BACK DOWN TO LOWER ELEVATIONS

through



TRAVEL DAY - 107 miles

TULLALAH GORGE STATE PARK
to
McKINNEY CAMPGROUND

Out of the mountains and back to semi-level driving



Coming out of the mountains and back down to reasonable elevations means a couple of things are going to change. Most importantly, the temperatures should be a little more comfortable, especially the overnight lows. Next and almost as important, we should start seeing more reliable cell phone signals, which means Tricia can work right from the POD and I can maybe stay a little more up to date with the blog entries. No more loading everything we need into ROVER and driving down the mountain into town, looking for a library or other reasonable location to get some work done from. Lastly, we can now search out campsites with luxuries, like water and electricity hookups so we can run the heater and charge our laptops, and not have to fill our fresh water holding tank and tote nearly 40 gallons of water with us everywhere we go. It's going to be nice to get back to civilization. Almost forgot, also we now have unlimited hot water showers available to us, oh yeah!


Our first stop outside of the mountains is Tallulah Gorge State Park in the northeast corner of Georgia. When we booked this site we knew of course there was a gorge to explore, but what we didn't know what that most weekends in April and November the power company that owns and operates the hydroelectric dam on the Tallulah River releases enough water to create the opportunity for whitewater kayaking through the gorge and over several of the falls. We were in for an unexpected treat and the best part is the price for all this entertainment, is FREE!

First I'll give you a little perspective of what a water release means in Tallulah Gorge. On a normal day the dam releases 35-40 cubic feet per second (CFS) creating rapids and dramatic waterfalls through the two mile long gorge. But on these whitewater release days the flow is increased to 500-700 CFS to create Class IV-V kayaking conditions. I'll show you a couple of photos of the difference that means when viewing the dam, then you can watch the slideshow and I'll demonstrate the difference between Friday's normal flow and Saturday's release flow.

Friday's normal release flow - 35-40 CFS

Saturday's whitewater release flow - 500 CFS

We watched all of the action on the water below from Overlook #1 on the North Rim Trail. We saw many single kayakers and a few 1-3 man rafts go over Oceana Falls during our three hour watch. Several kayakers where turned upside down in the water but managed to roll back upright and continue downstream. Only once did someone go upside down and have to bail out of their kayak, but don't worry there were several others nearby in the water to rescue the swimmer and chase down his kayak and paddle. We also saw two kayakers who elected not to paddle over the falls and instead got out on the rocks and walked their kayaks around the falls only to reentered the water a few yards downstream.

Two other items of interest about Tallulah Falls is that in July of 1970 the famous Karl Wallenda, at the age of 65, did a high wire walk of 1200 feet long and nearly 750 feet above the gorge. As if that wasn't enough, he did two head stands while out on the middle of the wire. The other item of interest is the fact that most of the 1971 movie Deliverance was filmed at Tallulah Gorge. You remember Deliverance, the movie that gave us Dueling Banjos and starred Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty, Ronny Cox and Bill McKinney.

Anyway here come the photos and I will try to post a few short videos of the kayakers going over the falls in next post. I usually try to show you the photos in the same order that we saw them in that day. This slideshow will be a little different because I will be comparing Friday's normal water flow pictures with Saturday's whitewater release pictures, enjoy!



TWO FACES OF TALLULAH GORGE



All that is left of the 1970 North Wallenda Tower structure
Wallenda's view of his destination on the South Rim
Friday's picture of the observation bridge
Saturday's picture of the observation bridge
Heading down the 310 steps to get to the observation bridge
Almost there, just a few more steps
Finally at the bridge, but soon it will be time to climb back up
Friday's view of L'Eau d'Or Falls from Overlook #3
A little bit closer view
Saturday's view of L'Eau d'Or Falls from Overlook #3
Friday's view of Oceana Falls from Overlook #1
Saturday's view of Oceana Falls from Overlook #1
Rescuing the overturned kayaker and his paddle
Now that the falls are done it's time to continue on down the river

HOW TO TAKE CONTROL OF THIS SLIDESHOW

Option 1 - Do nothing and cycle through the photos at the predetermined speed.

Option 2 - Hover over any photo with the cursor and use the forward and reverse arrows that appear on the left and right centers to speed through the photos. Photos will still change at the predetermined speed if you wait too long. Keep your eye on the clock in the upper right hand corner.

Option 3 - Hover over any photo with the cursor and click on the pause button. You now have full control to go forward or reverse at your own speed. You can also select any of the little round buttons under the photo to navigate through the photos.

WANT TO SEE THE PHOTOS AT A LARGER SIZE?

1st - Click near the center of any photo and it will open to a larger size than what appears in the slideshow.
2nd - Click on it again and it will open to it's original full resolution size.
3rd - You will have to use your browsers back button to return to the slideshow after viewing the photo.



Until next time
TWO PEAS


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