For Your Late Summer Vieweing Pleasure

Summer is beginning to wind down, and I can’t believe I didn’t think of doing this sooner, but I think it’s time we talk about Summertime movies. Not blockbusters necessarily, but movies that are either about or related to the Summer season. There’s still time to view a few of these before the weather turns, with the upcoming Labor Day holiday being an excellent chance to do so. Or, hey, save a few to watch in the middle of Winter when it’s freezing, dark, and miserable and you’re missing the Summer vibes. Kinda like watching “A Christmas Story” on July 25th.

Anyway, here’s a list featuring some of my favorite Summer flicks. These aren’t presented in any real order here, just as they roll off the top of my noggin. That’s the way things go here at MonDaves! Let’s have at it.

  1. Meatballs:
    I pretty much have to watch this one every year. For those who may be unfamiliar, it’s a Summer Camp comedy from the late 1970’s featuring Bill Murray and a full collection of young Canadian talent. This was made back in the days before PG-13 was a thing, so it’s a bit stronger than the rating would have you think. There are a few problematic moments by today’s standards, but I think the spirit of the film and the sweetness of its central story make up for those issues.
  2. National Lampoon’s Vacation:
    This one is fairly dated and risque as well. It’s somewhat surprising that a movie featuring as much outrageousness as this has become somewhat of a beloved classic, but here we are. Still funny in between the cringe moments, and serves as a reminder of when we all still loved Chevy Chase. Also the theme song is classic, and I never tire of the performances by Imogene Coca and John Candy.
  3. Jaws:
    The ultimate Summer suspense movie. Notice I said suspense, not horror. While the shark attacks are horrific, the film plays more like an adventure movie to me. I just watched this again a few months ago, and it’s still very good. It’s just not a horror film so please stop calling it one. Same goes for “Alien”, although I’m much more willing to let that one slide. Anyway. Moving on.
  4. The Great Outdoors:
    John Candy (again) and Dan Aykroyd in a movie about two families camping, with Candy representing the traditional family values set, and Aykroyd the obnoxious business man brother in law. While this movie was panned during the initial release, cable and home video have made it a semi classic. I have never heard my mother laugh harder or longer than she did at the climax of this film.
  5. Stand By Me:
    Part drama, part comedy, all heart. A group of twelve year old boys hike out to the woods to see a rumored dead body (well, it was written by Stephen King), but along the way they learn about the meaning of friendship in a one of a kind coming of age story that is a definite classic. If you somehow haven’t seen this one, do.
  6. One Crazy Summer:
    John Cusack, Demi Moore, and Bobcat Goldthwait in a pretty bonkers 80’s teen comedy. Is it great? No. Does it try too hard? Yes. However, it’s just absurd enough that it is an interesting view, with likeable people and enough snickers in it (if not outright laughs) to make it worth a look.
  7. That Thing You Do!:
    Perhaps not a traditional Summer movie, but the bulk of the film takes place during the Summer months, and the whole thing just feels like Summer, man. It’s also one of my favorite music movies, and a favorite all around.
  8. Summer School:
    This was a Mark Harmon vehicle about a teacher and teens in Summer school and it’s just as dumb as it sounds, but I saw it about a billion times on cable and can still recite whole passages from the film so it’s on the list. Also, I still think Dave and Chainsaw should have had their own movie franchise, or at least a TV show.
  9. Beach Blanket Bingo/Psycho Beach Party (tie):
    The former is the classic, ultimate “teen beach movie”. Today it is viewed as a reminder of a gentler time. The latter is a modern parody that also throws in references to psychological thrillers and slasher films. It has also spawned a stage play. The two together make a great double feature!
  10. Lilo And Stitch:
    If you haven’t seen it, it’s better than you think. If you have, it’s better than you remember. I love all the Elvis stuff, and the voice cast is great. It mixes Disney cuteness with a manic energy for a good time that can be had by all.

    Okay, there we have it, Dave’s Fave Summer Films. There are a few more, but I think this will do for now. Also, I may want to revisit this topic in the future and I need to have a few in reserve. See you next week.

