Happy Summer Solstice! From the North Georgia Mountains

Mom and I went to visit my sister who lives in the northeast Georgia mountains.  We braved the passage through the wilds of Atlanta to play in the cooling waters of the Chatooga River.  Long summer days allow for plenty of relaxing time in the mountains.

Happy Summer Solstice

Today we’re celebrating the longest day of the year!  Happy Summer Solstice to everyone in the Northern Hemisphere.  We are also lucky to have a full moon this June 21st.  Did anyone see the “Strawberry Moon” last night?  I am more than a little embarrassed to admit that I was watching the next to the last episode of this season’s Game of Thrones when the moon was rising last night.  Tonight I’ll be more vigilant and catch the moon rise!

Crossing the Rubicon (Atlanta) into North Georgia

We love the North Georgia mountains and they are only a three-hour drive away,  but we almost never go.  Why?  Because the mountains are north of Atlanta, and we live south of Atlanta.  We live 70 miles south of the Atlanta airport, which itself is located south of town.  So we never actually need to go into Atlanta to fly out of Atlanta.  In any given year, we fly to international destinations from ATL much more than we drive north through Atlanta.  The huge traffic-clogged city is our psychological Rubicon that we rarely dare to cross.

Escaping the Heat for Two Nights in the Mountains

My sister lives in northeast Georgia in a small mountain town.  Usually she come down here to visit us at the ancestral home place.  But this time Mom and I decided to escape the Middle Georgia heat and visit her for a couple of long summer days.  We steeled ourselves for the drive through Atlanta and left just after morning rush hour.  As we hit the Downtown Connector we ran into stop and go traffic.  At least there was as much “go” as “stop” and we left the heavy traffic as soon as I-85 and I-75 split.  After another 45 minutes of driving north we were in what I would call “normal” highway traffic.

When we got to my sister’s house the temperature was already 10 degrees cooler than home.  She made us frozen strawberry margaritas to help us recover from the drive.  After we had sobered up a bit we went out for dinner in Clayton.

Swimming in the Wild Chatooga

The Chatooga River forms part of the boundary between Georgia and South Carolina, and it was the river that was showcased in the movie Deliverance.  It has been designated as a wild and scenic river, and in fact many parts of it are dangerous to canoe and kayak.  Interspersed between these wild sections are wide, shallow and peaceful sections with sandy beaches.  My sister found two of these areas that we could access with just short hikes from parking lots to the river.  Our first stop was Earl’s Ford, and we hiked down to the Chatooga and waded in a wide sandy section.  A couple of families had beat us there and had their lawn chairs and coolers set up on some flat rocks in the middle of the river.

Mom in the Chatooga River
Mom in the Chatooga River

Our next stop brought us to Sandy Ford where we decided to take a swim.  Mom and I cooled off for a while in the river before hiking back up to the car.  We returned to my sister’s shady porch where she revived us with lemon juice and Amaretto on the rocks.  You can tell we are not frequent visitors–we were treated like royalty!

Happy Summer Solstice!

We are back down in the heat, but we will be celebrating the longest day of the year with wine (the girls) and homemade beer (the guys.)  Hopefully we will not get so distracted that we forget to look for the strawberry moon.  I wish you and your family a joyful and memorable June 21st!!!

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