Last year on May 23rd, Colin and I flew out to Denver to get married. Two days later on May 25th 2013, we were married at the top of Pikes Peak, 14,000 ft at the edge of the world!
This year as we approached our 1 year anniversary, we started to throw out ideas for the anniversary trip. And epic idea came up and we loosely planned it. We don’t really make set plans because you never know what you may discover on your route. We like the freedom to explore and be spontaneous.
Due to some unseen circumstances, we had to put that trip on hold for a later date. We still wanted to get away but we needed to stay closer to home just in case we needed to come back sooner than expected.
6 years ago I was searching for a place a day’s drive away to go hiking. In that search I came across a place called Tallulah Gorge in Tallulah Falls, GA. The pictures were beautiful and well, there was a gorge to explore!!
We decided that would be the trip!! The next debate was on how to get there. Do we board the pups at Canine Cabana here in town, then rent a car for the two of us and camp out once we got there? Or do we rent an RV, take the pups with us and stay at RV places along the way?!
After doing a price comparison of the two options, we went with option 2!!
I locked down the RV rental and a RV site at the Tallulah Gorge Campgrounds for 3 nights. The rough plan was to stop one night at a random place on the way up and same thing on the way back.
OK, so here we go!!!
Saturday morning we work up early and went to pick up the RV at Cruise America. I would highly recommend them if you are looking to rent an RV!
They were very nice and went over everything in full detail. Mike was the inspection guy and went over the trips and tricks for the RV. Mike rocked!!
The RV was a Class C 25ft. It was very roomy. Perfect for the two of us and the two boxers!
And let’s just say, Colin and I weren’t the only two that loved it!
After we loaded up the RV it was time to hit the road!
We drove up to Perry, GA to crash for the night. We had some friends that lived an exit or two up from Perry that we were going to meet up with. Our friends recommended Fair Harbor RV Park. Their parents have an RV they keep there and love it!
Sounded good to us! We called about an hour out to make sure they had a spot available, they did.
Once we arrived and checked in, our friends Kenny and Stefanie joined us with their son Colton.
Fair Harbor RV Park was GREAT!! The best part, they had goats! Seriously!
The second best part, they had a dog park area. Happy Dogs!! At one point, Ava was chasing Baron around and Baron went full force into the wire fence. He may have bent the fence around him AND got a busted snout in the process 🙁 The bend in the fence below is from that hit!
After goats and dog park fun, Stefanie’s mom took Colton back to her place and the rest of use headed back to the RV for some catching up and drinks!!
The night flew by, drinks and laughter seem to have that effect on a night!
The next morning we made breakfast, had a visit to the dog park to wear the pups out before the drive to Tallulah Falls, and packed the RV back up.
It was about a 3 hour drive from Perry to Tallulah Gorge. One thing we discovered while RV-ing, you aren’t in a rush to get anywhere.
Usually on road trips, it’s a mad dash to get to your destination, whether it’s getting there or coming home. With RV-ing, you drive 3 – 5 hours, then find a place for the rest of the day/night. Talking with other RV travelers, they feel the same way. It’s a different mindset, and I like it!!
The 3 hours went by pretty fast.
We arrived at Tallulah Gorge and can I say, beautiful!!!!!!!!!!
The campgrounds are a cash only business. When I called last Wednesday to reserve the site, she said since we were going to be there in a few days, there was no time for the deposit to make it by mail.
The fact that you have to mail in your deposit makes this place all that more charming. Francis and her husband Lynn, run the campgrounds. Very lovely couple. Lynn checked us in and went over the details for the park.
He put us in spot #50. First number is #5! Mine and Colin’s favorite number is 5, it’s kind of a thing with us. We got married on 5/25. 5 being our favorite number and 25 being his race number.
Our site was also close to the bathhouse and the trail that takes you in to Tallulah Gorge. Let’s just say Lynn hooked us up with a primo site!!
We pulled around through the campgrounds as we searched for our #50 spot. Lynn wasn’t kidding when he said it was close to the bathhouse and trail head.
We hooked up the RV to the electric and water house then set up our tent, which worked out perfectly over the concrete picnic table on the site.
There was plenty of daylight left to go hiking around gorge. We hiked around the rim of the gorge. As we hiked we came up to a couple of overlook points to the dam.
