Mother Nature gave Georgia a sneak peak at Spring, yesterday. I already had in mind what my weekend would look like – petroglyphs and archaeological sites. My son has long had a fascination with the history of ancient peoples and prehistory. So, when I learned about the petroglyphs at Track Rock Gap, I knew I had to show him. We packed daytrip gear and hit the road.
Two hours later, we parked in a tiny lot on the side of the road and stretched our legs before heading down the trail toward the archaeological site. We reached the petroglyph-covered boulders quickly. Signs gave a vague explanation of what we were seeing. Something to do with native myths about animals disappearing between the cracks of rocks. Somehow, the petroglyph markings more resembled a map of some sort, to me.
Unfortunately, as with many ancient sites, this one has been damaged by people who stole parts of the boulders and carvings – essentially tearing a page out of this picture book. But, the real disappointment was the fact that this was it. After driving for two hours to get here, we had seen it all in a matter of minutes – six boulders, at the end of a very short trail, on the side of the road. The end.
Let the disappointment sink in while I introduce Day Trip Foolproofing Tip number one.
Prepare to fail
My best advice for daytripping is preparing to fail. Daytrip failure can happen for many reasons. Maybe you get a late start, the destination doesn’t turn out to be what you expected, your destination is closed, or the kids just aren’t into it. Failure doesn’t have to look like you running away with your tail between your legs. Like my husband said, “The only remedy for failure is another try.” Be aware that you might just end up having to shift gears and change plans. This can save your daytrip by turning your failure into a new adventure.
Back to the story…
I don’t know why I had expected there to be more to it. But, I did. Although thrilled to have viewed the petroglyph carvings, I was fiercely disappointed in the amount of time and energy (and gas) that went into getting here. This trip was supposed to be about petroglyphs and archaeology and ancient stuff and the Track Rock site was just not enough to accomplish that. Which brings me to Plan B.
Having a Plan B
Having a Plan B is great, if you aren’t so excited about your destination that you get tunnel vision and don’t research anything else in the area. *Ahem* I’m pointing the finger at myself. Instead of focusing on a single destination, choose a couple different things in the area before setting out. Knowing more about the surrounding area doesn’t mean you have to do all the things – but, it does give you some options to fall back on. To keep it real and honest, know that I never do this unless it’s a big road trip. You know the saying, though, do as I say not as I do.
Thankfully, our adventure didn’t end there.
We backtracked to Vogel State Park, which is just 20 minutes away. I knew this because we’d passed some signs pointing us toward the park, on our way to Track Rock. I first visited Vogel State Park on my first anniversary in December 2003, over a decade ago. My husband and I had camped out and were driving around, exploring North Georgia for new things to see when we glimpsed a waterfall through the trees and pulled into the park. It was nice to share this same walk, and a picnic lunch, with his sons.
We also squeezed in a short hike at Helton Creek Falls and watched the sunset from the highest point in Georgia, Brasstown Bald. How did I accomplish that without a Plan B?
See the signs
This is what I do instead of prepping a Plan B. When I have a plan, I’m usually all-in, gung ho, fully invested in the focus. So much so, that I just don’t have time to research alternate destinations. OK, I have time, I just don’t do it. What I do do (chuckle) is pay attention to signs. Fortunately, my younger son has also inherited this trait. So, we have at least two people cataloging signage along the way. National Parks, State Parks, museums and other attractions usually have signs along busy routes. This provides us with enough information to quickly forge a Plan B, in case of day trip failure.