But first, a little R & D is in order.
For several reasons. One being my complete ignorance of hiking, coupled with the dilemma of where to go next. Two, my birthday is coming up over the weekend. Can someone say weekend road trip? Time to get with the google gods and make some magic.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have all the time in the world to arrange something while I’m at work. Let me explain. I left a job which didn’t have any room for advancement about seven months ago. I enjoyed the work, but couldn’t picture myself doing it for the rest of my life. I’d been toying with the idea of going out on my own (Marketing and PR), and finally took the leap.
Lots of people told me about different jobs and positions that were available. They weren’t taking my business seriously, but to be fair, I don’t think I was either. Instead of owning it, I spent lots of time justifying my decision to myself and to others. Long story short, a nationally know nonprofit was looking for an executive director. The couple who ran it had done so for twenty years as volunteers. They were ready to let go.
Not! I took the job even though my gut told me not to. Side note: Going against your gut is highly discouraged. We all need to listen to our intuition and trust our instincts. We’d save ourselves a lot of heartaches.
Anyhow, day one of the job had the founder of the chapter training me. She spent thirty minutes telling me how to put a check in an envelope so the address shows through the window. And then she explained that sometimes the envelopes were not self-adhesive and in that case, I would have to wet them. You can’t make this shit up.
Needless to say the job, or at least the actual work involved, was not difficult. Most days I’m finished by 9:30. I come in at 9. I don’t leave until 5. Yeah…….
A couple of quick google searches led to some interesting possibilities.
One is The Book of Mormon in Atlanta. I love that show. Seriously, I love all Broadway shows, but this one is hilarious. I’ve already seen it, but the husband hasn’t. He’s not a big fan of the musical, but he did like Spam-a-Lot. This is like that with super bad language.
I search for hikes close to Atlanta. Several show up, but Sweetwater Creek State Park is on the way for us, not far off the interstate. An easy sell. Tickets are purchased. I’m playing the birthday card.
The Hike at Sweetwater Creek State Park
My husband, Jimmy, is not a big hiker. If it doesn’t involve stalking a deer it’s not really his jam. Like I said…..birthday card. We arrive and head towards the Visitor’s Center. He looks at me for direction. I don’t have the faintest idea which way to go to get to the trailhead so I follow a group that looks like they might be going for a hike.
Looking skeptical, he asks where we’re headed. “To see some ruins”, I say. He perks up a little and away we go. Jimmy is very competitive. He will win hiking. Basically, this means we set off at a breakneck speed down the Red Trail. I’m keeping up, but getting a little annoyed. Why can’t we be like these other couples? Side by side, strolling, enjoying nature. Nope, we look like we’re running through the woods from zombies, ala Walking Dead.
The trail is wide and pretty easy, following Sweetwater Creek on our left. It’s gorgeous and I wonder if they allow paddling here. In no time we arrive at the ruins of the New Manchester Manufacturing Company, a textile mill that burned during the Civil War. Fun fact: The ruins were used in the movie Mockingjay featuring Jennifer Lawrence. The area portrays the bombed-out ruins of District 13, which was destroyed by civil war in the film.
Regardless, the ruins are beautiful and the late afternoon sun passing through the tumbled bricks is lovely. Jimmy looks back and asks if that’s it. Um, no. We’ve gone less than a mile. Continuing along the second half mile of the Red Trail, downstream of the mill, the hike becomes considerably more strenuous due to the very rocky terrain. Scrambling along, we follow the rapids to the Sweetwater Falls area where we climb to an overlook and intersect with the White Trail.
The White Trail climbs rocky bluffs to provide views of the beautiful rapids below while following the ridge. We cross several streams and finally arrive back at the Visitor’s Center completing a five-mile loop. Jimmy is mildly annoyed as we were passed by a group of teenage boys along the way. He’s consoled by the fact that we were able to overtake a younger couple at the intersection of the red and white trails.
On to Atlanta
He’s ready for a beer from the Sweetwater Brewing Company. I may have mentioned that the park was the namesake of the brewery, hinting that it was close by. It’s not. It’s on the other side of Atlanta.I probably should have googled that too. It takes a good forty-five minutes to get there and when we do, it’s closed for a private party. I am on the receiving end of a look.
All is well when we get checked in to the hotel and walk a couple of blocks to STK for a fabulous meal. The rest of the weekend goes well. We walk to the Fox Theatre for the show the next day and then head to an Irish pub for food and that beer.
Time to head back to Alabama. Hike three is in the books and I’m feeling pretty good about the whole 52 weeks, 52 hikes scenario. Only forty-nine more to go.
Happy birthday to me!
Want to read how it all got started? Click here.