Thursday, September 11, 2014

Exploring Cochran Shoals and Sope Creek Trails

When we moved to Georgia, Craig and I decided that we wanted establish regular family dinners that included my brother and sister that live about 25 minutes away. Sundays after church they come over and join us for a meal and play time, and complete the evening with "family movie night". That consists of a Disney movie that Canon picks out. It's a wild time, let me tell ya. We love it, though. Every bit of it. 

A few weeks ago we decided to shake things up a bit and take our Sunday lunch out on a hike. We hit up Cochran Shoals and Sope Creek Trails because they boast lush vegetation, Civil War ruins, and a beautiful river. What's not to love?

The "kids" {my sister, Weatherly and my brother Walker} were running late so we decided to meet up with them when they finally arrived. The hike began on a very wide road-type trail that was home to some really cool flora. Can anyone tell me what this flower is because I am loving it?!

While I stopped to take a couple of photos, Canon decided that he needed a rest. On top of the fallen tree. Naturally.

After we hiked for several miles and crossed over several trails, we realized that our destination was much farther than originally thought. We had already had to stop several times for directions from other kikers/adventurers - even though we had a map and were following the posted signs. The trails were so overwhelming and winding that it was hard to keep track of where we should be going. And Canon was beginning to get tired of walking which meant that he ended up riding on his daddy's shoulders for much of the time. Craig began to think that he probably ought to move the car to a closer parking lot so that our travel back to the vehicle wouldn't include carrying a certain little boy the entire way, so he decided to run the trail back to the parking lot. We were to wait at this particular pond where some people were fishing. No problem. One of the fishermen even asked Canon if he wanted to join in the fun and began to get some line ready for him. Sweet, right? Of course, that ended as soon as the sky opened up and we were caught in a torrential downpour. I grabbed our backpack and supplies and began scrambling to find cover under trees. We ran into a good Samaritan who offered us one of her umbrellas, as she was waiting on her children that were involved in a running club. They were running the trails - come rain or shine - so we stuck around with her and took in the much-needed shelter and cheered on the runners. Talk about being grateful! These Georgians are really something special.

The sun finally did come back out, in time for a little snack and dance. Because that's a thing. So far the day hadn't gone as planned, but we were still going to try and make the best of it.

After about 45 minutes, Craig showed up again - and with Weatherly and Walker in tow! Things were starting to look up as we all made our way to the real draws of the day : the ruins and the river on Sope Creek Trail. Along the way, we made a new friend, Michaelangelo. Actually, we moved Mikey off of the hiking trail since it was also frequented by people on horseback and those trail riding on bikes. He would have gotten squished for sure!

We finally made it to the ruins, which turned out to be an old paper mill that was destroyed by the Union Army in the Civil War. Unlike other Civil-War-era structures around here, this one is accessible to walk through so we took our time exploring it all.

 By the time we made it to the river, everyone was hot and hungry. A dip in the water was just what the doctor ordered. Except for the fact that it was really freakin' cold. Yeah, I didn't get in. I used the whole "I don't want to chance my camera getting wet" excuse. Works every time.

Getting to our actual picnic spot took a ton of work and was completely nerve-wracking. We each fell at least once on the rocks that were so slippery from the earlier rain shower and I feel like we earned at least our junior mountaineering badges that day. It was totally worth it though. We had the place to ourselves.

Canon loves his aunts and uncles. I hope one day he realizes just how blessed he truly is with the huge family that he has been given.

Although I can truly say that the day didn't start out the best, it definitely turned out amazing. Oh, and thank goodness Craig had gotten the car closer. We would have never made it back before dark had he left it in the original location. We would have been lost in the woods for days and we definitely didn't bring enough food and water for that! Heck we wouldn't have need the supplies because we would have probably been eaten by bears or killed by huge, venomous snakes. I am not even kidding.

Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration. Slight.

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