North, To ALASKA! (and a few other places)

The Brink family has returned from this year’s main vacation, a cruise to Alaska on Princess Cruises, thoughtfully given by my in laws and including not only our family but also Valerie’s parents and both of her sisters and their families as well. While we did pay for our own excursions and souvenirs and what not, the majority of the cruise was covered for us. There was no way we could have ever afforded this trip on our own so a big thank you to David and Janet is in order.

I will admit that I wasn’t too keen on visiting Alaska as I am not a fan of cold or snow, and I was a little bit leery of cruising in general. I am happy to report that those doubts were quickly deemed unfounded as we had a really good time. Sure, there were a few minor hiccups here and there, and I was not a fan of every aspect of the trip but the good far outweighed the bad on this particular journey.

As mentioned, I never really understood the appeal of cruising, but I get it now. All staff on board are there to cater to you and provide anything you wish in minutes. It’s kind of like having a butler available everywhere you go on board. In particular, our stateroom attendant, Seccario, and our waiter Eugene were excellent and went over and above for our family-so much so that we insisted on eating in Eugene’s section every night. They both helped make this trip both easy and special.

The cruise director, Jody, and staff were all nice, fun, approachable people as well. We interacted with them on a few occasions. Tessa won an event during a contest with Jody by doing the splits in multiple directions (going to dance class and being 14 pays off), and Team Brink also won a t.v. based trivia contest hosted by assistant director Alistair. We participated in other trivia contests too (tying for first place in a “name that tune” style music contest), and had lots of fun as a family unit.

The food on our ship was all top notch, not only in the formal dining room, but also the buffet and specialty restaurants scattered throughout the ship. I’m going to be on salads for like three weeks to compensate for the many meals eaten on this trip.

We had a balcony stateroom (which is the only way to do it, really, I can’t imagine having an interior room be any good), and so our views were constantly amazing. I also found it extremely relaxing to sit out on the balcony when docked or traveling inland port to port with the waves gently rolling and breeze in my hair. In fact, I may not have ever been more relaxed.

Our cruise was not booked to capacity, which was good because it meant less crowding overall. There were still some pretty long lines for some pf our meals and for exiting the ship come excursion time, but crowding was kept to a minimum.

The only issue I had with our ship was that it wasn’t operating at full power. There was a problem with one of the engines which, while still perfectly safe, adjusted our times, speed, and overall schedule of the cruise. I understand that it wouldn’t be easy for Princess to just stop cruising and fix the issue-they have already missed two years of cruises and so from a financial and staffing standpoint, delaying things further would be a disaster for them, so I get it. However, we did have to deal with some of our excursions being cancelled and replaced by ones that were maybe not as nice. I also think that the engine issue (and one technical delay) meant that when we were on the open sea it meant that the boat had to move faster than it normally would, and on one of our days at sea I got motion sickness, which I have never experienced before. Everyone agreed that the ship was rockier than it should have been, so no one really was surprised, but it did put me out of action for most of the day as I just slept a lot. The next day though, I was right as rain.

As for our destination, I was NOT looking forward to going to Alaska. I am a warm weather guy, and anything below 60 degrees is considered cold to me so I was trying to have a good attitude, but I’m not sure how successful I was. Turns out, Alaska was pretty darn HOT.

Our first days at sea were in the upper 50s/lower 60s, which I expected, but in Juneau it was 75 degrees and in Skagway we hit 85! It was actually warmer that day than it was back home in St. Louis! Trouble is, our excursion that day was all about a sled dog/ gold mining experience and we were warned to dress warmly in layers. So we did. Mistake. We were sweating buckets, and the poor dogs didn’t really know what to do with this unexpected heatwave. Nor did the actors who had to dress the parts of Klondike gold miners, now that I think of it. Everybody was kind of miserable, but we still got to pan for gold (which is super touristy I know, but you kind of have to do it) and we did get to see a presentation of the sled dogs briefly going around the training track. We also got to pet the dogs and hold sled dog puppies which was the cutest thing ever and totally worth it.

