There are still many posts to write about New York, Ohio, Paris, etc., not to mention posts about old reminiscences but the weather has been so pleasant, the leaves have such brilliant colors that I am taking a hiatus and writing about this season. (Please click on pictures to enlarge them.)
Even our house, nestled among woods and surrounded mostly by pine trees has several hardwoods with resplendent foliage this year. It seems that the trees are saturated with the autumn light. I love to wander in our forest and look up through the branches to catch flashes of sun turning the leaves cadmium, gold, sienna, crimson, scarlet, maroon against the luminous blue sky – in the front of the house
on the side
in the back
and even among the rest of the woods where there are usually only evergreens and wildflowers (not counting the weeds!)
After decades of working with aircraft, I usually look up at the sky when outdoors. There is nothing better to literally lift my spirits than looking through the leaves of a tall tree and seeing the sky. It is an even greater pleasure when shadows from the sun play in a tree covered with leaves of glorious shades of gold, rust or deep red – and then above it I look at the infinite sky - happiness is the word here. This is one of my favorite quotes: “There is a certain feeling of courage and hope when you look in the field of the air. You instinctively look up, not down. You look ahead, not back. You look ahead where the horizons are absolutely limitless. “ (Robert E. “Bob” Gross, Lockheed Chairman/CEO 1932-1961.)A week ago we took to the road again. This time we drove close to Nashville, Tennessee, to visit our daughter and family and see the new little baby, our third grandson. That day both the pre-school of the 3 years old and the kindergarten of the almost 5 years old had Fall Festivals. We listened to a middle school choir, watched tattoos being placed on little arms, small pumpkins being painted and many other fun activities.
The kindergarten computers were at rest and the teacher was dressed as a mouse. Even the smallest grandson was wearing a costume.
Driving back to Georgia from Tennessee, I normally avoid Chattanooga because of the high mountain climbs followed by steep downhill runs on the Interstate Highway. We usually drive from Tennessee and then stop in the little town of Trenton, Georgia, half way to our home, then continue driving through the Chattahoochee National Forest. There is little traffic and the landscape is lovely. This last time since it was such a sunny day and still early we decided to take a road we had noticed before when we passed through the town of Villanow, Georgia. At the head of this road was a sign - “Georgia Scenic Byway.”
We were not sure where this road would lead us – but were eager to find out. We turned on the little country road and at first went by several houses and then we saw a small cemetery. Around the tombstones were at least 25 wild turkeys. I slowly brought the car to a stop and took my camera to photograph them. They had seen us and were starting to move away.
They silently walked down a hill and I could only take 4 pictures quickly.
We walked toward the small graves which appeared to be old. There were just 4 or 5 graves. One had flowers in front of it but it was hard to read.
Then I saw a new plaque next to it giving the name: “Francyne G. Turner, June 9, 1845 – May 10, 1918.” She had been a 16th child… they had large families then. For this area of Georgia, this is considered old because Walker County, where Villanow is located, was created in 1833. Before that the land belonged to the Cherokee Indian Nation.
We kept on driving and soon enough we were away from all human habitation. We did not see any traffic nor any signs for quite a while. There was what looked like a path, but with grass growing on it, it did not look like many people had walked there.
Then we saw a sign – we were in John’s Mountain Wilderness Management Area, a 24,000 acre reserve (approx. 9,713 hectares.) A board showed all the points of interest.
The road we were driving down is the one on the right hand side on the map below.
It certainly was nice and peaceful - no one around. Being a week day, maybe more visitors come on week-ends. We passed little roads on the side. Some were closed.
We kept on driving for several miles.
A small road looked inviting. We took it slowly as it was quite narrow.
After a mile or so we saw a sign showing the way to “Keown Falls.”
But in front of the parking area was another sign indicating that the deck above the falls was unstable. So we just looked at the trail and decided to come back another time, in the spring maybe.
When we go to Tennessee we can take our cats with us – for other trips we have to board them at the veterinarian. The cats were in the car, so we did not want to walk too far away.
As we were getting back to the main road we heard a loud noise. It was a large logging truck. I had my camera close and was able to snap it as it passed in front of us. My husband said that the driver waved as he went by.
The road was narrow and curvy and unless I could find a spot to stop the car I did not want to take pictures from the road afraid another fast moving logging truck would flatten our little car.
But I was able to stop several times to admire the picturesque surroundings.
There was an opening on the road and a parking area. A panel indicated that this was John’s Creek. We stopped to take a look (there were no other car anywhere.)
John’s Creek was not very large and slow moving among the rocks.
Going back on the little road we remarked on how isolated this area was ... apart from logging trucks (but we only saw 2.)
We kept driving down the road for at least another 15 miles or more (25 kms)
until we reached a large house, which was a “spiritual retreat” then some organic farms and finally several houses. Soon we were back on Interstate 75. This had been a 3 hours detour – but quite worth it! We enjoyed it so much that we decided to take other little trips to look at the bright autumn colors, very soon.