Wandering to Geographical Points of Interest in the United States

Our wandering has taken us to some memorable geographical points of interest in the United States.

 

West Quaddy Light is located on the easternmost point in the U. S.
West Quaddy Light in Maine is located on the easternmost point in the U. S.
Kilauea Point Lighthouse on Kauai is the westernmost lighthouse in the United States
Kilauea Point Lighthouse on Kauai in Hawaii is the westernmost lighthouse in the United States
Anchor Point is the most westerly highway point in North America
Anchor Point, Alaska is the most westerly highway point on a continuous road system in North America
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Southernmost Point in the Continental United States in Key West, Florida
Mile Marker Zero of U. S. 1 in Key West
The end of U. S. Highway 1 is Mile Marker Zero in Key West, Florida
Start of U.S 1 in Fort Kent, Maine
Start of U.S 1 in Fort Kent, Maine
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End of U.S. Hwy 80. The highway originally went from the west coast in San Diego, CA to the east coast in Tybee Island, GA but now goes from Dallas, TX to Tybee Island.
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Belle Fourche, South Dakota, is the Geographic Center of the United States
Four Corners - States of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada
Four Corners – the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Nevada meet here. It is the only place in the U.S. shared by four states
Beautiful Mt. McKinley
In Alaska, Denali (formerly known as Mt. McKinley), at 20,320 feet tall is the tallest mountain in North America
At the Arctic Circle at last!
The Arctic Circle on the Dalton Highway in Alaska
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We’ve crossed the Continental Divide numerous times during our travels
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The Eastern Continental Divide runs through Black Rock Mountain State Park in Georgia

Although these next points aren’t the most extreme in the U.S., they are the farthest directional points we visited.

In Coldfoot at the visitor's center
The farthest north we traveled was the Arctic Interagency Visitor Center in Coldfoot, Alaska
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The most northwestern continental U.S. location we visited was Ruby Beach, Washington
Point Loma in Cabrillo National Monument
The most southwestern location we visited in the continental U.S. was Cabrillo National Monument, California.

This post was inspired by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Variations on a Theme

Revisiting My Childhood in Pictures

My father loved to take pictures with his Minolta 35 mm camera and through the years he accumulated thousands of slides. My younger brother became the curator of his slides and has been converting the good ones to digital format. His Christmas present to us this year was a DVD with many pictures from my childhood. In the photo at the top of this post you can see our Ford station wagon in Yosemite National Park.

In 1959, when I was eight years old, my father’s work required him to go to California for several weeks. Instead of going by himself, my parents decided to take the whole family on a cross country journey to see America.

I spent many hours crammed in the back seat of our station wagon, usually on the hump in the middle between my two brothers. I wonder how many times my mother had to turn around to tell us to be quiet?

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Our family of 5 traveled cross country and back in this Ford Station wagon in 1959

I had so much fun looking at the old photos converted from my Dad’s slides. Each one brought back so many memories. As I was going through the photos I found a few that I unknowingly replicated as an adult during our RV travels. On the left is me in 1959 on the Big Tree in Redwood National Park and on the right that’s me in 2007 at the same tree.

Dad took a picture of Yosemite Valley that looks a lot like the one I took almost 50 years later. It looks like we were standing in the exact same spot.

Here’s our two pictures of the Yosemite tunnel at Tunnel View. I love the old cars in Dad’s picture.

Mount Rushmore in 1959 and 2006.

While we were in California we went somewhere almost every weekend. We visited national parks, theme parks, San Francisco, and even went panning for gold. I’ll never forget our trip to Disneyland. Where were the crowds back then?

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Disneyland in 1959

Dad loved gathering the family together in the basement for slide shows. Thank you to my brother for putting these slides into digital form to be enjoyed over and over again.

Going Down into Tallulah Gorge

We were warned!

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We were warned!

We went anyway.

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Going down was the easy part

But only as far as the suspension bridge 80 feet above Hurricane Falls.

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Suspension Bridge over Tallulah Gorge Hurricane Falls
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Henry crossed to the other side of the gorge

With my fear of heights I could only go a few feet on the bridge. I did manage to see the top of Hurricane Falls.

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View of Tallulah Gorge from the suspension bridge
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Looking down on Hurricane Falls from the suspension bridge

I handed Henry the camera for some better pictures.

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Looking down on Hurricane Falls from the suspension bridge
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Looking down on Hurricane Falls from the suspension bridge

I took a picture of the falls from the stairs.

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A view of the top of Hurricane Falls from the stairs

And one of Henry looking down from the bridge.

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Henry on the suspension bridge above Hurricane Falls

We posed for a selfie before starting back up to the top.

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We were smiling before we started back up the stairs to the top
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It’s time to go back up the 310 stairs

We made it back to the top after stopping at a few landings and resting on every bench.

