Cloudland Canyon

I have a terrible habit of never going to obvious places that are right around me. For example I lived within 100 miles or so of Death Valley for 26 years and never once went. Then I moved thousands of miles across the country and finally arranged a trip to Death Valley. Same with Catalina Island, which was always a mere 26 miles away. Until it wasn’t. And then I went.

I’ve been joking for some time that Savannah GA is going to be my new Death Valley, which I suppose would make Cloudland Canyon my new Catalina Island. Except that it appears I’m getting better about these things. Maybe. I wouldn’t say I got myself to Cloudland Canyon, but events did conspire such that I ended up in Cloudland Canyon before we left Georgia. Progress.

No, we didn’t take the bus. It was a family reunion for some of Corrinne’s family so cabins were rented and we were offered a room in one of them, which is just as well because the campground was a bit dismal — little more than a gravel parking lot really. The canyon, however, is well worth going for, particularly if you get up before dawn and head down to the Bear Creek overlook to watch the sunrise.

As is our usual pace we took the back roads, not hurrying, winding through the mountains, stopping for a picnic lunch at another state park that was mostly a shrine to the Army Corp of Engineers. I have mixed feelings about The Corp. They’re largely responsible for the mess that is the Mississippi River Valley today and their hubris is possibly unmatched even today. Still. At least they didn’t waste their time building gadgets.

Could they have stopped for a minute to study the ecology of a place before they attempted to “improve” it? Sure, but at least they tried to make the world a better place (even if their vision differs from mine). At least they left behind a place my kids can eat turkey sandwiches and chocolate cookies.

Oh, and a reservoir. The Corp did love them some dams. But not for lakes mind you. Lakes are frivolous. Reservoirs are eminently practical and serious. Like the Army Corp of Engineers.

Eventually we made it to Cloudland Canyon. Not without things getting interesting though. To add modicum of adventure the air conditioning broke just after lunch. I turned on the WD50 air con, but because it’s never-winter here in Georgia, we were all quite warm by the time we got there. Fortunately the solution was already there waiting for us — hammocks.

We didn’t hike all the way down into the canyon, but we did manage to go a little ways. Apparently it just wasn’t enough for Elliott who decided hiking up out of a canyon wasn’t hard enough so he picked up a large rock and carried it all the way up.

We’ve taken the girls camping before, but they were too young to remember. And I don’t think we ever did the important stuff, like making campfires and roasting marshmellows for s’mores. That oversight has since been corrected.

Now the question is, will I make it to Savannah before we leave or will I have to wait for a return visit to make it to the coast?


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