Hiking Along the Falls of Towalgia at High Falls State Park

Over the past month or two, most of my talk of adventures and hiking centered around Alaska. However, there is plenty to see in Georgia, too. I have yet to take my first hike of the fall season, as though it’s still very warm in Atlanta, the autumn rain and thunderstorms are unforgiving.

Can I just interrupt this adventure tale to tell you how terrifying this is for a new driver? Atlanta drivers seem to take more risks than usual when it rains. They turn onto your lane when they don’t have the right of way, refuse to let you over when you try to change lanes, and honk like they heard it’s the new failsafe way to lose 200 pounds!

That little rant executed, I must admit that this summer and spring was just as rainy, though it had finally let up just a bit for August.

Redneck Georgia

This hiking trip was in mid to late July and it took a great deal of planning and hedging of bets to get around the rain. But, I prevailed and made it down to Jackson, GA—at least 50 miles south of the city.

Bikers for Trump.jpg

They did not roll out the welcome wagon for me. Almost everywhere I stopped and everyone I saw was waist-deep in redneck culture. There were trucks boasting Bikers for He Who Shall Not Be Named; confederate flags on the back windows of lifted Ford and Chevy trucks; and bumper stickers on cars driven by old White ladies, proclaiming, “BLUE lives matter!”

It was hard to believe, I was just 50 miles south of the Atlanta city limits.

Green Georgia

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The park itself, however, was a beautiful mix of greenery and waterfalls. I had hoped to go swimming, but one look at the river let me know that such an idea was a foolish one. I later found out that in the months prior to my visit, there were many others who lacked that common sense and decided to go swimming, anyway. Almost all of them drowned.

Thanks to them, there were several areas of the park blocked off, especially trails that ran close to the river. There were also a lot of warning signs telling people to stay off the rocks and stay out of the water. Didn’t have to tell me twice!

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Aside from this, there’s no elaborate story to accompany the hiking trip, so here are the pictures I took that day.

Alexis Chateau 01 High Falls State Park.JPG

Have you gone hike, lately? What’s the next big destination on your list? Maybe I’ll finally work up the nerve to brave the mountain roads of North Georgia and make it up to Tallulah Falls. Just maybe… 🤔

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33 thoughts on “Hiking Along the Falls of Towalgia at High Falls State Park

      1. I’ve banned myself. 😂 If I can’t drive to somewhere I don’t go. Forces me to suck it up and go eventually.

    1. There are redneck parts of California??? Is nowhere safe? 😭 Reminds me of when I came across redneck Colorado. The very phrase sounds like an oxymoron!

      1. Oh lord, where I was living in California was the most rednecky place I’d ever been to. They’re such incurable rednecks that they literally want to break off from the rest of California and call themselves the State of Jefferson (as in Thomas Jefferson). Some people up there already do. Lifted trucks and Trump stickers were common, and it literally wasn’t safe for people of color to live there.

        A student was hospitalized by the KKK my first semester there, our campus multicultural center was routinely vandalized, and more. The situation was so bad that the local branch of the NAACP asked my university to stop recruiting students of color until it could support them. Check this out:

        https://www.northcoastjournal.com/NewsBlog/archives/2018/04/26/naacp-calls-on-hsu-to-stop-recruiting-students-of-color-unless-it-can-support-them

      2. I find it interesting that they disagreed with certain points in the letter, but agreed the school should do more. When people of colour talk about racism, Whites often take offence, especially non-racist Whites. The irony with this is that they then perpetuate racism by trying to downplay or negate it to soothe their own guilt, not realising that they now have a hand in racism.

        That was one of the most annoying things I had to deal with, with some of my alleged liberal White male friends here, because to admit that racism was real was to admit that cookie-baking grandma and Dr. Daddy with their Trump banners are racist, too, and that’s an ugly realisation for an alleged liberal to accept into their family.

        The true liberals will be the first to call them out, admit it embarrasses them, but then focus on what they can change. I admire that approach more, because it doesn’t involve discrediting someone else’s truth to live a lie and save face.

