We have been told by TLC countless times, “Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls”, but if you tell us not to… well, we can almost guarantee that we will. This little impromptu weekend adventure was brought on by record setting rainfall here in northeast Alabama! Over the last few weeks, the weather has resembled that of Seattle, Washington much more than the deep south. The ground had soaked up as much water as it could. This meant that the water was running over the edges, cliffs, and runoffs all over our area.
We can definitely say that we come by our desire to travel honestly. Our dad’s had planned a day of chasing waterfalls and we invited ourselves along. We jumped at the opportunity to go exploring with them!
The chance of rain was at a minimum for the first time in over two weeks. Cabin fever had set in and we needed to stretch our legs.
Our first destination was not far. Tucked in the corner of Geraldine, Alabama lies a locally known hot spot called High Falls Park. The park is home to a set of falls that plunge about 35 feet down. There is also a rock formation that has been eroded into a picturesque arch with a walking bridge, as well. It can be very dangerous here, so swimming and diving are at the visitor’s own risk. However, today no one in their right mind would have even attempted such activities. The water was rushing over the falls in enormous volumes. It was beautiful and humbling how powerful nature can present itself.
There are pavilions here for spending the day grilling and a playground for the little adventurers, also. Now, many of you know we aren’t so little, but that will never stop us from acting like children! Travel Pro Tip: When you see a merry go round, you demand that your dad spin you around!
After a wobbly restart we left the park headed for another falls, just about fifteen minutes down the road! The next falls are known as Griffin Falls, located in Collinsville, Alabama. An important note is that this waterfall is located on private land. The owner is awfully sweet to let adventurers on his land, so please remember to be respectful. This fall can be found on a good old dirt road just off of Highway 68. After just a short drive down the road, there is an obvious pull off where the trail begins. It is quite a steep trek to the top. There are lots of rocks that can be slippery when wet (Right, Hilary?).
Rachel’s dad and Hilary’s dad where the first to lead the way. Hilary’s mom was also along for the trip and up the side of the mountain we went.
Green moss lines the trails and makes for lush views. The 40 foot waterfall was a beautiful sight; however, you had to navigate just past the first boulder to get the full view. The higher we climbed, the prettier the view! If one is brave enough you can navigate behind the waterfalls into an open cave to get an ethereal view from behind the water.
There are lots of flowers oddly planted along the cave wall. These were planted and left by a local religious group that meets periodically here behind the water. It was a serene feeling standing behind the falls feeling the mist and splashes of water against us.
Navigating the wet rocks on the way up was a bit unsettling, but as everyone knows…what goes up must come back down. Hilary just came down at a quicker velocity than she expected during one little section of the trek to the bottom.
We all had a good laugh. As you might remember, Rachel took a very similar fall a couple weeks back! The mud never scared us, and then on to the next stop!
The hiking had made us hungry, so we stopped downtown Fort Payne at a local burger joint known as The Strand! Home of the delicious Bonanza Burger and some of the best onion rings around. The service here is unbeatable and the antique decor is all for sale! Be sure and ask for a slice of the homemade desserts, as well. We all shared a peach cheesecake that was divine!
We traveled to the overlook at Little River Canyon. It was foggy atop Lookout Mountain, but that didn’t stop us or the other adventurers from using their Saturday to see the water! After a quick stop there, we were onto Rome, Georgia! Gregg (Rachel’s Dad) and Paul and Becky (Hilary’s Parents) where all up for some antique shopping. There was an Italian place we were wanting to eat for dinner later in the evening. Rome was about an hour drive away. For Hilary and Rachel that meant time for more laughs and more ideas… One of which will probably get us into some trouble……You know what they say…. “When in Rome!!”
Our parents are notoriously always looking for a good deal and love thrifting. However, that isn’t really our “thing”, but knowing Italian was on the menu for dinner we traveled along for the trip in our own car. We figured we could find something to do while we waited for our parents to go shopping, right?
Well about twenty minutes from splitting with our parents we found ourselves in a little corner shop. Gotta do something to pass the time! We paid tribute to our love of travel and our rebellious nature all in one place!
We were excited to go to dinner with our new secret hidden by our hiking leggings! Rachel said to Hilary as we met up with our parents “Are we going to tell Aunt Becky?” Hilary quickly replied with a sharp “No!?” … deal. We mutually decided we would keep a secret.
We waltzed into the best Italian restaurant called Provino’s with a giddy and sneaky smile.
Hilary’s first words to her mom and me was “Come to the bathroom.” Rachel knew to follow. As we swung open the door to the lady’s room, Hilary peels up her leggings to reveal our not so secret surprise! Rachel just simply followed along and raised her leggings to show hers, too! Hilary just really doesn’t enjoy having a plan as much as Rachel does!
Our dads didn’t need to know just yet… and, well, this will be a test to see if they actually read our blog!
This wild, crazy, spur of the moment decision embodies how we want to live our life. A notion we coined “The Carry-On Mindset” means living a life for the moment. Valuing what is now. Valuing the moment you are in right this second. We know that tomorrow is a thing, that there is a future, and plans are important to have. However, we do not want to live for tomorrow because we know it may never come. Hilary’s Motto:Plans are made to be broken. Rachel’s Motto:Don’t tempt me with a good time!
When we had the “Best Idea Ever” to create a blog that documented our travels, it began as a travel journal for ourselves simply to let our friends and family in on our adventures. We both had experienced some adversities in our life that had pushed us to make some really hard decisions. The notion of “deciding to be happy” is easier said than done. We often sit back in awe at how our lives where intertwined so closely because we began to make the same decisions at the same time in our lives, and that is what brought us so close together.
We leaned on each other for support when things were not going so great. When we were scared of what the future held, or when we were lonely at all the wee hours of the morning, it always seemed that the other had just experienced the same thing and was able to help talk the other one down off that steep ledge.
We quickly realized that we both had similar coping skills. When we were upset, sad, lonely, or mad as all hell, it really helped us to change our scenery. We would get up and get going on a quick whim to force our brains to process new information so we could step away from the negativity we could not seem to shake sitting at home. We both struggle with not being able to stop thinking about it. Traveling and going on adventures is a way we could force our brains to stop picking apart the one thing that was bothering us and focus on what really matters; being happy with ourselves. What makes us inspired? What makes our heart beat outside our chests? What makes us stand there in awe?
We will never forget the first real trip we ever took together. It was right before we would both take a huge leap of faith. We were both stuck at a place in our lives where we were sacrificing every bit of our happiness to please others. It’s not like we are two selfless, caring, nurturing sweet girls who just get trampled on. If you knew us, you would say right the opposite. We both STRUGGLE with letting people down, and in order to do what we needed to do to be young, wild, and free…. Or young, dumb, and broke more like it…. we inevitably knew that we would hurt a lot of people in our lives.
This post itself may pain a few people because of our decisions made on this very day, but we want everyone to know that the best way to handle life and all of its struggles is to pack light and carry on. You might regret getting a tattoo, but you will never regret travelling! 🙂