Pursuing natural health & thinking beyond the superficial. Deconstructing Culture.

I’m a goat aka a problem who rose to ultra troublemaker ‘level’ as a unicorn, a higher level than a horse – the horse being a mount/conveyer of the Mother Goddess and associated with the tree(s) of knowledge and life symbol(s). ‘Funnily’ enough before Mum knew others were thinking of me as a unicorn her favourite mythical animal was Pegasus (others didn’t know that) in both Black and White yet she didn’t know the Pegasus legend of Black and White twins or what those are based on. Pegasus is connected to water as is my Capricorn star sign (both sea creature and mountain goat). The unicorn traditionally is a piercer of the veil, and if necessary a tracker, even able to find and sometimes choose the ‘divine’ and other interesting ‘beings/things’ so depending on the perspective someone who changes/threatens reality.

Are these labels I’ve chosen? No. Are those the only labels? No. I care that’s all, about everybody and everything and I’ve cared enough for some to deem the above creatures likenesses to me. Others like name calling/’honouring’/insulting with them. It’s more of a burden than a blessing. I’ve never been one for ceremony, I always avoided award assemblies unless about other people (that I liked or had to go to). Announcers have called my name only to find I wasn’t there even though they were told in advance; awkward.

Thanks to a man & his team for recently helping to keep my eyes open. I don’t know why you did it or who/what was behind it but I know I must have seemed massively stubborn and difficult but I’m not a player and couldn’t agree let alone with everything you wanted to do or how. I didn’t actually agree to what you did either and I’m adjusting to the new strangeness though so far it seems to be a good thing. What is it with tall, good looking, built, American men wanting to be close.

I was actually going to post this attraction review last year in October but didn’t because it might have upset another American man (not the one I visited this place with – no, there’s nothing suggestive about that), however in a much shorter time you actually made an effort to prove yourself. Most people take, expect, copy, backstab, denounce and degrade; ingrates. Strange how waiting worked out and the timing of your turning up. Hmm.

As some have called me the Princess in the Pyramid/Mountain like Princess Kitana in the film version of the video game ‘Mortal Kombat’ (1995) (and remember The Bella Twins from the WWE were compared to Kitana and her twin in the ‘WWE Immortals’ video game – ‘Bell’ being an announcer of the coming/bringing/change like Kitana is in the first film, though she is more of a chooser and interestingly her name is like a weapon). As the Daughter figure everybody wants her favour or at least make it seem they have her favour to validate their position. I’ll just say from that of point of view I come from that which/who made nature possible; so every breath you take, every drop of water, the land you walk on belongs to my/the Mother (and my position isn’t hereditary by default or manipulation). So if you want to associate me with the sacred triangle which yes like all those geometrical symbols misused in religion are from root goddess cultures, then I’m above the damned mountain, not in it or beneath it. Playing with the divine is absolute treachery. We’re infinitely above your ranks. Know your place.

That didn’t sound nice? Well drop the fake titles, statuses and classes/jobs, they mean nothing in the race of the strongest, and yet no matter how strong when it comes up to it the original is the original, there’s nothing worth anything after that, it’s all downhill. It’s not about saving creation/the children anymore, it’s about supporting the creator/parent/source. Like someone recently said to me “I don’t hate what you are, I hate what you’ve done”, before he bowed (that does not happen often at all). Why? It was because I don’t agree with suffering, testing, ‘experience’ to appreciate life, harmony and peace. I don’t see Earth as a classroom, hospital, prison or pleasure planet but it’s been turned into those. I also don’t agree with the notion of people ‘choosing to ‘come here and suffer’, if some of us can choose to ‘manifest’ that doesn’t make everything creatures go through here ok, it doesn’t mean there isn’t evil, that there’s no such thing as a rapist or rape victim for example. We don’t choose these things to ‘grow’, they are done to us and often we do or are at least partially responsible for them happening to others, we go from one to the other or are both simultaneously. ‘Grow’ to what/where? To ‘light bodies’? The vast majority of space is dark, so many of us would be dark too unless carrying or reflecting a light and possibly heat source, knowledge does not make your body brighter, having more knowledge doesn’t mean your energy will clear or increase hence making you glow. There are many clever beings on this planet, the extremely clever don’t have halos (not using the term interchangeably with ‘auras’ here) nor are all good for being ‘enlightened’. It takes more than knowledge to even think about being ‘crystalline’, ‘crystal like’ i.e. whilst not crystal still more visible/stand out in comparison to others. ‘Light’ and ‘dark’ doesn’t equate to ‘good’ and ‘evil’. Good vs evil is about our thoughts, feelings and actions not what we look like/are made of. The most colourful being or item can look Black from a distance. How many people do you know or have heard of consider themselves evil – even the worst criminals in history?

