Along the way

As we were walking the Waterfall Trail at Cloudland Canyon, the sweeping views of mountains and forest and waterfalls called out for attention.  At the same time, there were many smaller voices calling that were easy to miss like these yellow flowers.  The local inhabitants (bees) didn’t miss them but I’m sure most hikers went right by without even noticing.

Another case of how much we can miss when not paying attention.  I guess you can say: “Don’t sweat the small stuff” but, I also say – don’t miss out on the small stuff that might be really cool.  Hope you notice some small detail today that brings a smile.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
hand-held
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
86mm @ f/11 – 1/25 sec – ISO 400

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Enjoying the Falls

One more image to share from Cloudland Canyon as we head into the next weekend.  You can see here how Cherokee Falls attracts people to approach more closely.  It’s not a smooth path to get in there but that’s part of experiencing nature up-close.

Once again, this reminds me of how beautiful and enjoyable it is to be outdoors appreciating how amazing our world is.  At the same time, I see all the reminders of how people fail to take simple precautions and abide by rules meant to keep them safe.  I heard a report recently of someone who actually died by slipping and falling in a similar setting.  A little respect for the fact that there are dangers in the wild goes a long way toward us keeping these places enjoyable and safe for all.

Hope you all get out and enjoy some of our natural wonders this weekend.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/10 – 1/15 sec – ISO 640

Living rock

When descending the Waterfall Trail at Cloudland Canyon, you are always close to a wall of sheer stone which is the side of the gorge cutting through the mountain.  The stone itself is beautiful to look at but, I found the plant life that grows on them even more interesting.

Much of the rock face is covered with mosses and lichen which are fed by trickling, dripping trails of water that seems to seep right out of the stone.  There are a few spots where the water splashes onto the trail but for the most part, you just see these gleaming little droplets coming down the sides.

Even in August, when the temperatures are soaring and the waterfalls are somewhat restrained, this seemingly endless supply of water clings to the stone and nourishes these patches of green.  It is truly amazing to see how nature thrives even in conditions which you would think would yield nothing at all.  Life always finds a way and is always awesome to observe.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
58mm @ f/10 – 1/13 sec – ISO 800

Besides waterfalls…

The scenery at Cloudland Canyon State Park is amazing.  Most people remember the fantastic mountain views through the gorge and out into the distance.  The waterfalls are beautiful and peaceful but what else is there?  Well, for one thing, there is a beautiful variety of mountain streams and glades of tress that make you feel like you’re somewhere far away from civilization.

This spot is just a little downstream from Cherokee Falls but the moss-covered boulders and the contrast between the dark shadows and bright light made me feel like I was lost in a primeval forest.  It’s nice to lose yourself in a quiet little pocket of nature even if it really is only a few steps away from the busy world we fight through each day.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
31mm @ f/18 – 1/4 sec – ISO 200

Cherokee Falls

The closer of the two falls (1/2 mile hike) on the Waterfalls Trail at Canyonland Canyon State Park is Cherokee Falls.  Although this one is a bit smaller than Hemlock Falls, it is more accessible.  The rocks are a bit slippery but many people venture out in and around the base of the falls here.  I personally, like this one better of the two.  Maybe it’s because the boulders are a little smaller and you get a less obstructed view of the water at the bottom.  I guess it doesn’t make much difference if you stay up on the observation deck but, I like this one none the less.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
31mm @ f/18 – 1/4 sec – ISO 200

Hemlock Falls

One of Cloudland Canyon State Park’s biggest attractions is the Waterfalls Trail, a 1 mile hike that includes a 600 step, 400 foot descent to get to the two main falls.  The further one down the trail is Hemlock Falls, shown here.  You can hear the falling water from the top of the trail and it echoes off the mountainsides as you walk down.  Rushing water flows through the gorge making beautiful scenery all the way down.

Hemlock Falls is a 90 foot drop of  Sitton’s Gulch stream into a boulder-filled pool.  There is a nice observation deck where you get a good view of the falls but to get down to the spot where I took my image, you have to scramble over slippery rocks and boulders.  It’s not all that bad a climb but certainly not a well-groomed path.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/18 – 1 sec – ISO 100

Cloudland Canyon Overlook

Joyce and I finally got our Canyon Climbers Club cards filled in!  We drove up to Cloudland Canyon State Park and hiked the stairs down to see the two waterfalls that are major attractions for the park.  We had visited this park once before last Spring but at that time, we were not aware of the Canyon Climbers program and failed to get our cards punched.  After having done some of the parks more than once over the last 2 years, we finally got it finished.  Now we can send in for our official t-shirts – Woo hoo!

This view is from the Main Overlook located behind the Interpretive Center.  It was a bit hazy when we arrived but the view from Lookout Mountain was great.  It is really amazing to experience the beauty of the North Georgia mountains.  I’m going to have to start working on 4-seasons views of these areas to see the changes that happen.  Hopefully, we will get a chance to return in the Autumn and see what it looks like in fall colors.

More pictures to come soon.

Cloudland Canyon State Park
Rising Fawn, Georgia, USA

4-frame panorama merged in Adobe Lightroom
Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
16mm @ f/16 – 1/15 sec – ISO 125