Over the holidays, I was determined to explore at least one of the trails in the book. My parents' area has a nice rail trail that we visit, a new park with a great trail around a lake, and the Cheaha State Park nearby, but we definitely miss the variety of different trails that we have near our own house when we migrate south.
My mom agreed to hop in the car with us and check out Allatoona Pass Battlefield, a Civil War battlefield and #23 in the Doggin' Atlanta book, a few days after Christmas. The sun was shining and the temperatures were near 50, so it was the perfect day for an adventure.
The parking lot wasn't well marked at Allatoona, but once we figured out where we were going, it looked like a great place to walk. The parking lot was on the other side of a hill from a large lake, so our first views of the battlefield were very pretty.
Just a few feet down the trail was a small bowl were monuments were erected for each state involved in the Battle of Allatoona pass. Interestingly, no Georgians were involved in the fighting in this north Georgia battle.
There was also a rocky beach along the lake that we could have explored more, but there were so many good smells there that the girls weren't really interested in moving very far, so we hit the wooded trails instead.
The Western & Atlantic Railroad passed through this area and was one of the biggest supply lines to Atlanta during the Civil War. Sherman fortified the Allatoona Pass and despite Confederate attacks on the Union supply lines, the Union kept control of the area.
There's a trail that goes through the Deep Cut that was a nice, easy trail through the woods and along the lake.
There were also some side trails that added a little more intensity to our hike. The dogs weren't fazed by the inclines, but I was panting a bit!
We took a staircase up to a location where there was a fort during the battle. This was Rye's first real time on stairs on a trail and she did so well listening to me and controlling her crazy. Barley was her usual perfect self and took care of her grandma on the stairs and slopes. There were some dirt mounds around the perimeter of the fort and a few signs that talked about the experience. I think one of them said there were about 700 soldiers in the fort, which was about the size of my living room, and they had to lay on top of each other just to fit. Reading the informative signs and imagining having to fight on such steep slopes really brought to light just how horrible the Civil War was. We didn't study the Civil War much in history classes in Georgia--I do know we were told that it was about states' rights rather than slavery--so most of what I've learned about the war comes from some Civil War novels and poetry and other historical sites my mom's taken me to. Seeing the battlefield first hand was really eye opening, especially after rereading Whitman's Drum Taps with my students this semester.
As we finished our walk, my mom suggested grabbing lunch and checking out another battlefield that we'd passed on the way to Allatoona, Pickett's Mill Battlefield Historic Site, which is #35 in Doggin' Atlanta.
This battlefield was on Sherman's warpath after he left Allatoona on his way to Atlanta. According to Doggin' Atlanta, Sherman's forces lost "over 1,600 troops from a 14,000-man force" while Confederate forces lost 500, but the battle "only delayed Sherman's capture of Atlanta by about a week. In his memoirs Sherman did not even see fit to mention the engagement at Pickett's Mill in his description of the Atlanta Campaign."
There was a short trail out to a cabin that had been build before the start of the war. The cabin was very rustic, but also pretty and peaceful.
There were several different longer trails to choose from and we might have explored them all if we hadn't already had one adventure for the day. Since it was getting later in the afternoon, we picked the trail that had the most historical markers along it.
Most of the markers were pointing out trenches that the soldiers had used during the battle. Honestly, I probably wouldn't have noticed them as being any different from normal mounds and divots in the ground without the pamphlet from the Visitor's Center. The trail also took us along Pumpkinvine Creek where a grist mill had been located during the war. According to Doggin' Atlanta, this is one of the country's best preserved Civil War sites, so if you're into Civil War history, this one should definitely be on your travel itinerary.
Between the two parks, we got in about 5.5 miles (although my Garmin watch only logged about 4.6 or so because it doesn't do so well on stairs or on inclines if I don't go fast enough!). The girls were worn out and slept almost all the way home.
This was the perfect adventure to get the last three miles we needed to meet our 1000 mile goal for 2017. It was also nice to share the adventure with my mom. I love adventuring with just my girls, but it's also fun to have someone along who will talk back when I say something.