We’re mostly born ignorant (‘amnesiac’ to those who believe in forms of return or reincarnation), take much longer to develop in comparison to other animals, distracted, disorientated, confused, manipulated, coerced, our senses blunted/blocked and we sell each other out easily without even noticing much of the time. You don’t have to give approval for others to try and control your life, remember silence meant and still means consent to some and talking isn’t exactly recommended either. We can’t even trust our instincts because they’re easily tricked/difficult to understand/fear based, especially when not [anywhere] as aware as those who’d prefer to have you be ignorant. Can you be sure the inner or outer voice you ‘hear’ internally or externally and perhaps not even through your ears is yours, not scripted, or even ‘other realm’ rather than technological?

Don’t try to be what you’re not e.g. celebrities taking on personas, people naming others after the idols of culture; don’t try to be, use or take from real and original ‘characters’. All that does is put you in the damned way. For those who liked or are holding onto the old teacher/student analogy – too many forgot that we were all both a teacher and student, a sacred bond; the student should respect and be grateful for the teacher and the teacher should hold the student beloved and protected. Look at the state of schools and see how they’re a micro example of the macro society. More people are waking up? There’s also a consistently increasing worldwide population. Do you think more ‘awoken’ will ‘save’ or ensure an outcome more desirable to you than those who haven’t? Does being awake mean being more aware – how alert are you when you wake up? How much cleansing, nourishment, relief and exercise do you need to feel ‘ready’, and how far do you have to commute? Whilst alive it’s up to every being to try and be the best/most ethical we can be in the time we have. That’s it. If you invoke ‘others’ as whole cultures seem to want via ‘normal’ signs, symbols, practices can you complain when it’s time to pay up? It’s time the seemingly never ending story actually ended, perpetuate it and we ultimately hurt ourselves.

On a sidenote – I’ve never thought twice about wearing White/Cream/Beige etc to theme parks, manual work, nature sites and the like. Someone poked fun and it made me realize it must look silly but I guess safari style suits me. I touched lots of things, sat down etc but I don’t tend to get dirty who knows maybe it’s because I’ve never viewed soil et al as ‘dirt’ and it saddens me that people call it that. Even when doing work experience on a farm cleaning out animal pens, wheeling the muck and traveling sh*t deep to the slurry heap I’d return with only a few, light marks whereas other people fell in (face first sometimes) and generally looked like mud creatures. This particular White outfit I wore years earlier on a dig and it survived. I don’t throw away clothes unless they can no longer be used even as cleaning rags. Now I’ve said that though the next time I go out…

Rock City – We Built this city on Rock and Roll

I visited the place ages ago but then someone reminded me of Chattanooga and I thought “it’s not the kinda place that [usually] changes much or quickly”… Ok landscapes do move a lot just look at the Greenwich Observatory Meridian Line it’s not on the Prime Meridian so they rely on a laser and then the roll of the African continent… However I like to think I move faster than mountains. A quick check to see that the place hadn’t tumbled down revealed that there’s been few changes i.e. some random pieces of modern art added (weirdly out of place), a bird show and some mobility access.

