July 24 – September 3, 2020
Hang on to your hats! I’m going to cover a lot of ground in this post including the latest from the property hunters, sightseeing, and a family visit.
Track Rock Campground
Finally our preferred campground came available and we’ve got the prime spot overlooking the lake for six weeks. I read all the great reviews about this place and we were not disappointed.
The nights were lovely with all the night bug sounds, the rising moon and sometimes thunder booming like cannons. By day we watched the kids playing king of the hill on the platform in the middle of the lake and throwing each other off into the water. Looked inviting but I don’t really like to swim and I especially don’t do lakes.
To keep ourselves entertained while we waited for August 14th, we took in the local sights. Brasstown Bald is the highest peak in Georgia and just up the road from Track Rock.
At 4,784 feet in elevation, it’s a great spot for panoramic views of the surrounding area. You do have to work for it though since the parking area is 0.6 miles from the summit. That doesn’t sound like much, but the 0.6 is all uphill and I mean it’s steep. Normally there’s a shuttle that will take you up, but not in the time of COVID-19. On our visit we had sun, an enveloping mist, and a carpet of rhododendron blooms on the trail.
Then there are all the local waterfalls. Georgia has a ton of them and we’ve just scratched the surface. We decided to re-visit one from a trip up this way four years ago.
Amicalola Falls pandemic-style. We are getting a teensy bit better at selfies as you can see. This is one of the most impressive falls in the area at least from what we’ve seen, but again, you have to work for it. There are 604 steps up to the viewing platform and halfway mark where we took this shot. Got our cardio in for the day, but unfortunately it was way too people-y and no way to distance on the stairs. I insisted that we go all the way to the top like we did on our first visit and we were pleasantly surprised to find that we’re in better shape this time around. Not nearly as much huffing and puffing even with the masks and the 85+ degree heat.
The falls without the distracting mask people and the view from up top.
Property Hunters Update
I’m going to skip right to the good part. We officially closed on August 14th on all that beautiful land and moved right along to tree removal on the 17th!
Here’s the before and after view.
And this is what it should look like from the house windows once the house is there. We overlook farm and pastureland as well as Duncan Ridge in the Chattahoochee National Forest. We think that biggest peak in the distance is Coosa Bald, but we’re still trying to completely figure out what we’re seeing.
The highest elevation point on the property was identified as a white pine thicket by the guys who bid the tree cutting and excavation jobs. These trees are 70-80 feet tall and kind of scary around the house and RV shed sites. We busily marked all the ones we wanted removed for safety and the view. Then the first thing out of our tree guy’s mouth was “I wouldn’t have this property”. Well alrighty then. He said they were brittle trees and would snap off in high winds. So off we go marking even more trees. In the end we cleared a bunch, but at least we don’t think we’ll be crushed like a bug in our own home.
A beautiful specimen that went the way of the saw mill and is providing someone with fine pine lumber. We hated to cut down thriving trees, but we had to make room for the RV and the house. Plus there are 9+ more acres full of lovely trees that we won’t touch. As a nod to our thicket, we’re calling the place Tall Pines.
Some of you may know the first step for developing raw land, but we sure didn’t. First question we had was how do we get an actual street address? Well, our realtor told us we needed to call the 9-1-1 mapping office. Ask for John he says. Of course you need a driveway to get an address assigned and we just happen to have one of those. That’s all we have, but seems that’s enough. Lo and behold John comes out and puts a little flag out and tells us our new address. We are on the map people. Now before you get too excited let me just tell you that a 9-1-1 address is one thing, but a mailing address is another thing entirely. That, my friends, will not become a reality until we lay the foundation for our house according to the Blairsville postmaster. For now, we’ll just have to settle for a P.O. Box.
There is so much more to tell about the property development, but I’ll save something for next time as Pat likes to say.
Family Comes to Town
The family visit all started when Pat’s nephew Brandon complained that the one remaining trip not ruined by the pandemic was ruined by renovations at the family lakeside cabin. I suggested he come here and stay in one the Track Rock Campground cabins. Oh, and why don’t you bring your grandmother along. So he did!
Of course before we showed Mom and Brandon anything else, we took them out to the property. They were lucky enough to see it before the tree cutting started, and also got to see the view emerge. Unfortunately we also dragged them to the water authority office, county permitting office, and I don’t even remember where else. We were in the middle of a lot of “stuff” at that point.
It wasn’t all business though. Track Rock Campground has stables and Mom has horseback riding on her bucket list. The boys weren’t interested in riding horses, so us ladies went for a lovely hour in the meadows, woods and by the stream. Mom’s horse took advantage of her and ate every chance he got, but she enjoyed it anyway.
Vogel State Park was worth a visit and we walked the lakeside trail even though it was a little rainy that day.
The Appalachian Trail crisscrosses this area so we drove farther up the road from Vogel to Neels Gap in search of some mountain views. This spot is the only place where the trail passes through a structure. Mom and Brandon can now say they hiked a bit of the AT.
Then there’s Helton Creek Falls. For not a lot of effort, you get to see the lower and upper falls. Really the worst part is the drive. Another case of where the pavement ends and the gravel takes over. At least we know the right way to go that doesn’t involve a water crossing in the car.
Speaking of water, Brandon couldn’t resist getting under the falls for a photo op. I will say it’s a good thing I snapped when I did since he didn’t waste any time getting our of that frigid water. We egged him on so he just had to do it.
When we weren’t driving all around town or sightseeing, we were playing cards. Oh how I’ve missed our rousing golf card games with the family in Springfield. Every night found us at their cabin table betting our money and giving each other grief. Brandon and I have a special rivalry which always makes it fun. Of course this picture has nothing to do with that. It’s actually the first mushroom I’ve been able to identify in my newfound mycology obsession. This one is an Indigo Milk Cap and one of the rare things in nature that is truly blue. The photo doesn’t quite capture the brilliant blue “milk” that comes out of those gills. Mom went with me so I could identify the mushrooms that were popping through the dead leaves outside their cabin. I was armed with my trusty new Audubon Society Field Guide to Mushrooms. The boys were not nearly as impressed with my find as Mom was. Anyway, stay tuned for more mushrooms and fungus facts.
That’s it for the family visit and the month of August.
Next Up: Blairsville part 2 and more property details. See you on the way!