April 12, 2001, was my 34th birthday, and Anna and
I both took the day off work to celebrate. I wanted to go someplace
interesting and exciting, but someplace fairly close--we didn't
want to leave the new kitties home alone for too long. Jupiter,
Luna, and Tesseract are, after all, only 10 weeks old!
I'd read about Providence Canyon State Park in one
of my many travel books (Touring the Backroads of North and
South Georgia by Victoria and Frank Logue, which I recommend
highly), and I really wanted to see it. I didn't realize quite
how far away it was--close to 200 miles from Lawrenceville--or
I might not have picked it. Given that, then, I'm glad I didn't
know how far it was, because it was well worth the nearly four
hours on the road.
Providence Canyon has been called Georgia's Little
Grand Canyon, and I'm sure you can tell why from the photographs
below. Unlike the big Grand Canyon in Arizona, however, Providence
Canyon is not a millions-of-years-old geological marvel; instead,
it is a less-than-two-centuries old testament to the damage man
can do to his environment. What is today a canyon that reaches
depths of up to 150 feet was, only 150 years ago, a five-foot-deep
ditch that began forming in a Stewart County farmer's back yard.
The same poor farming techniques that led to the erosion that
created the canyon left 40,000 acres in Stewart County unfarmable.
Even if it was born from something negative, Providence
Canyon is beautiful:
Providence Canyon State Park wasn't founded until
1971; before that, the canyon and the surrounding area was just
a peculiar part of rural Georgia. As such, it collected its fair
share of abandoned vehicles.
Since the flora and fauna of the area had done an
admirable job of adapting themselves to the abandoned vehicles,
it was less damaging to leave the old rusty cars and trucks than
to remove them when the park was being created:
On one of the trails, we encountered a small green
lizard, who showed us his best keep away from me, I'm a
big, bad reptile throat-puffing pose:
But the most important thing, of course, was that
Anna and I looked very cute in our respective hats: