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Trackrock: Written in Stone

Track Rock Gap Archaeological Area is the location of a series of soapstone boulders covered with petroglyphs made by Native Americans over 1,000 years ago. There are hundreds of carvings in a wide range of figures. It's one of the most significant rock art sites in the Southeastern United States. Track Rock was a place of power within the sacred landscape of the American Indian Nations where the activities of ancient humans were influenced by spirit beings. It sits at the threshold of the spirit world. Rocks carved with footprints and tracks signified a doorway into the domain of dangerous spirit beings. Depictions of footprints and tracks are physical testimony that spirit beings were there at some time in the past, that they could still be lingering somewhere close by in the present, and that they may return unexpectedly at any time in the future. As early as 3,600 years ago, Native Americans were removing pieces of the soft but durable soapstone to make bowls which were particularly well suited for cooking as they held and radiated heat without breaking. The picture carvings were made by Native Americans during repeated visits over several hundred years beginning around A.D. 1,000. Most likely, the Cherokee, Catabwa and/or Creek tribes made the carvings. In the 1800's, early American explorers discovered the Track Rock site and it has fascinated people ever since. Recording, studying and preserving of the site began in earnest in 2009. The carvings at Track Rock were made in one of two ways. Many of the figures were created by repeated blows in the same spot using hammer stones to create the desired shape. Some of the figures were created by rubbing a hard stone back and forth to carve the design into the rock. Although soapstone is considered a soft rock, it is still rock and rather hard to carve. It took a lot of time and effort to create these figures that have lasted a thousand years. Some of the shapes that can be seen include: 252 cupules, 22 oval shapes, soapstone bowl extraction scars, deer, horse, bird, squirrel, and bear tracks, cross-in-ring motifs and nested ring design, human figures, human footprints (one with 6 toes!), and one giant's, footprint, maze-like networks, squares, tridents, zigzags, curved and straight lines, and scalloped edges. Unfortunately, signs of vandalism can be seen throughout the area in the form of square shaped depressions with flat topped pedestals in the middle that are left behind when looters chisel out the petroglyphs. There are also several areas when vandals have carved their initials over the top of the ancient marks forever destroying those petroglyphs. Track Rock Gap is open to public visitation and no fee is charged. When visiting the site, remember that the intensity of natural lighting can influence how much you are able to see. Bright mid-day sun makes it hard to see most of the figures, and the best times to visit are early or late in the day, when the light [...]

Trackrock: Written in Stone2022-06-24T12:06:21-04:00

Georgia Trails

Many visitors come to explore the hundreds of trails through North Georgia's National Forest. Whether you want to see a waterfall, like to go hiking, biking, or horseback riding, here are some suggestions for a trail adventure: Suches - Jarrard Gap Trail Trail: 1.0 mile, easy/moderate rating Directions: Take US 19 and 129 south from Blairsville Georgia for 9.5 miles. Turn right (west) onto GA 180 and go 7 miles to the main entrance to Lake Winfield Scott Campground. Turn left into the campground. Follow this road over a hill and continue straight ahead into a gravel parking lot at the foot of the hill. From the parking lot, hike along the paved road passing the guard rail at the head of the lake. The trailhead is on the right of the road just past the guard rails Blairsville - Sosebee Cover Trail Trail: Traveling through a second-growth cove hardwood forest, the 0.25 mile Sosebee Cove Trail is rated easy and receives moderate use. This area is a memorial to Arthur Woody, who served as the first Forest Service Ranger in Georgia. Directions: from Blairsville Georgia, travel 9.5 miles south along US 19/129 and turn right (west) onto GA 180. Continue along GA 180 for 2 miles to the Sosebee Cove parking lot on the right.  

Georgia Trails2022-06-24T12:05:09-04:00

Waterfalls of North Georgia

High Shoals Falls A succession of five waterfalls graces this 170-acre scenic area. These falls have an estimated total vertical drop of 300 feet. Directions: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 283 at the High Shoals sign. Go 1.5 miles on this road to the High Shoals Scenic Area. Horse Trough Falls A succession of five waterfalls graces this 170-acre scenic area. These falls have an estimated total vertical drop of 300 feet. Helen/Hiawassee Area: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles. Turn right on Forest Service Road 283 at the High Shoals sign. Go 1.5 miles on this road to the High Shoals Scenic Area. Mill Creek Falls The first waterfall drops about 150 feet into Mill Creek. The second plunges another 150 feet, into a series of rapids through the Mill Creek Gorge. Directions: from Hiawassee, take U.S. 76 east, go right on Hwy. 75 for 3.5 miles, left on Mill Creek Rd (FSR 26) for 2.5 miles. Helton Creek Falls Two waterfalls, one small, and one large, are located on Helton Creek. Directions: Go to Helton Creek Road and Forest Service Rd 118, just 1 1/2 miles north of Neel’s Gap off Highway 19/129. The road is on the right as you travel north. It is just south of Vogel State Park. You have only .2 mile trail leading from the parking area on Helton Creek Road, to the base of the larger upper falls. DeSoto Falls Three falls along a 3 mile section of the DeSoto Falls Trail are maintained for the hiker’s viewing convenience, and are designated as the lower (cascading 20 feet), the middle (falls about 80 feet) and the upper (about 200 feet) DeSoto Falls. Directions: From Dahlonega travel north on US 19 for 13.5 miles to Turners Corner. At this intersection, turn left and proceed on US 129 for 4.2 miles. Shortly after the Walasi-yi Center is a left turn for the park. Hemlock Falls The scenic two-mile trail leading to Hemlock Falls teases visitors with the sounds of rushing water during the entire hike. From Clayton: take 76W to HWY 197. Follow HWY 197 to Moccasin Creek State Park/ Lake Burton Fish Hatchery, turning right onto Andersonville Lane, the gravel road across from the hatchery. Continue 0.5 miles until the road dead ends at the trailhead. Follow the trail along Moccasin Creek. You will cross a bridge above one set of falls and will pass another small set of falls on your left before continuing up the trail to the larger Hemlock Falls.  

Waterfalls of North Georgia2022-06-24T12:09:37-04:00

Warwoman Dell

Warwoman Dell was named to honor a Cherokee Warwoman. Some believe it could have been named for Nancy Hart, the Revolutionary War era woman who may have fought at the Battle of Kettle Creek with her husband and sons. Most likely, though, it was named to honor Nancy Ward, a highly-respected “beloved woman” of the Cherokee Nation who frequented the dell and advised the Cherokee tribal council on war and peace. She was very powerful in the Cherokee clan rule, for she was the last Warwoman in the East. When the Cherokee chiefs voted to go to war, it could only happen if the Warwoman approved. The 66 steps lead to the abandoned Blue Ridge Railroad. Two moderately easy, family-friendly trails lead through this beautiful pocket of wilderness showcasing tall trees, dense vegetation, mosses, wildflowers, and three waterfalls. The hike visits the popular Becky Branch Falls, historic areas of Warwoman Dell and several smaller waterfalls on a 1.4 mile loop. While it's not a long hike, it's an exceptionally beautiful one. This is a fairly moderate, short trail, with parking and a roadside picnic spot. Directions: Traveling north US Hwy 441 in downtown Clayton, one block after US 76 comes in from the left, go east on Warwoman Dell Road for 2.8 miles. When the road makes a sharp curve to the left, watch for Warwoman Dell Recreation Area entrance on the right. Follow the gravel road to the first parking lot.

Warwoman Dell2022-06-24T12:10:53-04:00
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