Trahlyta is the name of a woman in Cherokee legend who is said to have lived on Cedar Mountain near present day Dahlonega. Trahlyta was told to walk along a certain path, drink from a magic spring, and wish never to grow old by the Witch of Cedar Mountain. “You will become more beautiful with each sip,” the witch said. Trahlyta followed the path and drank from the spring, known today as Porter Springs. The magic worked and word of her youthful beauty quickly spread. The Cherokee warrior Wahsega courted her, but Trahlyta rejected his courtship. The angered warrior kidnapped and imprisoned Trahlyta in some unknown location west of the Princess’s mountain home. With each day, Trahlyta longed to return to her mountain forest. Over time, her strength waned, her beauty faded, and she became ill. Crying tears of pure gold as she lay dying, Trahlyta asked to be buried in the mountain paradise from which she had come. “Strangers, as they pass by, may drop a stone on my grave and they too shall be young and happy, as I once was,” she said. “What hey wish for shall be theirs!” Wahsega honored her dying wish and brought her body home to be buried. As the legend of Trahlyta grew, “custom arose among the Indians and later the Whites to drop stones, one for each passerby, on her grave for good fortune.” The grave remains in the same place it has always been in Stonepile Gap and today the stone pile is at least five feet high. While those who leave stones on Trahlyta’s Grave may be blessed with good fortune, visitors are cautioned against removing any stones from the pile. Accidents and ill fortune are rumored to await any who attempt to take the Cherokee Princess’s gifts. Twice during road construction, the Highway Department attempted to move the grave. Both times at least one person died in an accident while moving the pile. In 1540, Hernando Desoto, the famed Spanish explorer, reportedly sent soldiers to investigate Trahlyta’s “Fountain of Youth” as witnessed by a Spanish conquistador helmet which was found not far from the spring. In the later 1800’s and early 1900’s, Porter Springs, just 3/4 miles northeast of Trahlyta’s grave, was the site of a popular health spa to which people came from all across the planet to soak in and drink the water. The hotel burned to the ground in the early 1900’s, but the series of springs at the foot of the mountain still run sweet and clear. Today, visitors can hike the nearly level Trahlyta Lake Trail in Vogel State Park. The trail is an easy 1.2 mile path that circles the Lake Trahlyta, leading to views of Blood Mountain and many lake viewpoints. The trail is primarily used for hiking, walking, nature trips, and fishing and is accessible year-round. A short spur from the lake trail on the northeast end of the lake leads down the base of the 110 foot Trahlyta Falls, [...]


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. Nancy Ward was born circa 1738 and was called Nanyehi in her native Cherokee language. She was no stranger to war. At the Battle of Taliwa in Ball Ground, Georgia, she helped her husband, Kingfisher, in battle by laying behind a log and chewing his bullets so that the resulting jagged edges might create more damage. When her husband was killed, Nancy picked up his rifle and continued the fight leading her people to victory. She was only 17. At the age of 18, she was awarded with the Cherokee title of “Ghigau”, a prestigious title meaning “beloved woman” or “war woman”, making her a member of the tribal council of chiefs. She was also named the leader of the Women’s Council of Clan Representatives and took over the role of ambassador and negotiator for her people. Through the difficult, war raved years of the Revolutionary War era, Nancy Ward continued promoting alliance and mutual friendship between the Cherokees and the colonists. She led the Cherokee in the implementation of farming, dairy production, and new loom weaving techniques that forever changed traditional roles in Cherokee society. She died in 1822, or possibly 1824, before the Cherokee were removed from their remaining lands during the Trail of Tears. In the 1930’s, after decades of logging had nearly destroyed the area, the Civilian Conservation Corps arrived to reforest and restore the natural beauty of the dell. There is small Forest Service park located at the site of the CCC camp of the 1930’s. No remains of the camp buildings exist. A series of stone structures, identified as trout hatcheries by a sign in the park, are the only remnants of the CCC at Warwoman Dell. Thanks to the hard work of the Civilian Conservation Corps, the area’s natural beauty can be appreciated today. 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 [...]

Warwoman Dell2024-04-17T19:57:16-04:00

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 Stone2024-04-17T19:57:09-04:00

