We are often asked why we chose to live here in the North Georgia mountains. To be honest we could have moved anywhere in the country so why did we choose here? There was nothing really holding us back from the laundry list of mountain towns throughout the US. When asked this question I tend to respond with, “l love the northwest, have friends there, the mountains are amazing, and the ocean is breathtaking . . . but, there is something about the Appalachian mountains that is unexplainable. It’s the people, the mountains, the air. Once it’s in you, it is there to stay.” This is a true statement, but I really believe it is the people that inhabit this place more than anything else. There is a spirit of making things happen, not only for yourself, but those around you that make this place truly special.
This spirit was on display at the Hatch Camp and Art Farm in Rabun County this past Sunday. The Farm is set in a small valley, almost hollow, with the crystal clear trout waters of Warwomen Creek running through it all. As we pulled up on our motorcycles, the overcast skies hung low, and the combination of smoke from the fire and music filling the air tickled my senses and unlocked memories of childhood trips to valleys and festivals like this. There where tents filled with handmade art, fresh coffee, and some of the most real people you will find.
Scott Low, one of the owners of the Camp, greeted us with a big smile and a slow mountain swagger that those of us who know him, have come to love. He showed us around and took us promptly to the river. It was awesome to watch and listen to him talk about the river and what they had been doing to increase the trout population and overall health for the creatures that live in it. You could see the pride and passion in his eyes when he would look at the river and then back at us. It was as if a little kid was being set free into a rolling field to run and roll through a meadow. From there we made our way up to his fly shop and guide service office. The feeling of doing this because he loves it was present at every step of the way.
As we walked around the misty grounds, talked with new and old friends, and soaked in the atmosphere, I was reminded again that the people of these mountains are the main reason for my love and desire to be here. I read a passage once that filled my mind during this outing . . . “Let’s get lost in a world made of old books, coffee, camp fires, adventure, rainy days and late nights with people we love.”
As we wrapped up our day at the festival we set off on our motorcycles into the misty evening, filled with a sense of community, and passion for just being present in these mountains. We found more adventures that evening on forest roads, stream crossings, fogged filled hollows, and leaf covered trails. This simple little question, ‘hey you want to go for a ride’ turned into an afternoon that will stick with me for some time and it is all due to Hatch Camp and Art Farm, my dad, and the people of this wild and wonderful place we call home.