James and I took Friday off from work, to have a nice long weekend for celebrating our anniversary. As soon as five o'clock hit on Thursday, we were out the door and on the road, where we relaxed for an evening at our favorite hotel in Chattanooga (above). It was a cold rainy night, and the fireplace was very inviting for two weary travelers. The rain continued into the next morning as we made our way to the small town of Dayton, to finally- successfully!!!- get the pennies from the general store. Across the street from the store is the county courthouse (below), the location of the famous "Scopes Monkey" trial in the 1920's.
We headed through the nasty weather to our destination for the weekend- a cabin on the lake at Fall Creek Falls state park. Our fun little cabin (below) was right on the shores of the lake. As you can see from the photos, the back end of the cabin is built up over the actual lake itself, so that the deck hangs right over the water. Had it been more convenient weather, we may have brought along our fishing gear. Still, we were able to enjoy the unimpeded views across the water. And it made it easy to feed bread to all the ducks and geese who just swam right up to our back porch.
The cabin was cozy and quaint, and luckily there was a large and readily available supply of firewood to help keep us warm over the weekend. We knew we were in for a cold few days, which we were okay with. We brought plenty of snacks and drinks, reading material, and even Boggle and Scrabble. I know it was rough on James because his Blackberry did not get service, and his laptop's air card did not either, which meant no internet (and no work!). The worst part of the weekend was no working remote control for the TV! Although James and I are old enough to remember life before cable and remotes, it's been a long time since we've had to change the channel manually, but James took the task seriously. After all, Saturday night was the first NASCAR race of the season!
We woke up to light snow and temps in the 20's on Saturday, and I'm not sure if it even got up beyond 29 for the day. While deciding what to pack earlier in the week, I actually watched the weather channel for forecasts and expected 40's. Thankfully we brought plenty of warm clothes, because we had no intentions of staying cooped up in the cabin, especially when the whole park lost power for several hours that afternoon. It snowed all day on Saturday, but it was only faint flurries- exciting for us in the South, but probably not even noteworthy for all those folks getting bombarded with snowstorms along the northeastern coast right now. I do admit as much as I love the flurries, I do not enjoy the iced up sidewalks and roads. Even the running boards on the truck were covered in inch-thick ice, and James had to help boost me up into the truck every time.
Originally we were going to spend the whole anniversary weekend in Chattanooga itself, playing tourist at all the attractions. But we decided we wanted a quiet few days together, and what better way to be alone with each other, than to get outside in the freezing cold and take in some of Mother Nature's beauty. We were actually surprised to see how many people were at the park for the weekend, although I suspect most of them stayed snuggled up inside because we saw very few people while we were traipsing outdoors.
The park is an astounding 20,000 acres of forest, gorges, waterfalls, rivers, and stunning rock formations. A smaller, greener version of the grander canyons out West. Although there was the occasional sightseer out and about, we felt as though we had the place all to ourselves. Us and the three or four dozen deer we saw meandering throughout the park. There were several suspended bridges right out over the water, and very little of the park was off limits, so we felt as though we were able to get right up close to everything.
The formation below was called the George Hole, although I'm not sure why. Most of the signs posted at all the scenic spots were actually frozen over with snow and ice. It was beautiful, that's all I can say. You can see how enormous the rocks are, and how tiny James looks beside them. The day was so gloomy, I had my flash on the whole time, and most of my photos are "dotted" with snowflakes falling just as I would snap the picture.
The highlights of the park are the many waterfalls (Fall Creek Falls, Piney Falls, Cane Creek Cascades and Falls), all of which were thunderous with all the extra rain the South has been receiving lately. They were all quite spectacular, and thankfully they were all easy to get to. I'm not up to much hiking these days.
We had a wonderful weekend getaway, but as all good things must, this also had to come to an end. The park has a super early check-out time (1oam!!), so no sleeping in for us on Sunday morning. We got up fairly early to beat the crowd, as all the cabins at the park were rented out and plenty of folks were staying up at the inn as well. We left in the early morning and had the roads to ourselves. The only eyes that watched us leaving the park were the deer on the golf course.
We left our weekend winter wonderland and headed back to our real lives, where my husband didn't even get to come home with me. He had to go directly to work, to oversee a Superbowl party for the Sunday night crew working in the warehouse. But, I am sure he went in very rested and relaxed, and hopefully very happy.