A couple of weeks ago, I spent the day kicking around the woods with a girlfriend who drove up from the Atlanta ‘burbs. The original goal was simply to get out with our cameras, but we decided to tie in some good ol’ exercise, too. I originally planned to take her up to Vogel State Park and DeSoto Falls, but when I checked the weather that morning the wind chill in Blairsville was 18. I grew up in Northern Virginia, so I’m no stranger to temperatures in the teens in the winter. However, when I left Virginia I left behind all my ice scrapers, snow shovels and gave away most of my cold weather gear because someone told me it didn’t get that cold in Georgia. Man, I wish I could remember who it was because I’ve got a bone to pick with them. Anyway, screw temperatures in the teens. I looked up Helen, and believe it or not it was even warmer there than in Dahlonega. So, off to Helen we went!
I absolutely love Anna Ruby Falls no matter how many times I visit. I’m pretty sure I’ve even posted about it here before, but it’s worth another mention. The paved trail leading up to the falls is about a half a mile, and parts of it do get a little steep. There are beautiful benches spaced just far enough apart that by the time you start to think, “Holy !@#$!” a stone bench juts out in front of you from the mountain. OK, maybe people in better shape than me don’t think that, but I usually do. This time, I was surprised to find I didn’t need to stop at all. Score one for healthier living! We meandered up to the falls, taking photos all along the way, and then found our way back down.
When we got back to the parking area, we decided to do the lake trail that wraps around Unicoi Lake in Unicoi State Park. Despite the drop in elevation, it felt much colder out in the open with the wind blowing, but we pressed on. The path is a nice two and a half mile walk in the woods. It gently rolls around the perimeter of the lake with plenty of places along the way to stop and take in the peaceful scenery. And, if you’re into that kind of thing, take photos. The only wildlife we spotted was a single heron perched on some branches sticking out of the water, but we encountered a few other brave hikers along the way.
Once we finished up the hike at Unicoi, we did the only sane thing we could think of and rewarded ourselves with some yummy food and beers in Helen. I mean, we earned it, right?!?! Uh-huh. I thought so, too.
Anyone who knows me knows that I’m constantly on about how incredible it is to live in the North Georgia mountains, but days like the one described here make me feel like the luckiest person in the world. Beautiful scenery, quality time spent with a friend I don’t see often enough, and beer. What more could a girl want?