It has been far too long since Ryan and I have taken time off to hit the mountains. We were spoiled when we lived in Amherst, MA. There were a variety of hikes at our fingertips, and we took full advantage. For us, it doesn’t get much better than trekking it up a mountain. It’s where we do our best brainstorming, and at the peak there’s always a shared snack overlooking a view that evokes nothing short of wonder. You can just call it our happy place away from the garden.
It was our time in New England that started the tradition of hiking on Christmas Day. But who are we kidding? Coming up with an excuse to hit the trails comes easy to us. Holidays are the most popular reason since we figure the majority of folks are busy doing other things than hiking.
That’s why for Halloween this year, we published a post and jumped in the truck headed for adventure. (Eeek I love saying “truck,” we are still giddy over our new ride.) You all, it has been a dream of ours to have a dog to take on these types of excursions. Being dog friendly is just one of the reasons we chose Tallulah Gorge for Ellie’s first hike. Plus, it offered sights in the hour and a half drive between there and Atlanta.
Tallulah Gorge offers several different trails. Some are specific activities such as hikers or bikers only, while others my exclude pets or require permits. You can get a detailed look at the list here. Since we had Eleanor with us, we took the North and South Rim trails. On a side note, I have to say Eleanor endlessly blows us away with her good behavior and ability learn so fast. Adopting this doll-face was one of the best calls we’ve made.
The North Trail started as a recycled rubber tire path and offered views right off the bat. From the multiple overlooks you get a broad look of the Tallulah Falls.
It was pretty busy with tourists and families despite it being Halloween, so we snapped a few quick pictures and sought out to see what else the north route had in store for us. Ryan and I enjoyed seeing that some families were spending the holiday camping on the grounds located near the trails. The park even had a little event for the kids going on that night- it was cute. We were feeling more
in our element at home once the trail path transitioned back to earth and even more comfortable once we took a layer of clothes off. It’s always a hit or miss if I have over layered on cold day hikes.
The rest of the North Trail was an easy hike with even more overlooks of the falls. It also gave a preview of the bridge we would be crossing to reach the South Rim Trail.
The bridge connecting the two trails was kind of intimidating with the heavy traffic. It is particularly tough while passing a large group with a timid Ellie dog trying to get up momentum to get to the other side. I let those two go on ahead while I paused to capture the view the highway provided. I can’t pass a second of nature’s beauty without giving it a nod. These hues can’t be compared to the New England fall color we used to see but was lovely nonetheless.
Almost immediately along the South Trail, we were greeted with another overlook. This time with our first real look at the Tallulah Gorge. Turns out thanks to our sweet little lady (the dog) joining us we were limited to the easier parts of the trail. At least, we got to see consistent views since we weren’t exactly getting the physical hike we pine for.
So much fall to take in… Eleanor insisted on using the telescope to see her first good view of the mountains. Yes, she seriously has her front paws resting on the handles of the scope and is looking through the eyeholes.
Just after the gazebo with the telescope view, we came upon an arbor that had us fantasizing the landscape details of our future home. I loved that the South Trail never stopped giving inspiration and wonder.
The three of us trekked on for a while before coming to the end of the South Trail and the ultimate overlook.
It was nice to kickback and get rained on… I mean, take a load off and enjoy the view. It was just us at the top, so we did what anyone at the end (top) of a hike would do. We took pictures of all parties involved with dreamy backdrops. There is a pretty good picture of all of us looking over our shoulders at the same time. Well, it would have been a good picture if I didn’t look like I was about to pass out with how comical I found the situation.
Escaping into the mountains was necessary to recharge. This has been the longest Ryan and I have ever gone without hiking a trail. Nature has a way of putting us in balance, inspiring each time in a new way. Eleanor did an awesome job on her first hike. The Tallulah Gorge was the perfect way to introduce her to the great outdoors. Though, if we go back, little miss will likely be left at home to chill with K-man (the cat) so we can take on the more difficult trails down to the gorge floor.
Does anyone have a favorite dog friendly hike we should know about? Our girl certainly has more exploring to do.
Psst- Ellie was able to take the stairs up to the bridge just fine. The way down on the other hand, not so much. The metal mesh steps made it had for this twinkle toes.