We enjoyed all of our ports, I got some fantastic fish tacos in Juneau, which is where I fell in love with Rockfish, and some fresh and delicious crab in Icy Point Straight (where we would have loved to spend the day as there are tons of things to do but we had only a few hours) and the kids dipped their feet in the cold, cold ocean.

Perhaps my favorite stop though was going to Victoria, British Colombia, Canada. On July 1st, Canada Day no less. Some of my favorite musicians are from Canada, and two of my favorite television comedy series as well. I have always wanted to visit (in Summer, of course) and I finally did! Again, we were only there for a few hours but we were able to walk through the outer parts of the town through the Fisherman’s Wharf area and to the edges of downtown. So we didn’t actually participate in any Canada Day celebrations but it was a pleasant walk (though considerably chillier than we were used to) and fun for me. As Bob and Doug would say, “Beauty, eh!”.

Also, our cruise took us through Glacier Bay National Park. The day was in the lower 60s, bright, clear and sunny. We could not have ordered better weather. I took over 150 pictures there alone. Every minute felt like Bob Ross had had a hand in designing the scenery. We saw several otters swimming around, bald eagles, seagulls, and even a few whale spouts, though no actual whale bodies. It was a truly beautiful afternoon.

Our last day of vacation was spent in Seattle after disembarking and before waiting for our evening flight. The tour we were on had no tour guide as she had called in sick with Covid (of course). We were still treated to a trip to the Space Needle, which is cool and interesting, though not quite as tall as our own St. Louis arch. We went to the Pike Place market and watched fish being thrown, had a snack at the chocolate shop, and soaked up the big city atmosphere. Seattle is a cool city. It is green-minded, largely progressive, and has a really good, open vibe. It’s not the prettiest city I’ve ever been in, but I liked it a lot and would definitely consider going back.

After our quick tour we had a few hours to kill in the airport, which can be frustrating and quite boring. Fortunately for me there is a Sub Pop record store in the airport, because it’s Seattle so of course there is, and I was able to spend dome time shopping for CDs and merch. Had I known this existed I would have saved a little more souvenir money for this store, but then I probably spent too much at Sub Pop as is, so I guess it’s just as well.

Our flight back had a little turbulence but not much, however we did change time zones so it wound up being 12:30 am by the time we landed here in STL, and probably after 2:30 when we finally got home to sleep.

All in all it was a really nice vacation filled with memories to last us all a lifetime and a good time was had by all.

Until next time, safe travels.


Happy June!

June is, of course, Pride Month. Here at MonDAVEs we recognize and support our siblings in the LGBTQ+ community. More on this in a future post.

What is less known, however, is that June is also Candy month. Skittles has ingeniously combined these two occasions for years, often being cited as the “gayest candy” due to the whole rainbow thing. Well, we won’t be getting into that debate, but let’s discuss another candy that is a worldwide favorite: Cotton Candy.

While it is not known exactly where Cotton Candy falls in the ranking of gay candies (it’s gotta be up there, right?) it is a candy that has brought enjoyment to many a child and adult at baseball games and state fairs for years. As previously mentioned, this is not just an American phenomenon as Cotton Candy has its origins in China. A version of this sugary treat was said to have been made during the Han Dynasty, somewhere between 206-220 AD. The original name for this candy was “Dragon’s Beard” which is 100% more badass than anything it has been called since.

Speaking of, what we know as Cotton Candy here in the U.S.A. goes by many different names throughout the rest of the world. The following is a list of my favorites.

-Candyfloss (popular throughout most of Europe)
-Sugar Spin (Norwegian for Candy-Floss spelled with a hyphen because it’s fancy I guess)
-Sockervadd (Sweden)
-Wata Cukrowa (Polish for Sugar Cotton, which is probably the most accurate)
-Fairy Floss (Australia)
-Hattara (Finnish for Small Cloud)
-Dad’s Beard (France, which is weird)
-Grandma’s Hair (Greece, which is weirder)

Okay, so most of these are cute and fluffy names, but what’s with the hair comparisons, y’all? Sure, of all the candies it’s probably the most hair-like, but still, why? Why with this? Ew.

