There are as many ways to challenge a goat as there are bridges built by the forestry service. The simple plank across a dry stream bed is an easy example. The OSHA approved board walk with one sided hand rail, (always on the side away from the drop off for some reason), is another. Then there’s the suspension bridge. The one with rails. And the one without rails, also known as the “goat dunker” when combined with a river. Even the dreaded pair of guide lines over a rushing creek that is utterly useless to a goat and almost as useless to someone carrying a pack!
Pine Log Trail System is accessed by a bridge of a different breed from those lesser examples. Not for this county park are the simple cost effective contraptions of the National Park Service. They built themselves a real project of a bridge! Take some time out to enjoy a hike and check it, (and the quarry of course!) out.
Is it goat approved? The sign at the front says “pets must be on leash” and only specifically forbades horseback riders, (for good reason, the trails aren’t built for large animals). So if the goat is a pet…and is on leash…well, you know how this goes.
How you get there: You want to go down Highway 140. Just after you pass through Waleska, GA, (a nice spot to grab a sandwich) it’s a few miles further on. You’ll pass the turn to Garland Mountain, another nice day hike. Then go into a stretch of twisty roads with informal pull offs along the edge. The park is just ahead on your right. It does not have a classic state park sign, but there is large white sign on the edge of the road, and a very well maintained parking lot visible through the trees. The parking lot is fenced in, so if you come during a busy time you may not be able to get parking. The lot would hold about 30 cars, but this place seems to be well known and very popular. Peak times would exceed 30 cars easy!
Time for hike: The distance for this hike is around 4.1 miles round trip on a mostly loop, using the western, eastern, and quarry trails. The climbs are easy, with lots of switch backs.
Best season to do this hike: WINTER. Maybe late autumn. The parking lot is large enough for 30 cars and the trail system is very popular, especially with dog walkers. The quarry and creeks also attract swimmers. Finally, the views from the back side of the western loop will be a lot more spectacular once all the foliage comes off the trees.
Trails to Take
Start off at the parking lot. The trail heads off behind the trial kiosk with the map on it. This first part is flat flood plain along the Pine Log Creek.
Eventually you will reach a particularly awesome bridge made out of a single log. Cross it, and continue along, beginning to climb up hill. When you reach the trail fork, go left to climb up through a narrow trench and continue along the back side of the western loop. This gets you out of the majority of the trail traffic and puts you at higher elevations where the views of surrounding mountainsides are more impressive.
The western trail runs around to the eastern trail in bottom land near a creek crossing. You want to turn left onto the eastern trail and continue. At the unmarked trail fork keep right rather than taking the other trail that goes up hill.
Then walk. And walk. You are on the front side of the eastern trail now. This stretch is more uplands and rocky ridge lines. Eventually you will come up on a single brown sign that says “CCC quarry”. The trail to the quarry is behind the sign and you will see some old blast rock from the quarry piled up in the vicinity.
The quarry is a very short walk down this dead end trail. Once you are finished admiring the flooded quarry and its bounty of sunfish, you can return on the eastern trail to the western/eastern intersection. Then go left to take the FRONT side of the western trail through easy bottom land along a picturesque creek. The western trail will intersect again with the remainder of the western trail. Go left following the sign that says “Back to the parking lot”.
- This is a hiking only park popular with dog walkers. While you will be spared being run down by mountain bikes or kicked by horses you will not be spared grouchy dog people. There’s always some penance for your sins, no matter how hard you try!
- The park is very popular. Choose an unpopular time to visit.
- There is mountain laurel in places in this park. Mountain laurel is poisonous to goats. Avoid the green vomit of doom by making sure the horned minions don’t partake of a lot of it.
- The goat you take must be able to walk on leash because the park requires pets to be on leash and the other dog walkers seem to be rigidly adhering to that rule. Suggesting somewhere there is someone enforcing it.
- The trails here are short, (4.5 miles is about the best you can do and not repeat anything). Consider this as an easy hike to stretch your legs out after you do some real work.
- Watch out for unauthorized horses. Apparently this park has a problem with them…
In sum: If you push a goat off a quarry ledge into the water…will it float?