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Three Trailheads & Three Dogs Hike Civil War Battlefields, Then Attack Herb’s Rib Shack.

Updated: Jan 19



A week after the miracle of assembling a whole crew of six Trailheads, we only had three intrepid, dedicated hikers this week. With Fio, Elvis, and Nilla joining us, that meant one dog could walk each human tethered by a leash. We’ll save you the sob stories of the absentee Trailheads.



Apparently, there are more important things in life than hiking and comradery for George, Steve, and Roy. What those things are is anyone’s guess––splitting atoms, performing heart transplants, or watching morning talk shows while drinking oatmeal lattes and eating hefty, sweet, gooey bear claws in their warm, comfy abodes. Whatever.



When Patrick showed up at Guy’s house for a ride to the trail, he found Fio sitting in the front passenger seat, even though he had called shotgun the day before. He asked the dog politely (sobbing like a baby) if he could have the seat. Fio felt pity for the sniveling weakling and relinquished her seat. She is the queen of all she surveys but has a golden heart.

 


We met Brad at our destination, Kennesaw Harding Mill and Noses Creek Trail. We did a similar hike in November 2022 (read about that adventure here). Trailheads are fans of the Kennesaw Mountain National Battleground Trails, and we vow to cover them all. Why not? We have hiked all the Chattahoochee River trails, so it seems natural to conquer the mountains next.



Then, we will trek across the Mohave and Sahara Deserts and tackle Mother Nature's greatest challenge: hiking Perimeter, Cumberland, and Lennox Malls. We dare to dream.

 


Elvis gingerly descended the new magical metal stairway from heaven, making the treacherous journey from Brad’s shiny new electric Fisker to the ground. The poor dog is suffering a hip injury, and it breaks our hearts to see him limping with his cane.

 


While many cars were in the parking lot, we encountered few people on the trail. Perhaps they were hiking up Little Kennesaw, or maybe they saw us and decided to go home. We looked like trouble. Then again, maybe they were all serial killers disposing of their handiwork and preferring not to be seen doing it. We ain't sayin' nothin'.

 


Off we hiked down the trail on a clear and cold morning. Brrr, it was bitter arctic weather. How cold was it? It was so cold the dogs wore fur coats, and no one from PETA threw red paint. The humans wore layers of clothes and puffy jackets or, in Brad’s case, a Trailheads’ fleece. Old Man Winter and his sidekick Jack Frost tried to freeze us out, but we persevered. Heroic? You bet. It's what we do.

 


We strolled along paths that were probably once trampled upon by soldiers fighting the Civil War. One can almost imagine Napoleon’s troops rallying behind the Roman Legion as they approached the Confederate Army firing on the advancing Redcoats.



We imagine Messerschmitts flying overhead and the Union soldiers looking suspiciously at a Trojan Horse being wheeled across an open field. While all this mayhem unfolded, The Cherokee Tribe looked on in disbelief, then closed the lids of their Sherman tanks and headed into battle.

 

War is hell. Let’s cut it out, everyone! Okay?



Trailheads discussed our love of this season of “Fargo” with Jon Hamm, Juno Temple, and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Do yourself a favor and watch it. Buckle up, though. It’s a wild one. In fact Hamm's character's name is the same as our very own Roy Tumbles. We do see some many similarities. It's pretty spooky.

 


Trailheads came upon three women walking a small dog. Nilla and Elvis were curious to meet. Fio said, "I've met enough dogs to do me a lifetime. Most of them are so needy." The other dogs got acquainted, and the people did the same. The dogs had a lull in their conversation and told the humans to break it up and return to hiking. We did. We're obedient if nothing else-- but did we receive treats for being good boys? No.

 


The trail continued across the other side of a busy road. We crossed it, avoiding speeding cars like we were in a Frogger game. A cop car zipped by, and Officer Do-Good wagged his disciplinary finger at us. We looked and saw there was a crossing path just down the road. Once again, Trailheads were breaking the law.



We used the official crosswalk on our way back, which worked like a charm. Cars stopped for us. It sure beats becoming a potential roadkill. Thank you, Officer Dudley Do-Right.

 


Onward we hiked. The trail had some excellent elevations and was well-maintained. Exposed roots were minimal. This trail is popular with bikers, runners, and, in nice weather, even people on horseback. So, watch your step. Horses don’t know how to use the facilities, and never wash their hooves.

 


We saw two women wearing jackets sporting the Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park Trail Club logo. They are named KC and Casey, and you couldn’t find more friendly or helpful people in a million years (so don’t bother). These wonderful ladies were volunteers working from 7 am to 7 pm, walking the trails and assisting those who had questions or wanted to know the fascinating history forged on this land. You can learn more about their worthwhile organization here.



