Day 61: The Appalachian Trail

We are staying with Michael’s sister’s family in Jasper, GA which is about an hour north of Atlanta. Jasper is a small mountain town of about 3,000 people in the county of Pickens, population 28,000. They live in the mountains by a lake, about 5 miles from town.

Being that we are in the mountains we decided to do some hiking. About 25 minutes from here (everything is at least 25 minutes from here) is Apicalola State Park which is known for Apicalola Falls, the tallest waterfall in Georgia. It also turns out to be the southern end of the Appalachian Trail, which was kinda cool even though we were not actually on the trail. But it definitely had me contemplating one of the my other dream goals – to walk the John Muir Trail from Yosemite to Whitney. If anyone is interested in joining me, I am looking for a hiking buddy for that adventure!

While we have done LOTS of walking this trip, we have not done much strenuous activity, so the 2 mile hike up and around the falls was a perfect challenge to our physical status. It was beautiful to be in the mountains.

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Afterward, we wandered over to a town called Dahlonega, which Shayna remembered from California history studies last year, as the first gold mining town in the country (impressive!). It is also a mountain town, mostly catering to tourists. We had lunch and walked around the cute historical town checking out the shops.

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Even though we are a bit off of our itinerary and road map, we opted to say around here a couple extra days so Shayna and Alexis could have some quality cousin time together. They definitely had that with our evening event, a Halloween hayride.

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Definitely not something you can do in LA but one of the more popular activities around here this time of year. Around 9pm we climbed up on a hay wagon being pulled by a tractor with about 20 others. (We dressed in our hayride best flannel shirts for the occasion.)

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The wagon is pulled through some kind of wooded area (pitch black) for about an hour. They decorated the trail with all kinds of Halloween decorations and occasionally dressed up people (mostly dressed as famous horror characters) would hop out of the woods and jump onto the wagon and try to scare everyone. The younger kids were not as scared as the teens. They seemed to build up the fear in their minds and to them everything became much scarier than it really was. I think the younger kids did not have as many preconceived ideas. I found it quite entertaining to see the teens freaking out. (The only thing that really got to me were the guys with the chain saws!)

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