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Says Nik Wallenda: "I eat, breathe, sleep walking a wire. This is my passion. It pays the bills, and that's a perk."
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Tallulah Point Overlook offers spectacular views of the gorge, the site of Wallenda's walk. Carved by the Tallulah River, the gorge is accented by its five falls.
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It was only in the early 1990s that Tallulah Falls Gorge was officially named a Georgia State Park. Trails, as well as camping, swimming, and picnic areas, make this a major destination. Hiking into the gorge requires a check-in at the interpretive center. Permits are limited to 100 per day.
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If the neon yellow doesn't catch your attention, the goats on the roof will. Located just outside of Clayton on Highway 441, Goats has become a mecca to purchase local crafts and foods. And who can resist feeding the goats?
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Glen Coffee of the Double X Ranch believes in the power of history. Many of the items he carries with him to all Chuck Wagon Competitions belongs to his father.
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Lexie Dean has his skillet ready and his taste buds warmed up for the Chuck Wagon Competition. Held at the Dillard House this year, contestants circled city hall and waited for the countdown to begin.
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Troy Reddick of Skillet and Spurs took home the grand prize at this year's Chuckwagon Competition. These Old West enthusiasts take pride in preserving the American past through cooking competitions using old tools and restored wagons.
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The Jane Hurt Yarn Interpretive Center offers comprehensive displays of the history of the gorge as well as regional information.
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Karl Wallenda has his own corner of history in the Center, displaying photos of the day as well as first person narratives.
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Tallulah Point Overlook has been on the mountain's edge since 1912. Not only can you buy souvenirs but you can watch "Art in Action." This 36-foot mural depicts Wallenda's high wire act, completed just in time for the 45th anniversary celebration.
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When visiting the Overlook, detour along the Historic 441 road. Replaced years ago as the main thoroughfare north, the historic route offers beautiful views and a touch of nostalgia.
It only took one man, one wire, and one day in the summer of 1970 to make both the man and the place a legend. When Karl Wallenda constructed a wire across Tallulah Falls Gorge in Northeast Georgia, thousands of people swarmed into the tiny mountain town of Clayton to witness the extraordinary feat first hand. It wasn’t enough to read it in next Tuesday’s community paper or see it on the evening newscast days later; they had to see it to believe it. And see it they did. It took him 19 minutes to cross at 1,200-foot wide, 750 deep gorge – and in-between – he did two handstands.
It has been 45 years since the Great Wallenda walked across the gorge, and the family Wallenda is still doing the impossible, pushing limits, testing their skills. Karl Wallenda’s grandson Nik carries on the family legacy in grand fashion; he has conquered Niagara Falls, the skyscrapers of Chicago and even the Grand Canyon. How and why? I’ll tell you.
This summer Nik traveled to Clayton, Georgia, his first time visiting the city that his grandfather put on the map. Many in the community hoped this was the year that history would repeat itself; not this year, says Nik, “but it’s on my list.”
Still they hoped and pleaded, but it was his charismatic character and level-headedness that persuaded the hopeful that it will come, in time. For upon this visit, he was there to discover what drew his grandfather to this location above all others. From the living history at the Foxfire Museum to the awe-inspiring views at the state park, Nik understood the draw of the North Georgia Mountains.
Judy and Len Garrison are at home in Farmington, Georgia, just on the outskirts of Dawg country - better known as Athens. Len, an IT manager for a major Atlanta company, and Judy, an editor, author and travel writer, invite you to travel along with them as they explore the best of the South. Email them at email@example.com. Visit their website at Seeing Southern, and follow them on Twitter at @judyhgarrison, @seeing_southern, LIKE them on Facebook and on Instagram.