CHERRY LOG, Ga. – She does this to me every time.
Meat Cove, Cape Breton.
The A-frame in the Okanagan.
That red-dirt “shortcut” in P.E.I.
“It’s fine,” Melani says. “See how thick the road line is on the map?”
This trip, it’s Cherry Log Mountain Retreat in northern Georgia, in Chattahoochee National Forest. The road on the map is not very thick, and I swear to God it’s actual size.
From the interstate, we took a nice little divided highway to a skinny two-lane road that brought us halfway up the mountain. Then the fun starts. And I use the word “fun” in the most sarcastic sense.
Generously, it’s a lane and a half wide. On one side, forest and rock. On the other, forest and rock and certain death down the side of a mountain.
The road is so steep, Joe, my economy truck (and “truck” in the South, remember, has two or three syllables) strains and complains. When the road dips, it does so violently, with a sharp turn at the bottom. The misfortune of meeting another truck means the driver who isn’t on the death side of the mountain has to pull into the forest and wait.
Our ears popped three times before we reached the cabin, but the journey didn’t end there, because the steep driveway is a hairpin going the wrong way – I have to drive another quarter mile to where the road ends, do a crazy three-point turn on a wicked incline and double back.
My nerves are shot, but let me tell you a little about the cabin: The master suite is a loft with a separate, full bathroom. Downstairs, there are two bedrooms, another full bathroom, a washer and dryer and a full eat-in kitchen. There are three TVs with cable. Off the living room is a porch with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. A lower deck has one of the largest Jacuzzis I’ve ever seen.
Night is black. Through the impossibly tall trees, Jupiter is shining, a bright yellow pinprick. Frogs and birds and bugs are a buzzing, loud soundtrack. We can hear something moving in the woods – something that is larger than a raccoon. In the silence after turning off the hot tub, we can hear coyotes or wolves barking and whining at each other.
Is it worth the trip? Just this once, I’ll keep my own counsel.