The first overlook we came to, #5!!
Such spectacular views. I definitely a mountain kind of girl living a Florida girl lifestyle.
While on our hike, we checked out where the Interpretive Center was. They only give out 100 permits a day to get access to the gorge floor. Definitely wanted to make sure we had enough time to get from the RV site to the Interpretive Center to get our passes in case they were busy.
The rest of the day/night, we enjoyed the outdoors including a fire. Also discovered a new drink, A Mimosa-colada. Pina Colada mix blended with rum and ice THEN…mix in champagne!
Since they only give out 100 passes a day to get access to the gorge floor, we wanted to make sure we got there right when they opened at 8am to make sure we got ours.
We woke up early and started our hike over to the Interpretive Center. We took Baron and Ava with us to pick up the passes. Our plan was to get the passes then head back to the RV for breakfast. After breakfast go hike the gorge for the day.
And this folks is why we don’t make plans.
When we arrived at the Interpretive Center, I went inside to get the passes while Colin stayed outside on Boxer duty.
I can’t begin to tell you how nice the people who worked here were.
Sunday it had rained quite a bit and if it rains, they have to let the rocks dry out because they get very slick and you can’t cross over them. Since hiking the gorge entails a lot of rock climbing, wet rocks = no gorge access.
The woman who opened that morning usually works in the office and wasn’t sure if she was allowed to give us passes. She wanted to wait until her boss came in so he could make the call. I told her it was no problem at all. Apparently not everyone is so understanding. She stated she had been yelled at by someone recently who wanted to the gorge but they couldn’t let anyone down there. I’m all about adventure…and safety!
While we waited for her boss to come in, we sat there chatting about random things. She was doing her first gorge hike on the 24th. They were doing a guided holiday hike and she was so excited. Side note, they also do Full Moon Hikes once a month. How awesome does that sound?!?!
OK, so back to the story!
Her boss came in and needed to send someone down with binoculars to check out the areas that needed to be dry in order for us to get the green light.
I filled our passes and told him we would go make breakfast and head back afterwards to see how it looked.
After a hearty breakfast and good-byes to the pups. We started our trek back to the center to see if we were going to get gorge passes. Of course, stopping along the way to enjoy the scenery!
In all honestly, we knew the odds of us hiking the gorge were pretty slim but we had hope!
And that hope was shot down when we arrived 🙁 The rock area still had too much water on it so no gorge passes that day. He said tomorrow should be fine as it wasn’t suppose to rain today. That will give everything a chance to dry out.
No biggie, our back up plan was to go mountain biking. The guy at the front desk gave us our MTB permits and back to the RV we went to change gear and get the bikes.
Colin had the Go Pro on his helmet. Eventually I will get some of the video/pics from that but here are couple I got from my phone.
It was a fun ride. Lots of UP, UP, UP. The best part about all the up, is all the down!!!!!!!!!! That is what I kept telling myself on the climbs.
At one point, Colin crashed…hard. A week later still has a gnarly bruise. It’s about the size of his hand…OUCH!!
We ended up missing a turn somewhere and got lost. Definitely a fan of getting lost, always fun to try to figure your way back out. This part of the adventure took us through a hunting area. A very “Wrong Turn” looking area. If you haven’t seen that movie, take a look to get a feel for what I am talking about.
Once we passed this spot we came to a road. Left? Right? Which way to go?!!
We pulled out our smart phones to tell us the way. Thank you technology!
We went left and started our way down a downhill road. Can I just say WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!! It was awesome! So fast!
This road took us right to the campgrounds. We couldn’t have planned that better ourselves.
The next morning we were up bright and early! Oh the excitement! Would we actually get to hike the gorge today?!?!
After breakfast, some play time with the pups, and gearing up, we were off!!
The guy remembered us from the previous day and before we could ask if the gorge was open, he told us it was and we could get passes for the day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Here is a little info from the Georgia State Park Tallulah Gorge website:
“One of the most spectacular canyons in the eastern U.S., Tallulah Gorge is two miles long and nearly 1,000 feet deep. Visitors can hike rim trails to several overlooks, or they can obtain a permit to hike to the gorge floor (100 per day, not available during water releases). A suspension bridge sways 80 feet above the rocky bottom, providing spectacular views of the river and waterfalls. Tightrope walkers have twice crossed the gorge, and visitors can still see towers used by Karl Wallenda”.
