We're Wingin' It travel blog

Cloudland Canyon

Waterfall #1, the wider of the two

Waterfall #2, the taller of the two


Notice the run-off area below #1

A zoom-in of the run-off



From Wills Creek RV Park, Fort Payne, in the NE corner of Alabama.

We saw The Grand Canyon in Arizona in August, 2008; we saw the Little River Canyon here in Alabama in October, 2009 & now we have seen Cloudland Canyon (in the state park of the same name) in Georgia in November, 2009. While there is no comparison between Little River & Cloudland to The Grand Canyon, that is far from saying that Little River & Cloudland are uninteresting or unimpressive.

We knew nothing about Cloudland until the day that we took the drive through Desoto State Park & stopped at a small market in Mentone to ask what interesting sights awaited us further down the road. The clerk & a customer both suggested it, but we found that it was another 30-40 miles down the road & it was too late in the afternoon to chase that rabbit that day. We put it on the list for another day.

When we got it nailed on the map, we found one other enticement. How we could resist a place that was located in a town with a name as cute as “Rising Fawn”. Little did we know that half the fun would be had just getting there.

GyPSy Lady never ceases to amaze me. She seems to be having more & more trouble finding simple addresses, etc. Just a few days ago she could not seem to find a business address that was just two blocks off of the town square. Several times lately she has seemed to be ignorant of the most obvious locations.

All of that, but still she determined in her infinite wisdom that we should take a route that included a 5-mile dirt & gravel, one-lane, unnamed road, criss-crossing back & forth up what must have been the back side of the canyon. Thank goodness that Mr. Jeep is a first cousin to a billy goat.

Occasionally we got a glimpse back through the trees down to the paved road that we had traveled before it evolved into this billy-goat path that we were on. Believe me, it was a longggggg way vertically back down to that basin.

I don’t know how she finds roads like that one, which she has now done 4-5 times, or why she thinks they are the best route to go, but I am going to name her Billy Goat if she does it much more.

The photos of the canyon & waterfalls just do not do them justice, so consider that we you look at the photos & read the description below. The next three paragraphs are text that I have taken from the park’s website & brochure & added my edits.

Cloudland Canyon State Park is located on the western edge of Lookout Mountain. This is one of the most scenic parks in the state, offering rugged geology & beautiful vistas. The park straddles a deep gorge cut into the mountain by Sitton's Gulch Creek & elevation climbs from 800 to 1,980 feet. Our drive up the Billy Goat trail was every bit of that 1,180 feet climb, if not more.

The most spectacular view into the canyon, including the two waterfalls, is found near the picnic area parking lot; however, additional views can be found along the rim trail. Hardy visitors who hike to the bottom of the gorge (including a 600-step staircase) find two waterfalls, one of which is nearly 100 feet high, cascading over layers of sandstone and shale into pools below.

The hiking trail begins the descent to Daniel Creek, which forms the waterfalls & drops into Sitton Gulch. The quantity of water over the falls varies greatly from season to season, but on the day that we were there, it must have been high & heavy season. Water was flowing very heavily & freely. The water falls into large splash pools & then continues to cascade down over the boulder-strewn streambed. Each of the waterfalls has its own distinctive beauty.

Going back to GyPSy Lady for just a moment more, I did spend some time downloading updates & additional files for her, hoping that would extend her useful & productive life. Otherwise, she might have found herself suddenly wishing that she had wings to assist her flight out the window at some moment when I found myself feeling completely abandoned by her. Time will tell if those downloads were the salvation of her life, but I did gain one neat feature.

She now has a “Help Me” feature that will tell me exactly where I am at the moment; the idea being that this would be useful when calling for roadside or emergency assistance or even helping me to tell someone else where I am so that they can direct me to my intended location after SHE has gotten me lost & can’t find where it was I wanted to go in the first place.

