Trailheads Head Down To High Falls, Learn A Nod Is As Good As A Wink To A Blind Pig.
It's July in April here in Atlanta. The temperatures hovered in the mid-eighties, so Trail Master Guy led the team to the water. A river. A dam. A creek. We had it all except oceans. Once again, we were not a complete crew. George was running his film empire from the West Coast, and Patrick was listening to the intricacies of Medicare coverage.
As the baby Trailhead (call him Grogu), Patrick is learning about the benefits he worked so long to enjoy. The man with a titanium knee and hips needs someone to pay medical science and keep him on the good side of the soil. We had the foursome of Steve, Brad, Guy, and Roy (plus Fio and Elvis) exploring High Falls State Park near Jackson.
Before we sat down to write this report of our adventures, we asked our proprietary AI program, PTRK Chatbot Pro, to give us a write-up. Here's what it came up with:
"Trailheads headed south to High Falls. Roy did much tumbling. There was a coup, Elvis and Fio chased Guy down, Steve fashioned a spear from a tree branch, Brad mixed a large batch of Manhattans, and Trail Master Guy was butchered and barbecued.
The group found him to be 'stringy and dry' but gave him four ribs on the rating scale."
PTRK asked, "Did I miss anything?" We told the bot it had done well and deleted the tech.
Getting to High Falls took almost an hour, and we encountered a somewhat confusing yet threatening parking kiosk. After much experimentation, we discovered its secrets and legally parked. As we surveyed the scene, there appeared to be two paths to follow.
Isn't that the way it always is in life? One trail followed the river to the dam. The other went into the woods. We were there for the water, dammit, so we went down the nicely maintained and constructed path along the waterfront.
The Towaliga River roared to our right as it coursed over the rocky shoals below. There were observation stations with beautiful views.
We found the remains of either Roman aqueducts or the petrified skeleton of a massive space creature. We developed a Roman space alien conspiracy theory. Why not? Combining things works for Reece's Peanut Butter Cups.
From there, we crossed a busy road to the park portion of the venue. There was a dam with water pouring over the top. The park offered lots of parking. We saw an abandoned (for the winter?) putt-putt course, a not yet opened pool, and picnic tables everywhere. With this being Spring Break in Georgia, many people were wandering about.
Guy stopped at the guard gate and chatted with the cordial woman inside. We felt sorry for her, but that's how he is––sharing his Guy-ness with everyone he meets, and no one escapes his interrogations. She told him this area was once Creek Nation land and they had made many trails connecting villages, allowing easier access to resources.
Then the Scots-Irish came along, as they are prone to do, and established the town of Unionville. In the late 1800s, the community was renamed High Falls. Perhaps that whole "Union" thing didn't play well in that political moment. The river and waterfall provided power to a shoe factory, carding factory, broom and mop factory, wooden furniture plants, a cotton mill, a gristmill, and one of the earliest sawmills in Georgia. The place was hopping. Then, a major rail line bypassed High Falls, and the town fell off the map. No train, no gain.
In 1890, construction began on the dam, and the power it created helped preserve the area from complete ruin. Georgia Hydroelectric Company purchased and transferred the structure to Georgia Power in 1930. In 1961, the Hiwassee Timber Company bought and donated the property to the Georgia Fish and Game Commission. They turned it over to the State Parks and Historic Sites division of the Department of Natural Resources, and it became High Falls State Park. Whew!
And that children is our history lesson for the day. But wait, there is one more thing. In 1975 Dickey Betts of The Allman Brothers Band wrote a 14-and-a-half-minute instrumental titled "High Falls," named after the park. Rock on, Dickey.
Please realize we lift large chunks of this information from multiple sources and do little fact-checking. Why? Because that would require work. Young people should not base school reports on Trailheads blog content. We realize many students use ChatGPT anyway, but if they don't, consider our information as directionally or factually correct.
After enjoying beautiful views of the river and dam, we returned to where we had started. Returning to our cars, we noticed many elevation changes, and Mother Nature had cranked up the heat and humidity. Trailheads were drenched puppies (fortunately, our logo merch is very absorbent). Elvis and Fio had drenched themselves in the waterways at every opportunity.
