April 13-14, 2007:
Amicalola Falls State Park, and Dahlonega, GA
This camping trip was supposed to be for two nights, but
the pending bad weather cut it short. We had planned on leaving
mid-day on Friday, but got away a little late (around 5:00 pm). We had
a special guest with us this time,
Flat Stanley. If you're unfamiliar with
Flat Stanley, click his name to
Amicalola Falls State Park is only about 60 miles away, but with the
mountains and traffic, it took about 1.5 hours. Amicalola Falls (which
means "tumbling waters" in Cherokee) is the highest cascading waterfall east
of the Mississippi. It is pretty spectacular, but the kids seemed to
enjoy the playground more than the view. The campground was absolutely
awesome. The sites were level and had built-in wooden retaining walls
and railings that makes the site like a self-contained outdoor room.
It was great for the kids! For those of you that don't dig camping, there
are cottages and a big lodge with all those "city folk" amenities.
Saturday morning we made the short walk to the top of the falls and enjoyed
the view, but the weather wasn't looking too promising and the kids had gold
fever, so we headed for Dahlonega. It's only a short 20 minute drive
from the park. First we hit the
Dahlonega Gold Museum
which is located in the oldest courthouse in the state of Georgia. We
looked at some really cool old mining equipment, watched a video, then
headed for lunch at the "world famous"
Smith House. One of the coolest things about the Smith House
(besides the food) is the old mine they found (in 2006) hidden below the
floor for over 100 years. Apparently, mine owners were taxed for their
mine shafts, so this smart home owner decided to hide his under the house.
After lunch we headed for the
Consolidated Gold Mine Company for a tour, gem grubbing, and gold
panning. The gems were placed in the sand, so i was a little
disappointed, but the gold panning is for real (I think). Altogether,
I figure the gold we got from panning cost us about $18,000 an ounce.
By the time we finished there, it was late in the afternoon and the weather
was really looking bad, so we headed for home (after watching the gopher
near the parking lot for a few minutes). In summary, the weekend was shorter
than we'd hoped for, but in all, it was a good experience and a lot of fun,
and that's what it's all about!
April 1 -
Stone Mountain Trip in March