spring break trip report #1

The boys and I took a couple of mini-trips over their spring break, with almost entirely positive results.

Excursion One: The Hike Inn at Amicalola Falls. I’ve been feeling very back-to-nature-y, and wanted to do a quick little getaway with the guys with minimal planning on my part. The Hike Inn sounded perfect: You HIKE IN five miles to the inn, sleep and eat there with all amenities provided, then hike back out.

It was awesome in the ways that really matter: Rockinrolla and Brad and I got to spend time laughing and talking in the woods as we got some great exercise in the pure mountain air. The food at the inn was fine (they even made me veggie meals) and the facilities were much nicer than I expected. Also, we totally lucked out with the weather: right before and right after we hiked, it poured down rain.

The Take-away Info for the Hike Inn

1. Hiking five miles might not seem like a big deal, but with a pack and on a mountainous trail, it’s nothing to sneeze at. My calves are still sore.

2. Bring a cell phone. They tell you it’s a cell phone free facility, but I decided that was ridiculous, especially since Daddy J wasn’t coming. Good thing I did.

3. THE MAP IS INCORRECT. Yes. It’s a bad thing. It’s very clear from the map that the entrance to the inn is at 4.9 miles, but IT’S NOT. It’s well after the 5 mile mark. Possibly not an issue if you have good visibility, but we had fog as thick as clam chowder, which apparently also muffles sound. We doubled and re-doubled back, tried out another offshoot trail, hollered for help, and grew increasingly anxious about the whole situation for a good half hour. We were very glad that we did in fact have a means of communication, even though we had to search for places with reception. (see #2) Finally the dude from the inn got our message and emerged from the fog like Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl: moderately creepy to witness, but with an inviting smile.

4. The bunk rooms have heaters. I’m still bitter about this one. Why didn’t they tell me? The boys and I had adjoining rooms, and the open doors hid the heater controls. I saw the panel on the ceiling, but assumed that it was an automatic solar thing, since there was all this info at the inn about solar power, and figured that we were SOL because of all the fog. It was a hideous night’s sleep, cold and miserable, on top of having to get up at 4:30 to drive there that morning. Apparently, too, the top bunks are warmer than the bottom ones.

5. Bring tip money. This was embarrassing. Who thinks to bring money while camping? But evidently this wasn’t “camping,” exactly, and the caretakers and cooks and cleaning people work for tips. Also, it would have been nice to have cash to pay for our packed lunches, because the dude groused a little at having to add it to my room’s credit card tab. And didn’t want to put tips on the credit card bill.

6. Bring a sleeping bag or thick blanket. Yes, there is bedding provided, but no mattress pads to go on top of the very thin plastic mattresses. I used one of my blankets as a mattress pad, so just had one on top of my shuddering, fully clothed self. Bummer.

7. They have guitars in the sunrise lounge room. Brad brought his ukulele, but would have been happy just playing the guitars there.

8. The plants were ALMOST ready to bloom and leaf out when we were there. Like, all the rhododendrons were heavy with closed buds, and there were a few baby leaves, but I saw one actual flower on a ground plant and the trees were basically bare, except for the magnolias. It would be nice to time a trip when things are blooming or at least leaves are on the trees.

(and YES, I do very much want to go back. It was a really, really wonderful trip with my sons.)

The computer bizarrely and evilly deleted the photos from the trip after we uploaded them. Yes, this makes me very sad. Yes. I did take a few cell phone pics before we departed, though, and am hopeful that we can upload Brad’s film he took with his ipod.

There’s also a gorgeous waterfall there with a stairway right on top of it, so you can walk down the entire length of the waterfall. So beautiful. And there’s a regular lodge and cabins if you don’t want the Hike Inn option, but I highly recommend it.

The Garmin took me through another State Park on the way home, with a windy, precipitous on-top-of-the-ridge road. This makes me queasy to even remember – I HAAAAAATE driving on that kind of road. HAAAATE it. And it totally feeds my car-out-of-control nightmares. But, if you like that sort of thing, with the amazing views and whatnot, take a little drive on the scenic route through Fort Mountain State Park.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Jennifer
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 13:51:40

    Sounds fun! We honeymooned in that area, and I remember hiking around and going to those falls. It’s a special place for us and we try to go every once in awhile. I hadn’t heard of this Inn, though. We will have to try that with the kids.

  2. Suzanne
    Apr 04, 2011 @ 20:36:59

    You might like the Hostel in the Forest in Brunswick, GA.
    http://www.foresthostel.com/
    You stay in tree houses!

  3. Trackback: spring break trip #1: a coupla more pics « love, loss, and rainbows

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