C loudland is located in Northwest Georgia near the borders of Tennessee and Alabama. It is a fairly small park and often overshadowed by larger and more popular parks throughout the region. The park is filled with seemingly endless things to explore. There's miles of trails, an incredible gorge, caves, and flowing waterfalls.
But this is not why Cloudland is so special to me. I grew up in Northern Georgia making my first visit out to the park at a very young age. Outdoor recreation is something that I have grown up around my entire life.
There are many stories of my parents taking my brother and me hiking in Chattahoochee and all throughout Tennessee. There is even still a picture of younger us standing on top of Stone mountain on our refrigerator. But even through all of this, it does not mean that I particularly enjoyed it.
But I will never forget my first trip to Cloudland Canyon when I was old enough to remember it. I was in middle school and my dad took us on a camping and hiking excursion during the time when the leaves were starting to change. He was usually busy so I was all but forced to go on this trip when he carved out the time for us to go. I was not in the least bit excited for this adventure. I was afraid to sleep in a tent and I did not want to be stuck in close quarters with my annoying younger brother for a whole weekend.
I hated how long we had to walk that day, but I vividly remember looking out over the trees and seeing the vastness of the trees and all of the different colors. In the moment, I couldn't help but be awestruck at what I was seeing. The walk that I had hated so much, had suddenly become worth every grueling step.
The trails going forward became more fun. With every step I was awaiting the next waterfall, creek, or scenic view. That trip my dad taught us how to set up a tent at the campsite, a skill that I will forever thank him for. After setting up camp we met some campers near us and had dinner with them. The entire experience was a great time after all. It was spending quality time with the people that I love the most in the serenity of nature.
I have since then returned to Cloudland several times, every time thinking of the first and remembering how much this place truly means to me. I have still not done everything in the park but every time I go it feels just as magical as my first camping adventure with my family.
I love it so much that I have even brought friends out to the park to experience it for themselves. I will be the first to admit that there are bigger and better adventures out there, however the sentiment of Cloudland makes it what I call my Prime Adventure.