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Hi.

Welcome to my corner of North Georgia. I document my adventures and outdoor activities in hopes of inspiring others to make the most of each day. It is my goal to make hiking accessible and non-intimidating, while promoting responsible enjoyment of the environment. No trail is too short!

Chattahoochee Grand Tour

The month of April had me in Cobb County for work most days and driving from one suburb of Atlanta to the next is no easy feat. It's a lot of driving up and down GA-400 and around I-285 in rush hour traffic. It's not as bad as driving to Atlanta but suburban traffic is no joke. It makes me question my life choices every day...
So after driving over the Chattahoochee dozens of times (seriously, it topped 100 by the end of the month), I decided to try to hit up some recreation areas located off of I-285. I've never really been to the Chattahoochee outside of Roswell or where we live now. During April I visited 3 different parks in Cobb or Fulton and got my money's worth from purchasing an annual CRNRA pass. I also went to Bowman's Island, so yeah, that $40 pass is in full effect.
But anyways, back to the wilds of Cobb and Fulton, I will now review and discuss the places I went:

I initially chose to go to Powers Island because they have an automated machine where you can buy a annual pass. However, I was very pleasantly surprised with the actual trail and scenery. I arrived in the early evening and there was literally no one else there. There is a small trail near the parking pass machine that leads to Powers Island, however, that is a short trail and the island is fairly small. There is also a canoe/kayak launch here. At the opposite end of the parking lot, there is another trail that forms a long, narrow loop. From the northeast corner of the parking lot, the trail goes up into the woods and has a decent little incline- definitely a good workout for walking or mountain biking. The trail then descends down toward the river and loops back around to the southwest end of the parking lot. 

I didn't find the river views to be terribly spectacular but the trail is very peaceful and shady. Along the trail, I saw lots of wildflowers as well as a goose family with adorable babies. The trail itself is very narrow and intimate. It felt much more isolated and removed from the city than it actually is. This trail is great for singular hikers or mountain bikers. During my hike, which took about an hour, I only saw 2-3 year people, one of whom was a mountain biker. The total trail mileage is about 2.6 miles, making it a great choice for an after work hike. I really liked Powers Island because it was so secluded and peaceful. Perfect choice for de-stressing after a long day. 

This park is directly across the river from Powers Island but is totally different. I arrived around 6 pm (again on a weeknight) and the parking lot was nearly full. I found one spot in the very back. The place was crawling with walkers (I just realized that sounds like zombies but, then again, we are in Atlanta...) and bicyclists. Lots of dogs. The path here is very wide, flat, and paved with fine gravel. So it is a great running or biking trail. Off of the main path, there is also a boardwalk leading into a marshy area but I did not explore too much down there. There is also a narrow wooded path off to the side of the gravel trail that goes closer to the river, but does not have real river view. Regardless, if you want to get away from the gravel for a bit, you could take this one. It reconnects to the gravel path after a short distance. 

The gravel path is marked with mile markers and eventually the path leads to another parking area at Columns Drive. Throughout the trail, there are overlooks along the Chattahoochee and the views of the river are really nice. I enjoyed visiting this park and I did get a good workout because the vibe there is just more exercise focused, I guess. I didn't meander or stop as much to look at scenery as I would if I was on a woodland trail. If I lived nearby, this would be a regular stop for exercise or walking the dogs. The downsides are parking and general congestion in the parking lot (not easy to get out if a bunch of people leave at the same time) and there is quite a bit of litter. The bathroom was, quite frankly, disgusting and I wish people would simply clean up after themselves and LEAVE NO TRACE. 

I had heard so much about this place and had really high hopes for it but I didn't have the best visit. You can read more about the Palisades here, because my visit was very disjointed and is not going to make a lot of sense. First off, I was really tired and just not really feeling it that day. Secondly, for 3 days prior, it had rained extensively in north Georgia and the trails were a complete mess. I brought my regular running shoes (brand new, btw) and really should have brought my Keen's instead. The trail was literally underwater at some points and my feet got really wet. The river also looked a mess, like a hurricane went through, and that didn't make for very pretty pictures. 

Aesthetics aside, the trails at East Palisades are very extensive and loopy. There are trail maps along the way, but I must have taken a wrong turn somewhere because I did not end up going where I intended to. Eventually I made it to the overlook on the Chattahoochee but I missed the bamboo forest, which I keep hearing so much about. In an effort to not retrace my steps going back to the car, I tried to take a different trail back up to the parking lot but again, must have missed something and ended up walking in the woods for a very long time. Eventually I popped out onto the main road leading to the parking area and then had to walk along there to get back to the car (not a big deal, it's a extremely upscale residential area). That being said, on this smaller side trail, I did see a very pretty creek and enjoyed a lot of quiet time. I will give the East Palisades another shot, preferably during a sunny, dry week and when I have James with me. Being lost and trapped in an Atlanta suburb is literally my worst fear hahaha.

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