It felt so good to hike. Open space, greenery, fresh air and big rocks; it made me feel like I was part of nature. My hiking partner included me and my husband. Like me, he too is an enthusiast when it comes to hiking. So, it was easy to plan and go. On this morning we got our backpacks ready, dogs fed (did not take them this time), us fed and we were on our way. This mountain we were to hike is practically in our backyard…two hour drive from where we live. Our drive was split: one half on the highway and the other half on two-lane roads curving up and down the mountains. Oh, the curvy roads give me headaches and motion sickness, unless I’m the driver. So when the winding roads began, my husband became the passenger, and I, the driver.
The thing is that once I am in the mountains, all feels good – My headaches and motion sickness instantly leaves my body. The great view and openness brings tremendous feelings of joy and freedom in me. It’s all good times after that.
Cloudland Canyon is located in Rising Fawn, GA, on the western edge of lookout Mountains in the northwest corner of Georgia. It was established in 1938. The 3,538 acre state park includes rugged canyons, dense forest, abundant wildlife, cascades, waterfalls, wild caves, and numerous recreational opportunities, according to Cloudland Canyon State Park Trail Map.
This hike offered great views with good challenges. The beautiful mountain top views, its vastness, blue skies up above, greenery all around, and the fresh air was all I needed! We also got to see, up close, the unique vegetation on wet rocks, and got to touch some big rocks. I would definitely recommend Cloudland Canyon if you are up for a good workout day or to just enjoy the beauty of it all.
A $5 entry fee got us in and in a few minutes we were at the Main Trail Head. Before starting, we ate our sandwiches on a picnic bench and reviewed the map. We picked two trails to do – Waterfalls Trail (strenuous) involves 600 steps one way. The number 600 really means nothing until you get on them. The second trail we picked was the West Rim Loop Trail (moderately strenuous); it was formerly rated as one of the top ten hikes in the U.S. by Backpacker Magazine. This one was hiking through marked trail with wilderness all around. There were spots where you could walk to the edge of the trail to see the vastness of it all.
Fueled and energized we started with Waterfalls Trail. The day was hot, in the high 80s. But felt good because of the shade provided by the trees. And, that slight breeze made it all good.
Going down these never-ending steps could challenge your mind a bit. These steps are made where you cannot slip, and water falls right through the rectangular holes in them. So while going down you can see through them and you can see the deep bottom…that’s where your mind has to look elsewhere for a bit to gain balance and orientation. It’s a lot of going down, down, and many more downs. Coming back up just as challenging. We had to take a couple of short breaks during our climb back up. These little stops gave us a moment to catch our breaths and replenish our bodies with electrolytes and water. This trail took about hour and a half, and was well worth our time and effort.
Next, we continued on the West Rim Loop Trail. And, this one felt long. It’s a 5-mile loop trail with several overlooks to explore the scenery of the canyon. It was gorgeous. The trail got narrow at places, but a very safe trek. We went over a tiny wood bridge and climbed up some huge mountain-like rocks … it was so much fun. This hiking challenge was well worth it. Once we completed the loop, we took a break at one of the big rocks overlooking the canyon. We ate our snack as we enjoyed the mountain beauty and the breeze, which felt really good on our sweaty bodies.
Our snack included orange wedges, peanuts, and a protein bar. We hydrated ourselves again. (I made sure we were well hydrated throughout our hike). After this short but very relaxing break, our hike continued for another hour to reach back to the Main Trail Head. That turned out to be a good 3-hour hike.
Sitting at the overlook eating my orange wedges is when I decided that I’ll write about my experience. I thought to share my experience so you may want to go hike a mountain near you. You will not be disappointed. I can tell you that no matter where I hike, local or not, it’s always an awesome experience. I feel my being merging with nature…no better feeling than that!
A few photos from our hike:
…thank you for visiting Coaching My Life To Healthy blog…until next time…:)