Anyway, now that summer is upon us, you’re sure to see this sweet treat sooner or later, and hey, no judgement if you get yourself a big bag of colorful sugary goodness and chow down. Just know that when you do you’ll remember this post and start thinking about your family member’s heads as you eat and then you’ll get all disgusted and throw it away, BUT before you get all mad at MonDAVEs for making you waste that money think about how much sugar is actually in that bag and how it’s obviously super hot outside and besides, who knows, tossing that bag aside might have just prevented a heart attack thus saving your life so you’re welcome.

Family Vacation in Georgia 2021-Part Two

“Okay, Dave, so you saw some waterfalls while you were in Georgia, that’s cool. But what else?”

Well, I managed not to get into a fiddle contest with the Devil, but I did go to Helen.

Sorry. That was an amazingly bad joke. It should be on a t-shirt though.

For those who may not be familiar, the town of Helen is a tourist destination in Appalachian Georgia. It was just another small town in the mountains, a former logging town fading into obscurity. In 1969, three local businessmen decided that the town’s main street could use a bit of sprucing up, and maybe they could grab the attention of tourists on their way to the mountains. A local artist, John Kollock, was recruited to see what ideas he may have for the sleepy town.

Inspired by his days in the military, Kollok drew up some sketches of a few buildings done over in a Bavarian style, like the towns he had visited in the Alps years prior. The sketches were well received and the entire town quickly came on board. As a result a law was passed that required all businesses in town to use the same style. This law still stands today-even the Wendy’s looks like a traditional German restaurant. This rebranding has worked wonders for the small town as it is now the third most visited city in Georgia.

While the Alpine village motif is not unique to Helen, that does little to diminish the charm of the town. Many would dismiss it as a “tourist trap” and while that’s not entirely inaccurate, it’s also a bit harsh. There are only a few national chains among the many businesses that line the streets, almost every shop is privately owned, and many have been there for years. You can find lots of different stores as you stroll along from your standard t-shirt shops, real honest to goodness Bavarian imports and blown glass, to a hand made wooden toy shop, quilts and other crafts, at least two Christmas themed shops, candy kitchens and more. So yeah, it’s easy to be negative and dismiss the town, but if you go in with the right attitude, and have an appreciation for high quality knick-knackery, towns like this are lots of fun.

There is also a river that runs through the town and two tubing companies that will let you float on innertubes right through the center of town while people like me sit at the Troll Tavern and enjoy a plate of brats and knockwurst while watching every third person get stuck on the same rock cluster. Food and a show-can’t beat it.

Speaking of food, that’s always one of my favorite parts of vacation-trying out new restaurants and perhaps discovering some new favorites. The bonus of traveling to another part of the country is that sometimes there are fast food chains that aren’t available back home so you get to try those out too. Here’s a quick rundown of the restaurants we visited in no particular order, and my thoughts on each.


Zaxby’s- basically the same thing as Cane’s Chicken Fingers with a few more sandwich items and way more sauces to choose from. Slightly better than Cane’s, but not so much that I wish we lived near one.

BoJangle’s- best fast food fried chicken I’ve ever tasted. Really good recipe, with just a hint of heat at the back of the throat. The sides and tea are excellent as well. I really wish I lived near one.

Jack’s-fast food joint exclusive to the South. They do burgers, chicken, and desserts too. The burger was average but the fries were delicious and the buns were fantastic. Tried some of the kid’s chicken and it was pretty good too. Decent fast food, but not a priority to revisit.


The Troll Tavern-(Helen, GA) mentioned above. Total German beer hall vibe, with lots of traditional Bavarian foods, bar food, and grilled items. Everything was delicious, would definitely go back if we ever return.

