I drove into Georgia through the lush Rabun County riverland, where much of Deliverance was filmed. The rivers exploded with all the recent spring rains, spoking out from the mighty Chattooga to rage and roil through the green forests and settle in placid lakes rippling from trout snatching at the raindrops that broke the surface.
Like many of the southeastern high points, this one was paved with a parking lot and visitor center, and once again I stubbornly chose a nearby trailhead instead, hiking through a cold drizzle from Jack’s Gap into the Appalachians. From lookout points I could see how the Blue Ridge mountains earned their name.
A cloud of fog stirred and billowed up from the valley, clung briefly to the budding treetops, then settled to cap the dome of the summit. My trail transformed into a steep paved path twisting through manicured foliage for the final half-mile, and I started to jog in a race against the descending dusk, running up and into the cloud.
The trees broke to reveal a stone lookout tower silhouetted against a pewter sky. A sign announced it as a visitor center, but this was after hours in the off season, and I slipped around a barricade to climb the damp stairs. There was no sound except my footsteps and the low buzz from a nearby radio antenna. I walked the lookout platform alone, looking out into the indeterminate mist, seeing nothing.
About the beer:
The Treehugger Ale from Terrapin is like a farmer’s picnic, the malt a rich chewy dark pumpernickel bread with a touch of green tea reediness, like chewing on a toothpick after a hearty meal. It’s toasty and finishes with a taste reminiscent of the smell of the wet fallen ash leaves that carpet the ground around me, just about to be displaced by the bright springtime grasses.