On our recent trip to the Retreat at Lake Burton, two of us chose to take in a couple of hikes recommended on the Hiking page of its website.
It has been years since we have visited some of these, so going back was like getting reacquainted with old friends.
The two hikes that we took were the Coleman River Scenic Trail and the Tennessee Rock Trail at Black Rock Mountain State Park. Both of these come highly recommended, but make sure that you have good footwear and a hiking pole will come in handy (several are at the House for your convenience).
The Coleman River Scenic Trail is located north of the Lake in the Chattahoochee National Forest which borders the beautiful Persimmon Valley. This area was ravaged in late 2016 by fire. Reading about the fire, we had no way of knowing what areas of North Georgia were affected, but it was clear from the number of charred and downed trees that the Coleman River area had been in the midst of this.
This trail parallels a lovely series of cascading streams and waterfalls – well worth the visit regardless of conditions, and nature has an amazing way of restoring itself quickly after natural disasters like fires and tornadoes, both of which have struck this area in recent years. However, the Forest Service is not quite so resourceful, so many of the bridges that cross streams entering the main river are washed out, requiring you to scale these streams, very carefully, on the rocks conveniently available for this passage. This is where the hiking poles come in handy. However, this is not easy, and there are trees that have fallen on the trail at points that also must be negotiated.
We made it to the end of the trail and, on our return trip, encountered a couple with their two young daughters – probably 8 to 10 years old – making their way through the very obstacles that we had found so challenging. This offered a much needed perspective. It served to remind us of how truly spoiled we had been in past years when the trail had been in better condition. We were also probably in a bit better condition at the time. We can only hope that the trail will one day soon be rebuilt by the Forest Service. As for us, we need to do more hiking!
Our trip to Black Rock Mountain and the Tennessee Rock Trail was a bit more challenging than we had expected. It is a moderately difficult hike; but, again, this was more of a function of our not being as young as we were the last time that we did it over 10 years ago. It is a beautiful hike through various elevations and varieties of forest greenery, lovely fern covered sections and areas where, due to the thickness of the forest canopy, much less flora can be observed along the path. We must revisit this trail during the Spring when many of these plants will be in bloom.
The views from the trail at the top of the mountain of Tennessee are spectacular as are the views from the park’s parking lot overlooking Clayton, GA and the surrounding area.
We could easily have spent another hour just looking around and enjoying the beautiful forest area and views. We should have packed a lunch. Will do so next time!