El Jinete (Clarkesville, GA)-Mexican restaurant that we discovered when some other plans fell through. High quality food that everyone liked quite a bit. My fish tacos were served with a cheese sauce. Normally I don’t like cheese and fish together but this was delightful. I also ate waaaay too much chips and salsa.

Creekside Deli (Cleveland, GA)-A most pleasant surprise. More than just a deli, this little restaurant serves hot and cold sandwiches, soups, burgers and fries, nachos, quesadillas, and more. Most of the sandwiches are named after well known communities and natural attractions in the area, which is cute. It does sit by an actual creek which you can dine by if you desire.

The Copper Pot (Clarkesville, GA)- not a dispensary, but an Italian restaurant with stone baked pizza and a bunch of other stuff but I can’t comment on that because I had the pizza and it was great. It’s a pretty busy place that also hosts trivia nights and open mics. But. you know, mainly pizza. Delish.

We did eat some meals at the condo too, in order to save on cash and gas.

Oh yeah, gas. That reminds me. A few notes about making this journey for those who may choose to visit:

Keep the tank filled up-there’s a lot of open highway and you don’t want your car dinging at you while you’re going up a mountain. Trust me on this one.

Also, schedule in about three extra hours for traffic around Chattanooga and Atlanta. Now Atlanta is kind of famous for bad traffic, and it’s a pretty major city so that’s not so much a surprise as an annoyance. Still good to keep in mind though.

But Chattanooga? Wow. Both times we went through the traffic was ridiculous. I have no desire to ever visit the city again, just due to the problems we faced. Even taking the side routes wound up being a complete pain.

Driving in the mountains can be a little tricky. Not difficult per se, but a bit of a challenge here and there. So be sure to have your GPS on-and bring a map as it’s easy to lose signal on those twisty-turny roads. Also bear in mind that the speed limit is anywhere from 55 to non existent, and not all roads are clearly marked for us outsiders. Just keep your wits about you and you’ll be all right.

Well, that pretty much sums it up. Despite a few small bumps here and there, a little sunburn and a few bug bites, we had a pleasant time in the Blue Ridge mountains. I would consider going back another time, especially now that I know what to expect. There are a lot more opportunities to explore nature than we had time to experience-Unicoi Lake at Unicoi State Park being chief among them. There are more waterfalls too, and certainly more small towns to find and explore.

So if you are looking for a getaway far from the crowds and a little off the beaten path, Northern Georgia and the Blue Ridge mountains is an area worth putting on your list.

See you next week for another MonDave.

Family Vacation in Georgia 2021 Part One

Last week my family took our first vacation since the pandemic started back in March of 2020. We booked earlier this year with some hesitation since we weren’t really sure where everything would be as far as restrictions, vaccinations, etc. Fortunately things have moved in our favor. Everyone in our house who is eligible to be vaccinated has been, and while the threat from Covid-19 and its variants is far from over, there seems to be enough of a handle on it that we were comfortable in going ahead as long as we played it safe.

When we decided to go forward with our plans to travel, we decided that our top priority was to find a destination that wouldn’t be overly crowded, but still offer plenty to do. We wanted to be able to explore the outdoors, but still eat at some new (to us) restaurants, maybe visit some small shops, that kind of thing. So we quickly determined that large cities and well known tourist destinations were out. We did find what we were looking for by staying in the Blue Ridge mountains in a little town called Clarkesville Georgia.

Through the IHG hotel group and Holiday Inn Club Vacations we booked a Sunday-Thurs. stay at the Apple Mountain Resort. The resort itself is tucked away just outside of Clarkesville proper, amid lots of twisty-turny mountain roads with little but farmland and small rural neighborhoods surrounding it. The nearest fast food/Wal-Mart is about a 15 minute drive, as is the quiet downtown itself, although naturally in opposite directions. The resort itself offers quite a bit of amenities to keep their guests entertained. There is a full 18 hole golf course on premises (which I did not use), a full 18 hole mini golf course (which I did), a pool, hot tub, exercise room and sauna, a tennis court, basketball, shuffleboard, table tennis, and a visitors center with pool tables ,a game room, mini-theater, and refreshments. Laundry service is also available on site.

