Life on Lookout Mountain

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By JOHN DERSHAM

Get out your picnic baskets, hiking boot and bicycles.

It is time to shake those winter blues and get outside in the sunshine. Dig in your garden, fly a kite and race with the kids across an open green field. Breathe deep and bring that fresh air into your lungs and laugh with the wind blowing in your face. Life is too short to focus on your burdens. Let go, be free and enjoy the annual miraculous rebirth of our beautiful environment all around us.

Be thankful. Spring is here!

Each year around March 1, I start getting spring fever. My thoughts drift toward the wonderful feeling of warm, sunny weather and more outdoor activities.

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[/s2If][s2If is_user_logged_in()]Here on Lookout Mountain, March weather can be anything and everything all in one month. We have had snow and extreme cold, and some years when March arrives, we go straight into spring. Many years we have some nice days or a nice week, but often, the month is vulnerable to go from winter to spring and from spring to winter.

Nonetheless, the days are getting longer and even when it is cold the early flowers begin to bloom, beginning with daffodils. I have seen winters when daffodils start coming up in late January or early February and are in bloom by mid to late February – sometimes covered in snow or ice.

In the case of a really cold winter, it will be the first part of March when they garner enough light and warmth to begin to bloom. On Lookout Mountain you will see large patches of daffodils everywhere. Most of the view is still winter brown and gray, but those beautiful splotches of yellow decorate the landscape, providing the first sign that winter is finally giving birth to spring.

Soon the entire landscape will turn into the incomparable color palette of a rainbow. The grass will be emerald green, and the small leaves on the trees will be translucent against a sunlit backdrop.

The Lookout Mountain area has one of the most bio-diverse environments on the planet, giving us such a wide variety of plant species that at the peak of spring, the whole region looks like a king-size botanical garden.

The region also has a well-developed tourism economy; much of it is ecotourism and leisure tourism that emanate out of our naturally beautiful environment. God provided the natural beauty, and man has built some wonderful attractions around it for people to visit and enjoy.

Lookout Mountain runs in a northeasterly direction following the line of its mother mountain system – the Appalachians. Chattanooga marks the north end of Lookout Mountain and Gadsden, Ala., its southern terminus. The almost 100-mile-long plateau and the valleys around it also include a beautiful stretch through northwest Georgia.

The area beckons you with scenic drives that encompass historical elements from the former Cherokee Nation to the Civil War to a Victorian-era economic boom. Public lands abound with great hiking, kayaking, rock climbing, rappelling, bicycling, campgrounds, bed-and-breakfast establishments, lodges, cabins, restaurants, quaint towns and villages, boutique shopping and summer camps for the kids.

Little River Canyon National Preserve is one of the treasured attractions on Lookout Mountain. Little River cuts a swath through this 650-foot-deep canyon, and it is considered one of America’s cleanest river systems. It runs its entire length on top of Lookout Mountain before emptying into scenic Weiss Lake.

There is a much longer story about all the things to do and see in the Lookout Mountain region. If you live here already, then you know what I am talking about. If not, come spend some time in our region. You will love it.

If you are planning a trip to the region, here are a few websites that will help while visiting this popular, affordable and very comfortable destination: DiscoverLookoutMountian.com, ChattanoogaFun.com, Cherokee-Chamber.org and GreaterGadsden.com.

John Dersham is president/CEO of DeKalb Tourism.

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