Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Cloudland Canyon Campout: Day 4

The next day I was excited to hike down into the canyon and see this waterfall everyone was so thrilled with. Billy carried Babyman down for me.

The hike was pretty as it criss-crossed back and forth down into the canyon, but the trail itself was often very eroded. I loved the rock formations we passed.

Cloudland Canyon's geology is interesting, in part because all the layers of rock are still horizontal, much as they were laid down in ancient times. The flaky shale sometimes yields interesting marine and plant fossils- Littleman has unearthed some in nearby Chattanooga TN before. However (of course), removing fossils from Cloudland Canyon State Park is strictly forbidden.

Littleman climbed up to a ledge for a portrait

(one of the only shots I have of him- he was hardly ever near me long enough for a picture, and he never stopped moving)

and The Pirate just had to climb up for his turn as well.

I caught cousin "Dashi"

before the Three Muskateers trooped on down the stairs toward the bottom of the canyon.

The deeper we went, the cooler and shadier it got. What with all the boulders, and mosses, and dappled shade, I felt as if we were walking into a fairy tale, or stepping back in time.

Billy remarked that it was like being in the Lord of the Rings, which I guess is to say that it was something like New Zealand. ;) I hope one day to visit there, to see what wonders I can behold, and find out if there is any real similarity to certain more familiar landscapes.

Finally we came to the first waterfall (there are a few in the canyon), and it was a sight to see.

The light was so gorgeous, and the colors so vivid, it seemed like we'd stumbled on a tiny tropical paradise hidden in unassuming NW Georgia. The waterfall tumbled approximately 90 feet from a cloudless blue summer sky to an emerald green pool that stretched across the distance to the rocks we were standing on. Several signs were posted forbidding "climbing, wading, swimming or rappelling" but hardly any of the many visitors seemed to care about that. The order of this hot summer's day was a cool wade in the gorgeous shallows, and a few folks swam all the way out to stand under the falls. Our group did a great deal of rock building,

leaving several interesting formations behind for later visitors to enjoy and destroy.

(this last one belonged to Littleman and Dashi. See their "alligator rock"?

Everyone was having a wonderful time.

Littleman got some lessons from Daddy on skipping stones,

and a few of us went swimming. Never have I seen a more perfect swimming hole.

Babyman especially enjoyed the shallow water and the gorgeous day.

It was a perfect afternoon.

It really is a remarkable spot.

We returned to camp by late afternoon, because we had special plans for dinner. I'll continue that story next post.

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