Earth Day Weekend Recap

April 24, 2018lifewithcattitude

Happy [rainy] Monday, my friends!

Oh boy oh boy oh boy do I have quite the weekend recap for you today!

Travis finally got to come home after three straight weeks of work, and we made the best of every single minute we could! A week from this past Thursday, we found out he wouldn’t be able to come home on his regular schedule and he’d be pushed back to this past weekend, so he offered to take us both away for a weekend in Pigeon Forge. We were so excited, but then I realized I had already RSVPed us for a party with my old coworkers from Stone Mountain (notoriously really fun) for Friday night, so we’d have to think of another trip that only required a one night stay.

After some brainstorming, I came up with the idea to hike the Tallulah Falls gorge. For those who have never been to Georgia, Tallulah Falls is a beautiful area in north Georgia that I actually passed through on my way to and from college, and I always wanted to stop in to explore, but never got around to it. Travis and I had been thinking of places to hike when it finally warmed back up, and I figured this past weekend would be perfect!

We also decided to bring his family’s dog, Courage, to hike the trail with us and give him some good exercise and some special alone time. We booked ourselves one night at a pet friendly hotel and looked at pictures gearing up our excitement. On Thursday, the day before Travis was coming home, I decided to find out what time we needed to get to the trail to get a permit to hike the gorge and I read the most heart-dropping sentence: “Pets not welcome on the gorge floor.” WHOMP WHOMP.

I called Travis on my break to let him know and we decided to find another pet friendly trail, and after a little research in between calls at work, I found what looked to be a beautiful trail (spoiler alert, it greatly exceeded my expectations) about 30 minutes past Tallulah Falls called the Beegum Gap at Rabun Bald. The website said, “moderate difficulty, pet-friendly, breathtaking view.” I was intrigued, and informed Travis of the change in plans, to which he responded positively, so we were all ready for our weekend!

Friday night, Travis rolled in a little before 8 because they ran a little behind at work, but it was all good! We showed up to the party and we had ourselves a grand old time! I’ve been to several parties with this crew in the past, back when we all worked together. We swapped gossip stories while sipping our drinks, played some beer pong, ate junk food, and played some card games. Travis actually enjoyed himself too! He normally doesn’t like big parties with people he doesn’t know, but he talked and laughed with everyone!

 

 

Since we had lots to do in the morning, we called it a night around 11:30 and headed back to his place to rest up and get ready for our trip!

We woke up Saturday morning and packed the car with our hiking supplies, Courage’s food and water, a blanket, snacks, and Courage himself!

Because he only had a collar and he’s not very leash trained, we needed to get him a harness so he wasn’t choking himself by constantly running ahead on the trail. The harness we chose was pretty much the right size, but his skin was so loose that it kept slipping off and we had to stop every 100 feet to fix it for about the first half mile, until we finally adjusted it so it wouldn’t slip so easily. We also got Courage some treats and bones, and then we got some last-minute snacks for us, and we were off! It was a beautiful day and there were adventures to be had! It took us about an hour and a half to get to the trail. When we finally got to the trail and parked, it was already so quiet and serene. We were literally in the middle of nowhere. With nowhere else to go, once we gave Courage some water, I slipped my camera around my neck, gathered up the snacks and water, and we started walking.

The first ¾ mile was fairly easy. The hills weren’t too steep. Courage stopped every few feet to sniff and mark his territory. We could already see the view through the trees, and it just made us all the more excited to get to the top. Around the halfway mark, the climb got noticeably steeper with more climbing on rocks to progress.

 

We made it past the halfway point before we took about a five-minute rest to drink some water. As we got further up, the trees were forming somewhat of a tunnel effect.

If any of you have climbed Stone Mountain, it was similar to hiking there in that it got very step towards the end, and when we got to the top and saw the stairs to the overlook, we were excited! The stairs were incredibly steep, but once we finally got to the top, it’s like the whole world stopped.

If any of you have ever driven or hiked on the Blue Ridge Parkway, I’d dare say this view is even better than that. It is a full 360 degree panoramic view of the Georgia and North Carolina mountains.

It was so quiet and peaceful. Travis and I both plopped on a bench to catch our breath and just take in the view.

I bought these bars on our way up and they are delicious!

My sweet boys <3

Courage walked around the deck sniffing all the people. A couple with a big German short-haired pointer walked up and instantly Travis and I both panicked because we didn’t know how he was going to react. The pointer was so sweet and only sniffed Courage, and Courage didn’t freak out! He didn’t bark or growl even once! We were so proud, and we talked with the owners while we took turns taking pictures. They were a really nice couple and their dog was the biggest sweetheart! Kurt, Jill, and Remy; how cute??

Once we caught our breath, took enough pictures (Travis was fine with just one and I politely told him that he should go ahead and get used to the fact that his “just one picture” days are over now that he’s with me), fed Courage and let him sniff around, we turned around and headed back down. We had to carry Courage for about a quarter mile because he started to slow down, but once he saw another dog and caught his breath, he got a second wind!

I’m going to pause right here for a PSA: guys, if someone recommends you get a pair of boots for hiking, listen to them. Travis has been hounding me to get a pair of boots for “logical” reasons, and I kept shaking it off. This past hike really put it into perspective for me, because I couldn’t even feel my legs once the hike was over. My hips were very tight and my ankles were sore from the impact of stepping down on the rocks. The next time we go on a hike, I will be wearing a legitimate pair of hiking boots.

Courage was sooooo tired on the drive back to our hotel!

We checked into our hotel, Country Hearth Inn and Suites in Taccoa, Georgia, yet ANOTHER place that I frequently passed on my trips between Brevard, NC and Atlanta, GA and had never actually visited. I’m also going to throw out that if you find yourself in this area, you absolutely want to stay at this hotel. It’s the cutest little mom-and-pop looking hotel with some of the sweetest ladies at the front desk! They made sure it was a smooth check-in and check-out, the room was very clean, and the pet deposit was very cheap! When they said “pet friendly,” they MEANT it! Once we checked in, we were pretty much bed-ridden for the rest of the night because we were so tired, so we curled up with my laptop and some beer and binge watched Bob’s Burgers.

We got up and checked out the next morning, stopped for some McDonald’s, and then headed home to drop off Courage so he could see the family we know he had been missing because he cried most of the way home.

After we dropped Courage off, Travis and I headed back out so I could get some errands done. We cleaned out my car and took it to get washed and detailed, something I knew my car desperately needed.

After that we took my mom to dinner at my favorite local restaurant in Flowery Branch, called Crossroads. They have an appetizer of fried macaroni and cheese served with a buffalo ranch sauce (of which I did not take a picture) and then I also got a delicious bacon cheeseburger with some homemade BBQ sauce!

We thought about going to see a movie, but we opted for curling up on the couch and playing some video games until it was time for me to go home and say goodbye to Travis since he’d be leaving early Monday morning to head back to work.

Overall, this is far and away the best weekend I’ve had in a while! Both my boys had a great weekend, and I’m very excited that it’s warming up so we can go hiking more often when Travis comes home! If you ever find yourself in Rabun County, please please PLEASE hike this trail! It’s fairly grueling, especially towards the end, but the view is so worth it. Not to mention it’s an amazing workout! My closing questions as we begin a new week:

  1.       What is/was your favorite place to hike?
  2.       Do you love to take your dog?
  3.       Where is a place you want to hike in the future?

Tell me in the comments below!

 

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