Thursday, April 1, 2010
Tallulah: "You don't want to lose her" (early Spring in high places, part 1)
There are many natural and geologic features that come together in the corner where Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina meet. It is the southeastern edge escarpment of the Appalachian range, so there are lots of waterfalls and breaks as you move from southwest to northeast, far too many to visit on a single trip! There are some really beautiful ones in each state. The falls on the Tallulah River are one set of the most famous in Georgia, partly because of a major road (and once, railroad) going north-south through her, partly because it is a really major drop in such a short distance (almost 1000 feet!) and travelers can see this from the old road.
Like many others I had passed by many times, but, as in the song of Trahlyta, on this cloudy, rainy day I had to stop and leave a stone. The park itself was almost empty but the rain stopped as soon as I walked in. So on down into the gorge I went, more than three hundred steps down past L'eau D'or Falls and Tempesta Falls on the way to Hurricane Falls.
Somewhere along the way the north and south rim trails cross the river gorge by a bridge. You can look down and see Hurricane Falls, far below. Like at the falls of Cloudland Canyon at Rising Fawn, to face the crashing water alone is wildly spiritual.
Unlike the rounded bowl of rock below Cloudland's falls, and many of the falls in the Tennessee Valley, the rocks down here are of more sharp diagonal lines, pushing downward as a fault, and you may wish to listen for the the stories of Gorge's creation. Tallulah's childhood was believably difficult, and she had more breakups and breakdowns than her big sister Chattooga - who herself had a change of destination partway through her early life possibly due to the same event...
Trails on the rim are made from recycled rubber...
For more on Tallulah Gorge:
(botanical and geological history especially)
Next: The transition to Spring is slower in high places - Part 2, Dark Days at Black Rock Mtn