      3. The whole ‘see no evil’ mentality you talk about is definitely a factor in that town. However, the university has other reasons for denying the NAACP’s claims. I can’t blast information too freely just yet, but my email address is posted on my blog.

    1. Haha, the look she gave me was priceless. It was so strange I couldn’t quite figure it out, like guilty pride mixed with a shy smirk or something. I guess to her, police lives are the only important ones. I wonder if she values her own. 🤔

  1. I always enjoyed High Falls. When I lived in Fayetteville, GA my sisters and I would take her kids on short hikes there. We always had a good time. However, we never went swimming.

    We visited Tallulah Falls about a year ago. It’s a pretty area. We took our 90-old mother with us. The hiking was a little too rugged for her. Actually, we met some young women and their children who had been hiking, apparently longer than they had anticipated. They were sweating bullets. When they found out that they were close to the parking lot one of them shouted “Thank you Jesus!”

    1. Hahahahaha. I’ve found myself on many of those hikes, where I felt like I was walking for ages longer than I planned! I know that relief of knowing I’m almost back to the car.

      I didn’t know High Falls was there until recently. I always thought all the good hiking was north of the city. I’ll be going further south more often, if I can avoid the crazies.

      Also I’ve been trying to follow your blog and WP won’t let me 🙁

    1. Agreed.

      The White lady with the bumper sticker saying BLUE lives matter had given me a weird look when I came out of the store. When I got to the parking lot and saw her get into the car, I realised why.

  2. never been there, and sad, but all too common these days to see the sitings you describe. 🙁

    I picked up my daughters the other day from their mothers and spotted a confederate flag magnet on her refrigerator. I was flabbergasted. My ex is from upstate New York, has never ever expressed any interest in the confederacy or rebel culture or any of the ridiculous stuff like that. And yet, there the thing was right on the fridge in the house that was my home. I do not think my ex is racist. Yet, I cannot reconcile that flag magnet in her house. I cannot reconcile it at all.

    Just a week or two earlier, I’d had a conversation with my youngest about the flag on someone’s house. Without cursing, I tried to explain that I had no time for anyone that flew the flag, that it was the flag used by people that fought for the side that wanted to keep slavery in place. I probably slipped and said that people that had the flag were generally racist assholes. (I’m not gonna win father of the year maybe)

    And then a couple weeks later…

    I do not understand this countries slide into racism. It’s never gone completely away. Still, I had witnessed things getting better for the first half of my life and now in the recent half of my life, maybe not quite a half, I think it is getting worse.

    1. I think it got worse when Whites began to feel threatened by Blacks finally progressing. Having a Black man in the White House was triumph for those who wanted to see that progress (whether or not they agreed fully with his politics), but an affront to those who did not. It didn’t help that he won 2 terms and was being begged to stay for another. It was their idea of rock bottom and so they retaliated.

      There was a “liberal” American I met in 2015 while in Jamaica. When he found out I had moved to the US later that year, he invited me up to PA. While I was there, he started to talk about some controversy with Kid Rock and the Confederate flag.

      This was a guy who had all Mexican friends and had proudly voted for Obama. But, he believed that it should be perfectly fine for people to fly the Confederate flag. He said Blacks were being sensitive and it wasn’t a big deal.

      This was also the same guy who, while I was at a gas station, did the following. I picked up a Hershey bar and he laughed and said, “Why do you need chocolate? Aren’t you chocolate enough already? Get it??” I was in a small town of population 800 with no Black people and the White cashier still looked at him as if he had lost his mind. Later that day, I was talking to my parents and they said they had gone to get Popeyes. I mentioned it off hand to him when he asked what they were up to. “Black people eating fried chicken!” He guffawed again. I told him he was being racist and he was shocked out of his wits.

      “Black people always eat fried chicken!” He insisted.

      “I’m pescetarian,” I replied.

      Never spoke to him again. In short, many of these people are not just assholes. They are idiots.