Fortunately, Roy was not with us. He's not a fan of history. It's just stuff that has already happened, so why bother learning about it? Our historian Heads shake their heads and shed a small tear when he says that.

 


We told our new guide friends the glorious story of The Trailheads, and KC and Casey did an excellent job feigning interest and suppressing yawns. We only had to nudge them twice to keep them awake after our two-hour lecture. Of course, we had Trailheads stickers ready and gave them to the cheerful women. They told us there are over 20 miles of trails, close to 25 miles with some of the offshoot trails. We said we’d return and conquer them all eventually. We've done four or five of them already.

 


Patrick began telling them about some of the battles that had taken place on this land––the Coke vs Pepsi Cola Wars, The Battle of Hastings, and The Burger Wars between McDonald’s and Burger King. KC and Casey smiled as they listened to him drone on, his arms behind his back, and the women slowly stepped back from us. Then they turned and began walking fast––obviously, the women had to return to work. We loved their dedication.

 


It was lunchtime, so we returned to our cars and hit the road to one of our favorite rib joints, Herb’s Rib Shack on Windy Hill Road in Marietta. Last week, we visited Matt’s Rib Shack in the big city. We were on a rib bender, call it the Battle of the Bones.

 


Herb’s advertises itself with smoke. The seductive aroma poured from the black smokers out front. The wind delivers it, and one whiff is a persuasive invitation few can refuse.

 


In past visits, we've eaten at a plastic table in the back of the parking lot, but it was gone. Inside, there are two tables. Most people pick up their grub and go or eat their spread on their car hoods. We decided to drive our dining tables and find a park.

 


The interior projects the shack décor. This is not the place to lollygag or while the day away. This is a place for serious food and no-nonsense eating. A woman was holding a container of rib tip samples when we entered. We took a meaty morsel, chewed, and let the deliciousness envelop our souls. Try one and you'll become an instant convert. All three of us had samples, and we all got ribs. Two Trailheads added sausage. We ordered, grabbed our bags of food, and hit the road to find a picnic table to feast on.

 


As you probably guessed, ribs are the show's main attraction and stars. These are meaty St. Louis-style ribs with a peppery bark that punches tastebuds into submission. Every bite carries the sweet kiss of that savory Herb’s smoke you smelled before you walked inside.

 


On the rib platter, there are three bones and six rib tips. You’ll be amazed how fast they all disappear down your gullet. They are outstanding. If you are ever near Herb’s, do yourself a favor and stop by for some ribs and tips. They are some of the best pork products you’ll find on Earth. Although Alpha Montoro Vreggy 14#264 in the Gamma Ramma Ding-Dong Galaxy also has excellent ribs––but that’s a long drive.

 


The smoked sausage brigade also loved their links. The flavor is hearty and satisfying and a perfect complement to the ribs. Carnivores rejoiced!

 


The mac and cheese were forked away fast. It’s creamy and gooey and cheesy as can be.

 


The baked beans were baked beans. If you’re into that kind of thing, you’ll like them because they’re studded with bits of pork for added flavor.

 


The same is true of the green beans. The veggies get some attitude adjustment with the additional spice of pork.

 


The coleslaw is a good palate cleanser. As is the corn. These sides appeared to be the only ones lacking additional pork for flavor.



And the corn was terrific. It's not the creamy, spicy corn we've been eating. This was just pure corn goodness.

 


But make no mistake, the Herb’s ribs are the ticket, the only way to go. Gnaw some bones and consider that way back when Hannibal led his Carthaginian Army over Kennesaw Mountain on an elephant to conquer Attila the Hun. Hannibal also enjoyed his ribs with a nice Chianti. And a side of fava beans.

 

Let’s hope history never repeats itself.



 

 

Rating: Four Ribs*


Herb's Rib Shack

186 Windy Hill Rd

Marietta GA 30060

 


*About Our Barbecue Rating System

Trailheads do not claim to be food experts, epicureans, or sophisticated palettes. We are hungry hikers who attack a selected barbecue venue and ravage our way through whatever smoked fare and fixings they're dishing. Our reviews feature what we believe are the highlights of the menu we sampled. So our intent is not to trash talk the saintly folks who tend to smoldering smokers on hot, humid summer days. They are sacrificing themselves in the noble art of smoking meats and feeding the drooling masses. Many are independent entrepreneurs who are the backbone of this humming American economy. Now that you know our standards, you may wonder why every barbecue place gets a four ribs rating. The answer is easy: our group has acclaimed designers, and they think the ribs graphic looks cool. Who are we to argue? Enjoy.


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