Alright, so with our gorge permits in hand, we started to make our way down to the start of the gorge floor hike. This entailed walking down about 550 – 600 stairs.
At the end of the stairs, we arrived at the entrance!! Years in the making and finally, I was here!
and of course, in typical Amy fashion there had to be some silly poses. There was a whole sequence of shots but here is the most ridiculous one.
Ok so back to the gorge.
Once past the gate, you made your way down the stairs and started the rock climbing to cross the water.
The view while climbing the rocks was breathtaking! This waterfall was so beautiful.
The view looking back up at the stairs.
When we got to the other side, it was basically climbing over rocks all the way down the river. Oh, and spiders. Ran into a lot of those!
Taking a minute to relax and enjoy the moment.
This next pic is the spot that caused us not to be able to hike it the previous day. There was still a little water flowing down these rocks and it caused the rocks to be slick!! I opted for a crab crawl across. Very effective and you look very graceful doing it (note sarcasm).
Also in the pic below, you can see the walkie – talkie attached to my pocket…it did not survive the crab walk across 🙁
Following the slated rock section, was a vertical section to climb up. I love this stuff, seriously!! One day we will live up in the mountains!
Along the way, you would come across these blue marks. These marks are very important! If you hear the sirens go off, it means get high, water is coming!! When you reach these blue marks, you know you are at a safe height.
At the end of this part of the hike, we came to Sliding Rock. The only place on the gorge floor you are allowed to swim. OH, and you can slide down the rock!
Before sliding down the rock slide, we went to the bottom to enjoy the water and swim around a bit. The water was FREEZING!!!
Getting out was not easy. If the rock was wet, it was slippery. The ledge at the water line was so slick you couldn’t get your footing to stand up and walk out. Basically you had to find some crack or anything to get grip with your hands then pull yourself out. Definitely gave us some laughs! Then you had to be careful not hit a wet spot on the rocks while climbing out or you would slide right back down into the water.
This spot was perfect. After playing in the water, we sat on the rocks and ate our lunch, and joked around with a couple other people there.
Now to get back there was two choices. Choice number 1, go back the way you came. Choice number 2, cross the river and climb up Sliding Rock Trail.
We went for option number 2. What fun is going the same way you came?! Always explore!
You can see it the pic above light color and a darker section. The trick was to walk on the crease of the rock floor and the rock that went up. This allowed your foot to not get pushed by the water coming over the rock. It is shallow but VERY SLICK!! There were some close calls while we crossed but we made it across pretty dry!
Now the fun part…the climb out!
It was a vertical wall of rocks and it was awesome! Strenuous but fun! On the way up, we passed 3 people making their way back down. They gave up and decided to turn around and head back down.
About half way up we stopped to snap our 1 year anniversary trip!
The theme was set with the wedding.
Almost to the top!!
When we made our way over the top we turned and looked at the signs. Definitely enough Warning signs.
From here it was just a small hike back to the RV site.
When we arrived back we had Baron and Ava sleeping in the driver and passenger seats. How can you not smile seeing that!?! Drinks and camp fire rounded out the night.
We discussed on somewhere else after Tallulah Gorge. We looked at some caves, other places to hike and some place to go hang gliding. In the end, it would have been a tight schedule to head anywhere else and have the RV back by the due time so we decided to take our time getting home.
The next morning, we packed up and hit the road. We ended up driving down to Valdosta and staying at River Park RV Park. And they gave us site #5!!!! Lucky #5!
They pups had their favorite part!!! I love pet friendly RV parks, especially the ones that have dog park areas! 🙂
Beautiful sunrise to start the day!
Baron curled up on my lap and slept most of the way home.
It was our first time RV-ing and WE LOVED IT. The experience of being in the RV itself. Getting to bring Baron and Ava with us as opposed to having to boarding them or try to make it work in a hotel. Meeting other RVers and listening to their stories (like the guy that use to work for NASA). It was a completely different mindset then we have experienced during trips before.
I highly recommend it to anyone who has wanted to try it 🙂
It was the perfect 1st anniversary!