      1. I trace this back to 9/11 myself. From my perspective 9/11 gave the Bush Administration the ability to leverage the politics of fear.

        They used it to unite Americans and the world around a common fear so that they could go to war and then go to war again.

        The problem with the politics of fear is that it requires some ‘other’ group that has to be feared AND people rarely stay afraid of the other forever. They used the fear of Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden to do what they wanted.

        Later when the fears of Al Qaeda started to subside and we awoke to the fact that this single fear didn’t cover all of our problems, they used slight of hand to focus the politics of fear on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq + Al Qaeda. They used fear to justify torture and abuses that would have been inconceivable a few years earlier.

        As time moved on, those fears subsided as well and the world tribe of countries facing off against Al Qaeda started to fracture.

        Back here at home, people didn’t want to let go of fear, but that original ‘other’ group of Al Qaeda wasn’t sufficient. Many Americans didn’t fall for this fear thing in the first place and many others were waking up and not afraid anymore.

        Pockets of fear based tribal politics popped up all over. The other transferred to the LGBTQ community, to China, to illegal immigrants, to BIG banks, to minorities and I agree President Obama’s election gave a focus to that last one. The fracture was across the board. Here in North Carolina African American church leaders came out in force against same sex marriage for example. Two communities that could have supported each other were divided by fear again. A state that was 49/49 became even more dominated by gerrymandering and is controlled in more of an 80/20 fashion…. This repeated in many other areas of the country.

        This country is locking up little kids after taking them away from their parents and holding them in concentration camps out of fear.

        Bigotry is on the rise, white supremacists and nazis are marching regularly in the streets. (Here in NC this started about 3-4 years ago with pickup truck convoys flying rebel flags driving through smaller towns. I was shocked and appalled then.)

        Attacks on muslims and jewish communities is on the rise and becoming more and more frequent.

        African Americans are locked up or shot first without any practical questions or deescalation tactics ever employed out of fear.

        US Military veterans and their families are being deported out of fear.

        We have to move beyond the tribalism and come back together and shed the fear. This was one of the powerful lessons that we learned in history by witnessing Ghandi and Dr Marin Luther King Jr marching and protesting peacefully, marching without fear or at least with their fear set aside.

        I personally do not know the best way forward. I am working to get more involved by working in local politics. When local communities march, I do my best to march with them. I may not be a demographic fit for the people that I join with, but I believe that we have to come together and bring everyone up and along and together. I’ve marched in the Women’s marches. I’ve marched with Black Lives Matter. I’ve marched with Comunidad Collectiva and I’ve been to many Democrat Rallies and political events, because I see that party currently working to bring people together, not apart by fear.

        I’m looking for more ways.

        I think sharing stories like you did in your blog post helps to point out what is going on, to call it out and demonstrate that we are all not OK with this type of thing and to share that we are not afraid to call it out and speak calm truth to fear, truth to power and truth to bullshit whenever we can.

        For that I thank you!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      2. Thank you for sharing that Brett!

        Sorry for the late response. Not sure if you’ve seen, but my novel just went on sale for Pre-orders and I’ve been spending all my time on editing. Interesting enough, it does cover a lot of these issues as the book focuses mainly on feminism and racism. These were not topics I gave much thought when I lived in Jamaica, but for many of the same points you made in your comment, I started to think long and hard about it here.

        I do believe that fear has become the new way to police and to govern. I’m not sure how the land of the free allowed such a thing to happen, but I think you did mention also the lack of unity which is no doubt a cause. I’m not sure that’s something America can fix anytime soon.

        In Jamaica, we have common threads to bond over, and it unifies us. We have one culture, two languages that everyone speaks, and two main genres of music we all listen to or at least familiar with. Everything else is imported and accepted but considered foreign, thus allowing us to unify under what we consider Jamaican. There are cons to that as much as pros, mind you, but I much prefer that unity. I miss it. I really do. People are more predictable in a unified culture, making them easier to get along with.

        I suppose all we can do is raise awareness, be the change we wish to see, and hope for the best. Oh, and also make better voting choices!

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