home we’d finally be able to make a trip to the bottom of the gorge to the famous water slide rock for some fun in the sun. Besides no dogs there are other restrictions you should know about before driving up there. First you have to get there early. They only hand out 100 passes each day to get to the bottom of the Gorge (where the fun is) and we saw a group of people get ticketed for not having passes ($100 each). Second, no flip flops. They consider the hike to the bottom serious effort and thus mandate serious footwear. A member of our party had to return to the car and put on her Chacos before we could get on the list for a pass. Keens and Chacos are approved and good idea since you can hike in them and wear them in the water. Finally if there is a drop of rain they shut it down. It must be completely dry for them to allow people to hike down.

Before I get to far I should tell you about the first spot we hit. Actually first we stopped at The gorge to get our passes but did not hike down. Instead he drove down the road to Panther Creek. We did this to avoid the early crowds at Tallulah. At PAnther Creek we enjoyed a easy/moderate hike in and were rewarded with a waterfall and pool next to which we ate lunch. There were a few people there who had camped nearby the night before. It seems like a good spot to get to and chill out.

After Panther Creek he hiked out and headed to Tallulah. I had heard so much about the place, I was pretty excited to experience it first hand. Plus the 90+ degree heat made the water at the bottom all the more rewarding. Leaving the visitor center you descend more than 500 stairs and reach the permit only section. Here you begin the scrambling over rocks and across creeks to the final destination. It’s a long rock slide that you can ride down in several places into the final pool. As was stated, the only thing missing from this place is a high platform from which to dive in. We all swam for a bit and then relaxed on the rocks as we pretty much had the place all to ourselves. Some of us dozed off for a bit, the last thing on our minds were those 500+ steps that awaited. Finally we headed back to the cars. From there we hit up Manriques in Clayton for the second week in a row (a must try little Mexican joint).

This week end Lauren heads to New England and I’m trying to figure out ways to make it three in a row.

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