I love to roam around in the mountains. And if I get to drive through a raging river somewhere along the way, so much the better.
Well, sure, it wasn’t really raging. It wasn’t even a river, not really. The maps call it a creek – Davis Creek, to be specific. But the road does go right through it, ford-style, and any day I get to drive through a river (okay, a creek) is a good day in my book.
That particular day, years ago, I’d been wandering around in the mountains near Helen, looking for streams and late fall wild trout. I’d fooled a few rainbows with a size 16 Elk Hair Caddis, a little creation of fuzz and fur that imitates an adult caddisfly. Wild trout love those things. It’s always a rush when you make the cast and then the surface flashes as a trout takes the fly.
I admire the fish, thank it for its time, slip it back into the water, and then slowly make my way upstream to try the next run or pool.
I’d been doing that kind of thing all day long, exploring some of the streams near Helen, Ga. But now it had gotten late. The daylight was beginning to fade, and it was time to head for home.
But first I had to check out that ford. It’s on Forest Service Road 244 not far from Smithgall Woods. Head north on Georgia Alternate 75 toward Smithgall Woods. Just beyond Smithgall, make a left onto Georgia 348. After a mile or so you’ll pass the Dukes Creek Falls parking area on your left. Another mile or so brings you to FS 244 on your left. Look for the sign to the Raven Cliff Falls trailhead parking area. That’s your turn.
I’ve hiked the Raven Cliff Falls trail many times, but today’s destination was a bit farther down FS 244. So on I went.
Sure enough, about a mile beyond the parking area, the road went right down into the creek!
As fords go, this one’s pretty good. The drop in (and the climb out) may be a little steep for some cars, and of course you want to be sure the water level is not too high. You’re on your own making that call, but if the creek is too high then don’t try it. Remember that your safety is your responsibility and not mine, etc. etc. So use good sense.
But if the water’s low…
You know, it’s amazing what you can do in the family car if you set your mind to it. And no, I did not tell my bride that I took ours right straight through a creek. If you talk with her, please don’t tell her that I did it. She might not understand.
But you understand, don’t you? Sure you do. So on, and in, and through the water I went!
And then, having done it, I turned the van around to do it again and head for home.
That’s when I saw some flickering through the trees. Hmmm.
I pulled into a little parking clearing and got out to get a better look. Was dancing water I was seeing?
I had just enough daylight left to check it out. Walking upstream through the woods, it only took a few minutes to reach what turned out to be a neat little waterfall. The word “charming” came to mind.
I admired, it took a few photos, and then turned to head for home.
Over the years, I’ve been back to that spot many times, sometimes with the flyrod and sometimes just to enjoy the falls. Sure, it’s not the most dramatic waterfall you’ll find. But it’s easy on the eyes and soothing to the ears. Even a brief visit is a restful way to wrap up a day in the woods.
Restful. Yes. Maybe a little falling water is just what the doctor ordered for these most interesting times.