At Lake Allatoona: Red Top Mountain State Park

It was thanksgiving weekend and an old friend from St. Louis was visiting me. He is a big hiking and biking enthusiast and in general being with nature kind of person, so we decided to head somewhere near nature. It was friday afternoon. Waking at 11:00am, eating and getting ready for a hike, it was already 2:00pm. Whatever trails I have visited are around 2 hours driving distance from Atlanta. So, he said why don't you look for state parks. We quickly googled and found Red Top Mountain state park within half an hour drive and decided to head there.

"The drive from Nashville to Atlanta was very pretty", he exclaimed. I aha-ed and kept my eyes firmly on the highway. "I passed through Allatoona Lake area while driving", more aha from me. The sun was right in my eye at that hour in the afternoon. My regular sunglasses are made of polycarbonate material and are pretty cheap. I think if I wear them for long intervals, my eyes start straining. We talked a bit about the virtues of various sunglasses and came to the decision that I need better sunglasses, preferably a name brand.

That issue settled and out of way, we finally made it to the park. Red Top Mountain state park spreads around Lake Alltoona. It has almost 10 miles of hiking trails and you never really get very far from the lake. When I parked and started to get the parking pass, my friend exclaimed, "We don't have parking fees in state parks in St. Louis". Oh well, I don't resent paying the $2.00 parking fee. I am sure a lot more revenue is needed to maintain the park and the facilities than is collected through the parking fees.

We started around the smaller trails and took quite a few pictures. The place is just stunningly beautiful. The sun shimmering in the lake gives out the colors of green, golden and white, showing its beauty like peacock feather.

In this season, the shoreline of the lake has receded a bit. Trees that once stood in the lake and had died long ago still anounced their presence through their stumps. We walked along the shore of the lake and continued along our hike. We hiked along two of the smaller trails and started on the longer Homestead trail.

We were walking, at the same time talking and no topic was taboo. I was stopping every now and then to take pictures. An hour and half in the hike and I realized that the sun was setting. When we entered the park, I had enquired the closing time and was told 7:00pm. It was still quite some time for the park to close, but sunlight was fading and I was getting a little worried. The trail is 5.5 miles long and we had no idea how much of the trail we had traversed. So we kept walking and increased the stride length and the pace too. The sun kept dimming and eventually the moon came up. It was a full moon. So now we were hiking in the moonlight. We were looking for any signs of civilization but none were visible. Oh well, looking at the trail blazes and keeping to the path we eventually made it out of the trail.

There is a really nice lodge at the park. It also boasts a really nice restaurant. We did not eat there, but it certainly did look nice. My friend bought a pair of plastic deer figurines from there and we headed back home.

Life has to offer you only as much as you ask of it. You can live your life living in a simple room, doing nothing but watching television. Or you can head outside and enjoy. I choose the latter. Whatever, be howsoever the conditions be, like this tree, we can choose to cling on, go on and live a full life. Remember, if like Don Corleone at your deathbead you can look back and say, "life was good", well I guess you led a meaningful life.