Road Trip to: Hike in Western North Carolina

Western North Carolina offers a stunning backdrop for hiking enthusiasts, with its picturesque mountains that seem to touch the sky. As you trek through the winding trails, surrounded by lush forests and vibrant wildflowers, the panoramic views of the Blue Ridge Mountains unfold before you in all their majestic glory. The crisp mountain air invigorates your senses, while the sounds of birds provide a soothing melody. Enjoy some of the breathtaking vistas and see what Western North Carolina’s mountain trails have to offer to help leave a lasting impression on the soul. Hayesville Jack Rabbit Mountain Recreation Area: Take US 64E for 6.2 miles. Turn right onto NC 175, and go 2.5 miles. These 15 miles of trails are good for biking and walking of which many border Lake Chatuge while others meander through the woods or hilltops. The Jackrabbit Mountain Trail just outside the campground provides 2.4 mile easy trail loops through open woods with lake views. Fires Creek Wildlife Management Area : From Hayesville, take Tusquitee Street (SR 1300), go about 4.4 miles. Turn right on SR 1344 and go about 0.7 miles. The road turns into FR 340 (gravel). Several well known recreational trails + 25 mile Rim Trail follows the ridge around Fires Creek Wildlife Management Area. The trail, marked with blue blazes, has several access roads and trails. Shooting Creek Scenic Overlook: Take Hwy. 64 East from Hayesville towards Franklin, N.C. Perfect overlook area with tons of space to park and take in the scenery. Murphy river walk Located in downtown Murphy off Valley River Avenue the 3 mile walk beside the river starts or ends behind the Hackney Warehouse / Downtown Train Depot and Koneheta Park. A beautiful easy walk provides a mixture of shade and sun as it passes the trees along the river. Enjoy the park with playground for seating and picnic tables. Robbinsville Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest From Robbinsville, take Highway 129 North for 1½ miles to the junction with Highway 143 West (Massey Branch Road). Turn left on Highway 143 and travel approx 5 miles to a stop sign. Turn right onto Kilmer Road. Drive for approx 7.3 miles and bear to the right at the junction of Santeetlah Gap and the Cherohala Skyway. Continue for another 2½ miles to the entrance of the Joyce Kilmer Memorial Forest. This shares the Nantahala & Cheoah Ranger District and has remained untouched by logging since 1936. This 2 mile figure-eight loop trail begins at the main parking area and climbs into Poplar Cove, where some tremendous poplars still grow today. The loops, connected in the middle, can be hiked in either direction. Lake Santeetlah located just north of Robbinsville is a separate lake where visitors enjoy fishing and boating. Nantahala River From Murphy go East on Hwy. 74 to travel past Andrews where the 4-lane Hwy. narrows to a 2-lane and winds through the Nantahala Mtns. & NFS. Enjoy the beautiful Nantahala River that winds along side this 10 mile stretch with [...]

Road Trip to: Hike in Western North Carolina2024-04-17T19:57:30-04:00

Community Spotlight: Rabun County

Relax in Rabun North Georgia’s Summer Retreat Lake Burton In the midst of life’s hustle and bustle, there’s an undeniable allure to escaping it all and immersing oneself in the serenity of a relaxing vacation. Whether it’s the flowing waters of a glimmering lake, the rustle of leaves in a secluded forest, or the breathtaking vistas of mountain ranges, Rabun County offers a variety of activities to soothe the soul and rejuvenate the spirit. Nature has an unparalleled ability to instill a sense of calm and perspective and Rabun County has approx. 150,000 acres of National Forest land and 20% is owned by Georgia Power for Lake Burton, Rabun, Seed, and Tallulah. If boating, water-sports, swimming or fishing help you cool off on a hot summer day then Rabun County has several lakes with the largest being Lake Burton. Offering three activity areas of Jones Bridge Park, Timpson Cove Beach, or Murray Cove all offer shoreline and picnic areas. Lake Rabun is the second largest with Nacoochee Park and Rabun Beach. Fees are usually required for fishing and catches include bass, bream, perch, trout and catfish. If your looking for cool waters to beat the heat, the Chattooga River borders Georgia and South Carolina and is recognized as one of the Southeast’s premier whitewater area. Over 50 miles of river flows from the Appalachian Mountains to Lake Tugaloo offering class II – V rapids. Black Rock State Park Rabun County boasts on having “three Georgia State Parks” with Moccasin Creek State Park on Lake Burton and off the Scenic Hwy. 197. Black Rock Mountain State Park to the North and takes it’s name from the shear dark granite wall that is visible from long distances. Within the State Park there are four scenic overlooks. Visitors enjoying backpacking for day trips, hiking on the trails and fishing on the 17 acre lake. Near Black Rock Mtn. is home to the famed “Foxfire” Museum & Heritage Center. The project of Foxfire magazine was based on interviewing local people and publishing their stories, which inspired numerous schools across the country to develop similar programs. The museum offers a self-guided tour through the authentic village showing the trades of early settlers Dillard House Traveling north a beautiful valley surrounded by farmland and mountains leads to the community of Dillard that dates back to the earliest documented white settlers in 1794. Visitors have been welcomed to farm fresh family-style meals at the Dillard House Restaurant since 1917 which is listed on the National Register of Historical Places. The town has an old time feel with antique shops, markets, welcoming accommodations, plus arts & crafts to help you savor the simple life. To view high atop the Mountains take a beautiful scenic drive on Highway 246 toward Sky Valley, Ga. to see an aerial perspective from lookouts. The area offers abundant hiking, waterfalls and scenic flora. Georgia’s highest city, with an elevation of 3,500 ft. is home to Sky Valley [...]

Community Spotlight: Rabun County2024-04-17T19:57:23-04:00
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