Our unit was basically a two bedroom condo, with full kitchen and balcony. It was very clean and quite spacious. This was an excellent choice to use as home base for our week of exploring the mountains of North Georgia.


We love waterfalls. I think it’s hard not to, once you’ve been to one. Scientifically, the waterfalls change the atmosphere around them, usually causing a slight temperature drop and releasing negative ions in the air which generate an increased flow of oxygen to the brain and bring about all sorts of positive benefits to your mood and overall health. So not only are they beautiful to look at and take in, but they just make you feel good. So once we learned that there were multiple waterfalls within a short driving distance, we made it a goal to see a waterfall a day.

MONDAY-Minnehaha Falls.

The Minnehaha trail is actually quite difficult to find, since it is tucked away in the back of a lake community with few road signs and marginally paved roads. There’s not really much in the way of parking to speak of at the trail head, and though it is clearly marked it could easily be missed if you have your head in a map or are staring at your GPS screen. However hard it may be to find, it is assuredly worth finding.

The trail itself is mostly flat, despite some rocks and tree roots that you will need to work around. The incline is not very steep, making this an easy trail for hikers of all levels. The only issue with this trail, if you can call this an issue, is that the trail is short. The hike should only take about 5-10 minutes. You’re just walking along this pretty little hillside path with a creek running right next to you and then suddenly BAM! there it is.

The falls themselves cascade over what looks like a natural staircase, and there are plenty of large rock slabs that serve as natural viewing platforms. After sitting by the waterfall a while and getting lots pf pictures, we made our way back down. All in all we spent maybe a half an hour at the falls, which is plenty of time to take in the beauty, and check our fist waterfall off our list. It also left plenty of time for swimming in the afternoon.

TUESDAY-Anna Ruby Falls

Anna Ruby Falls was my favorite of the trip. There is a small admittance fee, and a gift shop at the trailhead, so it’s a little more well known than Minnehaha. It can get quite crowded, but getting there within a half hour of opening the crowds weren’t so bad.

The trail is about a half mile in length, up a mountain side which isn’t overly strenuous, but it does get quite steep in the middle. It’s a little bit of a workout, but a fairly short stretch, and the payoff is absolutely worth it. As with many waterfall trails, there are plenty of picturesque views as you climb and the water rushes down beside you.

The Anna Ruby Falls are created by two streams, Curtis Creek and York Creek, joining together to form Smith Creek at the base of the falls which runs into Unicoi Lake later on. So what you see is the two streams running over the cliffs. The left side facing the falls is taller and comes down with a bit more force. The U.S. Forestry Service maintains the falls and has built several viewing platforms. Anna Ruby Falls is beautiful, very enjoyable and still doable in a reasonable amount of time.

We then ventured into the nearby city of Helen which I will discuss next time.

WEDNESDAY-Tallulah Gorge State Park

“Oh, look, here’s a state park where you can walk across a bridge over the river in an actual gorge. That looks beautiful-and sounds fun too. Let’s go!”-Us before we knew better.

To be fair, the scenery is beautiful, and crossing the bridge is kind of cool, in that it’s long enough to be impressive and it is totally stable, though it does swing a little bit to give you a sense of danger. There is an option once you cross the bridge to go down a little further and see the waterfalls from a closer vantage point. The park also allows limited passage to the gorge floor itself for a small fee and in limited numbers. while we were there the passes were not being offered due to high water but it is normally an option for those who may choose it.

Most of the trails we have taken to see waterfalls are either paved or natural terrain, but this trail is made by stairs. Yep. Stairs. You descend into the gorge, cross over the bridge, and then continue down or come back up. Getting down is easy, and fun. Crossing the bridge and getting close to the gorge floor makes for some prime photo ops and a lovely time. But then you have to come back up.

In the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail, King Arthur and his knights encounter the “Bridge of Death Over the Gorge of Eternal Peril”. This is not that bridge-but halfway up, I’d have taken my chances with that one instead of continuing the climb.

