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
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
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.