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I was finally able to capture some fall colors on top of the trail

Younger, braver, and more fit people can cross the bridge to the other side and go down 221 more stairs for a view of Hurricane Falls from the bottom. There is also access to the south rim trail on the other side of the bridge. For us, we are glad we made down and back all in one piece!

Hiking and Waterfalls at Tallulah Gorge

The almost 1,000 foot deep Tallulah Gorge is a spectacular place in the Georgia mountains for hiking and seeing waterfalls.  The hiking trails range from easily accessible rim trails with overlooks of the gorge to a strenuous hike to the gorge floor requiring a permit. After entering the state park we went straight to the Visitor’s Center for a trail map before beginning our trek on the North Rim trail. We stopped at two overlooks with views of the gorge.

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Looking down at the suspension bridge above Hurricane Falls
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An overlook on the south rim trail on the other side of Tallulah Gorge

On July 18, 1970, tightrope walker Karl Wallenda walked across the gorge from this overlook on the north rim to the south rim.

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Tightrope walker Karl Wallenda walked a tightrope across the gorge
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Wallenda Tower used by Karl Wallenda in his tightrope walk across the gorge in 1970
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The Tallulah river at the bottom of Tallulah Gorge
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View from one of the North Rim overlooks at Tallulah Gorge State Park

Inspiration Point is the highest point in the park and the trail to get there was was a quarter mile uphill hike. When we got to the top we were happy we decided to do the trail.

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On the trail to Inspiration Point
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One of the waterfalls as seen from Inspiration Point
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View from Inspiration Point
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View from Inspiration Point

The good news was it was downhill to return to the North Rim Trail from Inspiration Point. With more waterfalls to see we continued along the north rim to two more overlooks.

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L’Eau d’Or Falls in Tallulah Gorge
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L’Eau d’Or Falls in Tallulah Gorge

It was way past lunchtime by then so our last adventure at Tallulah Gorge would have to wait until the next morning. It was time to head back to Dillard for some delicious southern cooking at the Dillard House.

After our late lunch we were done for the day.  Stay tuned for our final adventure at Tallulah Gorge.

Wandering in the Georgia and North Carolina Mountains

Before we bought our Titanium fifth wheel in 2006, we attended a rally of Titanium owners at the River Vista Mountain Village in Dillard, Georgia. We stayed in one of the cabins at the park and after meeting the owners and touring their fifth wheels, we made our decision to purchase a Titanium. It was one of the best decisions we ever made!

We returned to River Vista this October for a short fall trip. The RV park is a perfect location for exploring the surrounding area. While we were there I spotted another Titanium on our row. We first met the owners when we came to the rally in 2006 and enjoyed visiting with them before they headed for home. What a small world!

Our mountain adventures began in nearby Mountain City, Georgia at Black Rock Mountain State Park, the highest state park in Georgia. The views of Georgia’s Blue Ridge Mountains were spectacular and we crossed the Eastern Continental divide a couple of times.

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The Eastern Continental Divide runs through Black Rock Mountain State Park
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Black Rock Mountain State Park

We decided on the spur of the moment to take the quarter mile downhill trail to see Ada-hi Falls. The view of the falls was worth hiking down the damp leaf covered trail.

It always pays to stop at the Visitor’s Center to ask about what to see when you are in a new place. When we asked about things to see, as soon as we heard “gravel road” we knew we had to take it to see Black Rock Lake.

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We can’t resist driving on gravel roads and one took us to Black Rock Lake
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Black Rock Lake

The next day our destination was to see three waterfalls in the Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina between Highlands and Franklin. The road from Dillard to Highlands has many sharp turns and steep grades and I wouldn’t recommend taking a big RV on it. Our first stop was the Sky Valley overlook in Georgia for a view before crossing into North Carolina a few miles later.

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Sky Valley Overlook in Georgia on the road to Highlands, NC

Our journey took us to the outskirts of Highlands before turning onto the narrow, twisting Highway 64 towards Franklin. Bridal Veil Falls was the first waterfall we came to but we couldn’t stop because the parking area was full. We continued to Dry Falls in the Nantahala National Forest. The National Forest has built a good size parking area with pit toilets and a handicapped accessible overlook of the falls. To get a closer look at the falls and even walk behind them we walked down a series of stairs and short trail down to the falls.

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Dry Falls near Highlands, NC in the Nantahala National Forest

Our next stop was a few miles down the road at a small waterfall on the Cullasaja River. To see these falls up close we had to park across the road and navigate our way down a short rocky slope.

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Small waterfall beside Hwy 64 between Highlands and Franklin, NC

In order to  return to Bridal Veil Falls we had to drive down the narrow road a short way before finding a place to turn around. This time there was plenty of available parking. Walking behind the falls is allowed but cars can no longer drive behind them.

After returning to Georgia we had one more waterfall to see. Sylvan Falls is located next to the Sylvan Falls Mill Bed and Breakfast in Mountain City just a few miles beyond the campground where we were staying.

Four waterfalls in one day! All were easily accessible with no strenuous hiking involved.