With all the modern technology that exists today, it’s very easy to sit at home and stay constantly distracted. Every once in a while it’s nice to just leave behind all the gadgets and furniture that makes living convenient and comfortable, and escape to the woods. Camping is an excellent way to do this. I first started camping as a little girl with my family and remember loving every minute of it. As an adult it gets harder and harder to find time to do more of the things you truly enjoy. So whenever time, weather, and money permits I plan a camping/hiking trip.
Last summer my boyfriend and I were able to take a weeklong vacation and headed up to the north Georgia and western North Carolina mountains for some much needed camping and hiking time. To get ready for this excursion we would need to gather some essential items from home first. The list of provisions included: a tent, sleeping bags and pillows, flashlights, hygiene products, clothes and shoes, foldable camping chairs, a lighter, a cooler, eating utensils, hydration packs, canned and dry food, and maps of the general areas we would be visiting. With all our supplies packed in the car, we headed north and didn’t stop until we saw mountains.
Our tent all set up. The small creek was just to the left.
By the time we arrived it was close to nightfall and we had to set up camp. Our campground for the night was DeSoto Falls located in the Chatahoochee National Forest. We drove around first to pick out our ideal campsite and noticed there weren’t too many other people around. It was a very quiet and secluded area which was just perfect for us. This campground had a bathhouse with an outdoor fenced-in shower. We also noticed there was a hiking trail which led to two waterfalls. After driving around in a complete circle, our campsite choice was obvious: the one right next to a small creek. We would make this our home for the next day.
It was getting dark quickly so I retrieved the cooler and started assembling dinner while my other half set up the tent and then collected some nearby wood to make a nice fire. After a long day we ended up with just enough light left to eat some food, get our tent set up, and get a fire started. When the sun went down and it was completely dark outside, we sat in our Coleman camping chairs around the mesmerizing fire and just soaked in the natural atmosphere. There were a few fireflies floating around, crickets chirping, the sound of the creek behind us, and even an owl hooting. We both looked at each other and yawned and decided it was time to crash for the night. Just before nodding off we heard some animals rustling in the bushes and I just smiled, turned over, and quickly fell asleep.
The bridge before the waterfall
The next morning we were refreshed and ready to hike the waterfall trail we discovered the day before, so we headed over to the DeSoto Falls Scenic Area. The name comes from a legend which says there was a piece of armor found near the falls that supposedly belonged to Hernando DeSoto or one of the explorers traveling with him. The area features a quarter mile trail leading to the Lower Falls and a 3/4 mile trail leading to the Upper Falls. We hiked to the Lower Falls first. It was a short, easy, fairly level trail paved with dirt and mulch. The first waterfall was somewhat small but beautiful. We sat and gazed at it for a little while, then started hiking to the Upper Falls. There was a nice bridge that we crossed to get over the river, just before getting to the waterfall. These falls were a lot taller and we stayed and watched the water for a bit longer.
The Upper Falls
After returning from our morning hike we decided to follow the plan we made the night before to leave this campsite and explore more of the Chatahoochee National Forest. Our next destination of choice was the Raven Cliffs Trailhead which leads to the popular Raven Cliff Falls. We took down the tent, packed up our belongings, and headed off toward our next adventure. There is nothing more exciting and freeing than being able to travel wherever your heart desires and not having ties to one specific place. It’s also satisfying to be able to pack up and take with you everything you need to survive.
Having a whole week without internet, electricity, appliances, furniture, or a private bathroom may seem like a sacrifice to some people but to us it is a state of relaxation and connectedness to nature. Hundreds of years ago people didn’t have all the amenities we have as Americans today. There are people in other countries right now who are still living without what we would consider the basic necessities of life. I feel like it’s important to know that I can exist without technology and amenities and still have an awesome time!