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Toward Tumbling Waters

Have you ever heard of the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia? Peaches aren’t on that list.

Unbeknownst to many, there exists a list entitled the Seven Natural Wonders of Georgia. Most folks who learn this offer up a good chuckle before believing me. I had heard of the list but was unaware of what locations it identified. After this trip, I’m proud to say that I’ve now visited four of the seven! That’s three to go. Not a bad challenge for the New Year.

As for 2014, the old year saw my traveling companions and I leave early from Jacksonville and drive northward toward Atlanta, Georgia. B.E., my partner in crime for random adventures, and Courage, my four-legged cowardly shadow, were content to visit whatever items of interest arose.

1. Radium Springs

Our first stop took place at Radium Springs, only two hours into our drive.

It proved to be our strangest stop. The surrounding area was oddly quiet. Several cars were in the parking lot. Most held occupants that never left their vehicles the entire time we explored. Maybe this is a hot location for napping in cars…? It was just strange.

It is awesome to see the largest natural spring that Georgia can boast. But maybe the naturally occurring radium affects more than just the cloudy turquoise water. It is a toxic element. And the people we encountered were all good candidates for an X-Files episode.

2. Providence Canyon

Our next stop was much more impressive and also friendly as far as people go. Providence Canyon is known as Georgia‚Äôs “Little Grand Canyon.” Sadly, it’s much less natural in the sense that it’s presence is due to poor farming practices. This folks is a massively beautiful bit of erosion.

Driving into the park, you can stop and view the canyon from above. To get a little closer, you’ll need to drive to the end of the road and park at the Interpretive Center. The floor of the canyon was pretty wet and from what I heard it can be somewhat river-like at times.

A lot of visitors brought their four-legged companions. It makes for a fun walk, but be forewarned that it’s very muddy. After running around the canyon, Courage was orange from the belly down. I’m still cleaning out my car.

3. Amicalola Falls State Park

This stop took place on New Year’s Day. B.E. and I had spent the previous day and evening with my sister, engaging in the lots of New Year’s Eve celebrations. But I’m a sucker for the outdoor world, so I dragged B.E. and Courage out for a hike in the heart of the Chattahoochee National Forest.

We took the back trail on our ascent. It was beautiful with really great views of the surrounding mountains.

The hardest part of the hike was the end when we took the stairs down.

It was hard because I had to carry Courage all the way down. All. The. Way. Down.

I love my dog…but this was insane. Most of the passerby found it hilarious. A few folks shared stories of similar experiences with their dogs.

I don’t think she was scared of stairs. It was either A) being able to see through the metal grating or B) the metal grating itself. The gaps in the grating were rather large as compared to her small paws…so maybe…I don’t know. I really don’t know.

4. Stone Mountain

Our final stop for the first day of 2015 was Stone Mountain. At this point in its existence, the tourist industry as swallowed it whole. There is a theme park and other events that we chose to skip. It was also a more pricey stop as the entry fee was $15.

The hike up was amazing though. About halfway through, it gets pretty steep and it becomes a real workout to push upward.

I wish I could share more photos, but we didn’t arrive at the mountain until dusk and didn’t summit until the sun was gone. But here’s Atlanta from Stone Mountain. That’s a view.