Well, I’m still “hiding out” after my return home. Recovering from all the travel — and tropical heat. Deliberately trying not to do much until my body says it’s okay to resume. That leaves my mind with a lot of undirected random thoughts. Feels great!
So although I usually like to record my trips in chronological order, well, not this time. But here’s a day I want to remember: the day I was lost.
Wasn’t my fault!!!!
That’s the Spaghetti Map I had to work with. I’d see other people stopped in mid-pathway, looking at this thing, and they’d say to their friends or family, “None of the pathways intersect!” “Where are we on this thing?” “How do we get over there?” I took out my own map and quickly realized it wasn’t going to be of any help to me either.
It was somewhat in the late afternoon in southeastern Tennessee. In a few hours I would be attempting to drive through Atlanta, Georgia, and I’d get there somewhere around…Rush Hour. I decided to stop, as the billboards were directing me, at “Rock City” to kill an hour or so, and thus arriving after the daily Atlanta Parking Lot Hour.
I’ll skip the harrowing ride up Lookout Mt. and say only that even my Tom-Tom got dizzy and kept telling me to turn around and get out of there. I’ll skip the breath-taking sign that informed us how much we’d have to pay to get in, leaving us gasping and wondering just how much fiscal trouble the state of Tennessee was in…..
“Rock City” turned out to actually be like a little city, a city of lovely pathways and interesting rock formations which invited imagination and wonder.
…..After an initial challenge:
The young lady ahead of me was considerably younger – and slimmer than I am…..But after all, she’s getting through with a backpack, so I didn’t think I’d be disqualified.
More pathways took us into the center of the mountain:
And then out into “miles and miles” of lovely pathways:
Up and down. (Did I already say “miles and miles”?)
Then I came to something I’d always wanted to do! It was a long and genuine Swing Bridge!
There it is, stretching out ahead, maybe a hundred feet long and — trust me — looked like more than a thousand feet high above tree tops. It’s made of wood slats tied together somehow and it actually swung, jiggled, swayed, bounced with every move.
Those of you who have been in the military will know why it is you are told “At ease!” when your platoon comes to a bridge. And you’ll understand why I didn’t get any clear photos from the middle of the bridge. I tried walking with uneven, non-rhythmic steps, but, well…what can you do when there are plenty of adolescent boys around doing what boys will do on a swing bridge!
And so here was the goal of all of us tourists, so it seemed:
I’d estimate a couple thousand feet down there too. It was a spectacular view, although with a somewhat uncomfortable name: Lover’s Leap.
Not sure what state you’d land in. Signs on the drive up alternated: “You are now entering Georgia.” “You are now entering Tennessee.” “You are now entering Georgia.” “You are now entering Tennessee.” etc.
But you can take your pick which state you’d like to see:
And all the states were pretty proud of it:
Each state had a flag, a monument, and a little map on the flagstone patio.
Seemed like once you get to the top there is no place further to go, so I start thinking about what time it was, how hot and thirsty I was, how far away from the car I was, and where is my car anyway? This is about when I attempted to use my map. . . .and decided it can’t be that hard to find my way down a mountain. Just keep going….down.
Half an hour later the lovely pathways weren’t getting me anywhere, so I thought maybe I could take a shortcut:
If you can’t find your way down around the mountain, maybe you could get through the mountain.
Deeper and darker. The Mrs. who owned this land, a Mrs. Frieda Carter, I found out, was the guiding hand behind the development of Rock City. She was from Germany and she loved fairy tales. Really, really loved them.
Still deep in the mountain, we were treated to Cinderella and her pumpkin.
And Hansel and Gretel:
And many, many more gnomes and trolls and imaginary places, but like all the children in the grim Grimm fairy tales, I just wanted to get home.
Or to Atlanta. I no longer had to worry about driving through Rush Hour. But I’m okay about driving in the dark of night.
What great memories!
If you find yourself in southeastern Tennessee sometime, don’t hesitate to stop off and visit Rock City! I’ve held back from you so many wonderful photos, you’ll just have to see the whole thing yourself. Never mind the price of admission; it’s well worth it!