Hubby and I just got back from the mountains. He always, and I MEAN ALWAYS says when we get to the Gwinnett County sign on I- 985 -- "Welcome to the uncivilized world." He is so funny, but he has such a small repertoire of jokes. Maybe one of my blogs will tell you all three of them.
Our mountain house is 7 miles south of Clayton, Georgia, in a small, yet active town of Lakemont. Since we own property, hubby has suscribed to The Clayton Tribune, a weekly newspaper. His favorite section is the police blotter, where he finds out who stole Jimmy's blue tick hound or who's selling crystal meth out of the Chevron station. He told me once, "you need to know your neighbors."
I said, "these are our neighbors?"
He said, "you know what I mean."
We recently received a brochure in the Clayton Tribune titled "See Rabun County," so on this past Sunday, we picked a place to check out, and after lunch at our favorite place, Grapes and Beans, we headed on our first Rabun adventure, ironically which isn't in Rabun Co. at all, but just across the South Carolina line. We headed for Bull Sluice, one of the many waterfalls within 25 miles Clayton.
We headed east on Hwy. 76 past the 76 East Motel (original), Kingwood Golf Resort, Rainey Mountain Scout Camp, Good Orchard Baptist Church, and entered the Chattoohoochee National Forest. On the left and right we passed family cemeteries, Godfrey's and Mize's, and roads obviously named after the families who lived on them -- McWhorter Lane, Claude Smith Road, and B. Carver's. Coming from the east were mostly pick up trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles -- we saw few sedans like ours...
Hwy. 76 had its own mountain road kitsch. One yard featured a plastic Santa Claus atop a huge tree stump, another had a yard sale with a sign that advertised proudly "Turkey Roaster, hardly used," and one road side stand that boasted of the "world's best boiled peanuts," "canteelope," and "peeches." Many of the home sites were trailers which had been fixed up with wooden porches or decks. The most usual, yet unusual, side show were the tractor trailers nestled here and there on the side of the road, abandoned like huge animal carcasses; they sat there truck less, and wheel less, their commonality -- rust.
As the odometer showed us that we had gone about 12 miles, Chattoga River, Southeastern Expeditions came up on the right, and we made a left turn just across the Sumter Co. line into the parking lot for Bull Sluice.
I knew things were gonna be "ripe for spectating" when as we pulled in, I spotted several young men wiggling into their wet suits, muscles bulging and chests bared. I said to hubby, "lookee -- folks are changing their clothes in the parking lot. I'm already having a good time." Hubby rolled his eyes and insisted that I change my Birkenstocks for my Nikes. He quipped, "I don't want you falling down and hitting your head on a rock." I retorted, "it would be a shame to have to be rescued by one of those half naked men."
We walked down a paved sidewalk, very steep, for about a 100 feet, made a sharp right, and immediately were thrust into shade and an unpaved path. Sunlight dappled through tall pines, mostly hemlocks, lush ferns hung on the side of the bank, and mountain laurel still bloomed its pink.
It was a festival of green -- all colors, vibrant, and ripe with that dank smell of moist earth. The path was not treacherous, but I had to watch my feet, safely encased in my Nike's, cause tree roots humped up were just waiting to trip me. Landscape timbers, rotting in places, bordered each side of the path to keep Sumter County from law suits or at least to show the city folks where to go. We headed down at a steady incline for a quarter of a mile.
On the left, I could hear moving water, and through the trees, I could see flecks of blue and yellow rafts. Even though the rushing water drowned out most of the noise, you could hear human activity. As we made our way down, we passed no one, but a young guy in red swim trunks came out of nowhere behind us, said "'scuse me" and bounded down the trail like a young buffalo.
We eventually came to an abrupt halt and a wooden fence -- and there was Bull Sluice: loud, raging water, big rocks hunkered up against the banks like football bleachers, and tall pines that shaded the area -- which provided for us and other spectators a great view of the Chattoga River. We were at one of the favorite rapids for kayakers and white water rafting. We carefully stepped down about 15 feet to a big boulder and took a seat.
Several people were already perched here and there, mostly in front of us --- a couple with a young son (his t-shirt said "Know Your Bears"), a girl in a rather small bikini but with a huge Phoenix tatoo above the curve of her spine, two young guys in flip flops who jumped rather precariously from rock to rock, their flops slapping the rocks like otter tails. Hubby and I were closest to the bank, by choice, while the others were closer to the water. We had a great view of the white water rafters as well as the kayakers.
BTW: Mr. I'm in a Hurry who busted by us on the trail -- had shed his clothes and was swimming in the water against the rapids like a big, old salmon.
Tomorrow, what we saw...