For example, at the moment as I sit here in Phae, it tells me that I am “near Airport Avenue, Fort Payne, AL, between 15th St NW (1300 yds) and 1st St (700 yds), at latitude/longitude coordinates N 34.45836 and W 85.73755”. Another facet of the same “Help Me” feature is to “Guide me to” either the nearest car repair service, hospital, doctor, police station, pharmacy & dentist. Pretty neat, huh???

As you enter & exit the journal, have you seen their promo of a new printed, bound copy of the journal that will be forthcoming soon? From what I understand thus far, the author (me) of each journal will be able to specify which entries, maps, photos & guestbook comments they would like included in their “book”. There will be a variety of sizes, formats & bindings that can be chosen.

I inquired about a year ago of whether the DVD to which I am entitled from My Trip Journal could be used for compiling a hard-bound book & was told that this option was in development. It is now near beta testing, so I don’t know how much longer it might be before a final product is available. I have been asked to participate in the beta testing, so I look forward to helping make it a product of which I can be proud for a lifetime & pass on to future generations

I have no idea of how the pricing will be structured, but unless it is totally outrageous, I certainly intend to get at least one copy of the complete journal. I am thinking that I would like to have a separate binding for each year of the journal, but that will be subject to pricing, layout, etc. Size limitations may apply, which might mean that I have to break-up one or more years into multiple books. Most people who write these journals do so only for relatively short travel adventures.

The promo says that the journal entries, maps, photos & guestbook comments can be included in whole or selectively. I am also interested in including the itinerary & my private responses to each (most) of your comments. I can copy & print the itinerary easy enough myself, but my comment responses would be quite a task to copy, organize & print manually.

I’ve mentioned before that I write & save the journal entries in Word & then copy them into journal entries. My Word files now total 949 pages, using eleven point font & spacing at 1.15 lines. Through the entry prior to this one, I have posted 2,468 photos & have 1,030 guest book comments. So, depending on pricing, I may have to include something less than everything, but I hope not.

Now, I don’t mean to be ego-ish at all here, but a few of you have suggested that I consider writing a book. If you are interested in knowing more about how this book will be priced, etc, let me know & I will pass-on any info as I get it.

We took a drive down to Boaz, Alabama, intending to see the outlet malls & stores that we have heard about for years. “Intent” is the key word there, as we found that most of them had closed-up, as in permanently. The whole town seemed to be very economically depressed. I suppose the town of Bo-az has done Go-az’d.

We drove around the town, before stopping-in at Hardee’s for lunch. This was the first time we had been to a Hardee’s in 15-20 years, since getting fed-up with repeated screw-ups of our orders. With the trashy, dirty, condition of the dining room that we found, it will be another 15-20 years before we stop at another Hardee’s.

We drove around a bit & returned home, making it a shorter day than we had planned. Those bomb-occasions will happen from time-to-time, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, reminding me of an adage from my working days, attributed to one of the great NHL ice hockey players but applicable to life…..”You miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take”.

I went back to the cattle auction this week, just to sit & enjoy watching the livestock & the people in the crowd. I have such a huge respect & admiration for farmers of any niche.

We were due to leave here Sunday, but are now thinking that we will stay-over one more night so that we can hit the propane distributor down the street to refill Phae’s tanks before starting to boondock through Christmas. They sell propane for $2.00/gallon, very enticing compared to the $2.75-3.75 that we typically pay. We will likely spend two nights at WalMarts before landing at Vicki’s parents on Wednesday.

These two months in Georgia & Alabama have been nice, but we are both sooooo ready to do some serious traveling now…..can’t wait to get started in 2010.

OK, enough rambling to fill the boredom of sitting parked here; I’m gone. Enjoy your day!!!!!

WEATHER REPORT: Currently at 8:00 PM, 39 degrees, clear; today, 34/58, partly cloudy; tomorrow, 34/62, mostly sunny; Friday, 41/62 partly cloudy; Saturday, 45/57, showers.

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