There are signs at the beginning of the stairs warning that this trail is strenuous and people with health issues should not attempt this climb. There are two signs to this effect, and a handy guide to how much water you should be taking with you.

I don’t think this is good enough. I think about a quarter of the way down there should be a third sign saying “No, really, we’re serious, this is going to suck coming back up.” Then halfway down another one that reads “Okay, look back up at how far down you are. Think about it. Do you really want to continue? You are not in the shape you think you are. Turn around.” But no.

So we came back up the staircase. Trudged it, really. The official count of stairs to the bridge is 620, and we went on past that. So now we did 620+ back up. Graciously, there are benches and landings provided throughout the staircase at every switchback so you can not die. I mean, rest. And not die. We sat at every single one of them, because this is a brutal climb. That’s what the sign should say-brutal! Not strenuous. Brutal.

Once we started the climb our goal was not to make it to the top of the stairs. That was impossible, our brains and bodies could not fathom actually accomplishing this. We merely set the goal of reaching the next staircase. Even the kids, who are “kid fit” were hating it after a while. They were not on the verge of collapse as were my wife and I, but their legs hurt and they were not having fun. My son announced about halfway up that he hated the outdoors now, and I didn’t argue. Of course, I was no longer able to form sentences so I couldn’t have argued anyway, but in that moment he had a point.

Eventually, through sheer willpower, determination, and the grace of God we made our way back up the gorge. then we collapsed onto some park benches for about a half an hour. We went inside the information center enjoyed and its sweet, sweet air conditioning. We poked around their exhibits for a while that were actually quite interesting and had I been in a less exhausted state I’m sure I’d have remembered what on Earth they were about.

I did pick up a souvenir t-shirt that has a picture of the steps on it. The caption reads “I survived the stairs! It’s worth the climb!” Well. I did survive. The pictures we took are AMAZING. It was worth having the experience. But worth the climb? Ehh…

THURSDAY-Toccoa Falls/Duke’s Creek

After the previous day’s adventure, a nice, short, less challenging walk was needed if we were going to meet our goal. Preferably a relatively quiet one too-my legs were screaming loud enough to drown out everything else anyway. Man, they didn’t stop hurting until Sunday after we were back home.

Sorry. I digress. On our last full day in town we drove out to Toccoa falls, which is on the campus of Toccoa College. It’s quite a nice campus actually, but not really near much of anything, which would be great for academics, but maybe not for the “college experience”. Once again there is a small entrance fee, and you have to go through the college gift store to get to the falls.

The trail is only 100 yards, and the waterfall itself is stunning. It is 186 feet high and quite powerful. What a wonderful retreat for the students-and a lovely spot to visit for the locals too. Interestingly, there is also a monument at the falls to the 39 people who lost their lives when the dam broke at Kelly Barnes Lake in 1977 and flooded the campus with 176 million gallons of water in minutes. The dam has not been rebuilt. The monument is a reminder of the power of nature transposed by the beauty of nature as you stand surrounded by it. This is a really special site.

After lunch, we decided to try one more trail-the Duke’s Creek Falls trail. you can see the falls from a distance early on in the hike. This was another one where you had to walk down to the falls and then back up. We got about a mile into the 2+ mile hike, and realized that the slope of the mountain was not going to play well with our already hurting selves. So we abandoned that one, but got some nice pictures and a few more steps for the Fitbits anyway. That counts, right?

Overall, our Georgia waterfalls experience was quite enjoyable. Previously our waterfall hikes were mostly done in Tennessee, where you tend to hike up to falls, and then down the mountain at the end. While the Blue Ridge mountains may rival the Smokies in beauty, Tennessee edges them out just slightly on the paths themselves. You’re beautiful Georgia, but some of these trails are built backwards!

Alright, that’s enough for this time. Next week I’ll be taking you through the rest of the vacation. Mostly the charming mountain town of Helen, a sampling of the food enjoyed on our trip, and maybe a little bit about the travel days too.

See you next time for more MonDAVEs!