Bears and Copperheads

This article addresses the issue of Bears and Copperheads – common concerns in the North Georgia Mountains.

Worth the read. Many thanks to the Lake Burton Homeowners Association and Bill Russell, the author of the article!

The bottomline is that they live in the mountains. That’s their home. If you leave food out (garbage), they will come. If you mess around under bushes or in English Ivy, without looking at what you are doing, you are asking for trouble.

Big takeaway is that the non-poisonous snakes eat the poisonous ones, and it is actually against the law the kill the good guys, so please leave them alone.

Don’t worry. They don’t like you any more than you do them. Leave them alone, and they will most probably leave.

Finally, don’t mess with the bears!

We have been up at the Lake for over 30 years and have only seen one.

Again, take your garbage to the dump, and they will have no reason to visit you during your stay.

Spring in the North Georgia Mountains

Trillium grows wild in the forests of North Georgia
Trillium grows wild in the forests of North Georgia

The details of the beauty of God’s creation are often overlooked in the deluge of media that seeks to stimulate our senses in our daily lives.

A walk through the forest in early spring helps to remind us that God is into the details and that these are too numerous and intricate to have simply evolved by chance.

Get away from it all. Allow all of your senses to bask in the beauty of God’s creation!

Praise God for creating such a beautiful world.

Summer Hike, a Cool Activity on a Hot Afternoon

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!

The Devastation of a Fire

As we view the reports of the terrible destruction in North Georgia and Tennessee, we are forced to recall our own tragedy when our Lake Burton home was destroyed in December of 2012.

We had owned this home at that time for 26 years. Our children had grown up spending their summers there. Many friends and members of our family had also spent many hours there through the years so that it had also become a part of their history, rich with sweet memories.

This time we escaped the fire. We are in the midst of rebuilding our home. The fires of the Oconee-Chattahoochee National Forest were well north of us, but close enough to remind us of our blessings.

“The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away. Praised be the name of the Lord!”

The Town of Burton

Copied extensively from a neighbor’s blog

Named for Jeremiah Burton, a well respected area citizen who occasionally served in various elected positions, the town of Burton was a small community of 200 people on the banks of the junction of the Tallulah River and Moccasin Creek. It began as one of the first gold rush settlements in North Georgia, and the first in Rabun County. Shortly after the US entered into WWI, the Georgia Railway and Electric Company bought the town. Gold and corundum mines in Tate City employed most of the men in the area. The lumber industry also provided employment.

The town was located on an old road running from Clayton to the Nacoochee Valley where it joined the old Unicoi Turnpike near the Old Sautee Store.

Andrew Richey, an educator at the Rabun-Nachoochee Gap School and local historian, served as postman for the area for several years prior to 1900.

The Byrd-Mathews Lumber Company built a narrow gauge railroad into the city to haul lumber from the nearby mountains to its lumber mill in nearby Helen.

The Tallulah River supplied power for various nearby businesses. Burton quickly grew and by the time the town was bought by the Georgia Railway and Electric Company in 1917 it supported three general stores. John LaPrade, one of the purchasing agents for the railroad whose land became the shore of Lake Burton on Hwy Georgia 197 served as a Civilian Conservation Corps. A marina and restaurant on the land to this day maintains his name.

With the final purchase of  land around the Tallulah River, Georgia Railway and Electric built a dam and began to flood the surrounding area on December 22, 1919. From embankments above the rivers, residents watched as the town was engulfed by the rising waters.

Today, the town of  Burton lies beneath the lake which bears its name. Generations since have enjoyed Lake Burton which is now dotted with residences, from cottages to estates, much of which is still owned and controlled by the Georgia Power Company.

Panther Creek Trail

With the cool fall weather and the natural beauty of the changing leaves, this it the time to do the Panther Creek Trail! Round trip, you are looking at over 11 miles, but it’s 11 miles along running water and rewarded by beautiful waterfalls along the way.

When we first bought our home at Lake Burton, we refused to buy a boat. After all, this house is in the middle of the North Georgia Mountains. We spent our weekends hiking and focused on those hikes that offered us (and the kids) rewarding views of waterfalls, rivers and streams. It is easy forget how special these experiences can be!

This additional link offers photos and a further description of this beautiful area of the North Georgia Mountains.