As we all strolled through the beautiful woods Roy and Brad relayed their recent conversation with a meat market owner. They were each shopping for dinner, and the butcher asked about the logo on Roy's cap. Roy explained 'Trailheads' is the name of our weekly hiking group, and afterward, we eat at a local barbecue joint.’ Brad said he had designed new t-shirts with the theme "Hike The Hooch" (available on our site here) and all profits support Chattahoochee National Park Conservancy. The meat guy said he wasn't sure he'd go out in the woods with guns drinking Hooch! Brad and Roy listened wide-eyed. "What the whaaa???"
Our butcher friend associated Hooch with its slang use during prohibition in the 1920s. And for some reason, he assumed anyone going into the woods would be armed. For the record, water bottles are all we're packing on our hikes––so we can give threatening criminals a good splashing.
The meat man noticed our stunned looks and said, "Y'all don't pack when you go in the woods? There are mountain lions out there. I haven't seen them myself, but I've heard of people who have. You got to be ready for mountain lions." Duly noted, sir. Brad got his fish, Roy got his hamburger, and they went their separate ways, thinking about mountain lions, and paranoid about dangerous people we might meet on the trails. We may need bigger water bottles.
The conversations along the hike took many turns, although we could not remember any of it at lunch. Maybe the heat wiped our hard drives. Somewhere along the way, Roy Tumbles was injured (the man is on brand).
The official story is that he was attacked by a rare North Georgia Fighting Squirrel (Caught here by Roy's camera just before the allegedly vicious attack). In truth he swatted at a bug, hit his arm, and a bruise exploded over his forearm. He's fragile.
That brings us to lunch. Our research showed two highly rated spots nearby. One place serves only pork and stew—or stew and pork if you crave variety. Wanting more options, we went to The Blind Pig BBQ. Its menu is not crazy extensive, but according to the Googleverse concentrating on the cooking has gotten owner/chef Ron Brown's joint ranked the #5 Best BBQ Restaurant in GA by Atlanta Magazine.
We liked the rustic look of this joint from the outside. It looked like the kind of place we'd feel at home. They even had pails of roasted, salty peanuts to snack on and we downed a pail or two.
We asked the friendly young woman working the counter what she liked best on the menu. She said she's not a barbecue fan and eats the hamburger daily. We love a good burger, like Samuel L. Jackson in "Pulp Fiction"––especially The Kahuna Burger–– but we were searching for truth and barbecue. No burgers for us on this day.
We found a semi-shady spot on the back deck, and a server brought water for the pups. It was a kind gesture, but Fio mentioned she is partial to Perrier (with an organic lime slice, please). She says the bubbles aid in digestion. Elvis likes his water wet. He's persnickety like that.
Brad and Guy ordered half racks of St. Louis-style ribs. The tired hikers proclaimed the ribs were meaty and seasoned perfectly. Although the meat didn't fall off the bone, it didn't hang on for dear life either. We learned the ribs are smoked fresh daily over hickory wood and daubed with house-made barbecue sauce before being sent to the table.
Steve and Roy had the Pulled Pork sandwiches. Pulled pork is considered the other house specialty. These were monster sandwiches packed with smoky, tasty, moist pulled pork. This pig was good flying solo but took on some attitude with the sweet, tart sauce. While Trailheads love a good toasted bun, these buns were not, but that didn't detract Roy and Steve from devouring them.
Two women leaving as we entered had told us the home fries were top-notch. We ordered some because when in Rome (or Jackson)––you know, you, uh, do something. The home fries are kind of like thick-sliced potato chips. They're fried but not to a chip's crispness. They are between a potato slice and a chip––slabs of potato goodness.
The slaw was solid––not too sweet, not too vinegary. It stood up well to the 'cue and gave the sandwich a nice crunch.
The Brunswick Stew was different than most we've eaten. Usually, you have lots of soup. The liquid portion outweighs the goodies-- the meat, and the veggies. At Blind Pig BBQ, it's the opposite. While we wanted more liquid for bread sopping, we enjoyed every spoonful.
After wolfing down our body weights in barbecue, we needed coffee but didn't find a conveniently located Starbucks or coffee shop on the way home. We finally got Java in the big city and headed our separate ways. Another fun Trailheads walk through history and smoked meats.
Of course for Elvis the day didn’t end until he got his post-hike nap.
Rating: Four Ribs*
The Blind Pig BBQ
873 Barnetts Bridge Rd.
Jackson, GA 30233
*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.