LOOKOUT MOUNTAIN

There’s a place with a very cool name – Chattanooga – in Tennessee US, one of the largest cities in that state and now a Tree City meaning that it has a forestry program and meets the Abhor Day Foundation ordinance for tree planting and care. Chattanooga is an indigenous name from one of the South Eastern languages there meaning ‘rock’ and ‘place/residence’. It wasn’t always a seemingly peaceful place and as much is the story there as anywhere the land has seen much conquering, prejudice and bloodshed e.g. Chattanooga was an internment/detention area where Cherokees were kept before being forced on the ‘Trail of Tears’ to Oklahoma. Later on the city became riddled with pollution and further social discontent so there’s been massive investment to make the place more likable.

Lookout Mountain (in Georgia but you cross the state line to get to Rock City) is very close to downtown Chattanooga and so makes a great adventure for part for part of your day if in the area. It and a neighbour the Sand Mountain make up the southernmost part of the Cumberland Plateau and in a way reminds me of the Alps in that it borders so many states/countries; in this case Georgia, Tennessee and Alabama. Lookout Mountain also hosts/boasts the ‘See Seven States’ point, where apparently you can see seven states at once (which I couldn’t quite figure out whilst standing there) but you’re in 1) Georgia, 2) you’re close to Tennessee on your left, 3) Alabama is on your right, and then it’s the in between that I couldn’t quite envision but apparently they include: Kentucky, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina. At 2300ft above sea level you can see a lot in general on a clear day though Kentucky and Virginia are a long stretch not to mention horizon curve away…

Rock City Chattanooga Lookout Mountain See Seven States Sign Review

For those who’ve been to the South East and Mid West US you may have seen barns from rural roads with large painted ‘See Rock City’ signs on them, back when the attraction was established in 1932 such advertising (1935-1969) fuelled word of mouth stories and many of the barns are still around today.

Access restrictions – children, prams, mobility, pets

Before we continue I’ll just clarify that Lookout Mountain hosts three major attractions; Ruby Falls, Rock City and the Incline Railway. This review is only about Rock City but ticket packages are available for all three; Ruby Falls Cave features a 145ft underground waterfall in the US’ deepest commercial cave with guided tour and is child friendly though not pram friendly. The Incline Railway is apparently the world’s steepest railway and you can visit the machine room to see the gears work, it’s child friendly with fold up prams but mobility chair users will need to be able to step onto/off the train. Rock City is self-guided, not really for young children who walk themselves though babies/toddlers can be carried as prams are not allowed, mobility users can access a mobility friendly trail that is approx ½ mile whereas the main trail is almost 1 mile (but feels like more). It is also pet friendly for pets on leads (I wonder if they’d let me take a cat or parrots on harnesses with a carrier as well…) Unless you like to wonder about and look at all the details the recommended time for seeing Rock City is upto 2 hours (but that doesn’t include eating in the cafe).

A quick history of Rock City

The story goes that non-natives discovered Lookout Mountain in 1823, a couple of missionaries found a ‘citadel of rocks’ that had lanes within amazing formations and sometimes bizarrely placed and balanced boulders. Akin the history of Silver Dollar City (Missouri) Rock City was already known to locals but only much later (1924) that the would-be ‘owners’ Garnet (another red gem which I appreciate being a Capricorn and close to ruby) and Frieda Carter decided to build a community on top of the mountain called Fairyland (700 acres) which included Rock City. As is the American Way it seems that with progress (business) comes… Golf courses. However as non-appreciator of golf courses but lover of mini-golf thankfully the undertaking was too grandiose and difficult so they settled on what became the US’ first mini-golf course, which he then franchised to the rest of the country.

Frieda on the other hand had set out to make the ultimate rock garden (like it wasn’t there already) but she intended to make it accessible and more like an eccentric British garden with gnomes and more flowers (although it would probably be unpatriotic for a US person to say that). It’s her superimposed vision on the landscape that holds the public’s thrall today though there is a Tom Thumb mini-golf course.

THE WALK

Picturesque and fairytale-esque you begin on winding walkways, shaded by forest, under bridges that a troll could easily be sat atop (I have a photo with me atop one *ahem* or maybe I’m a gruff goat), alongside trickling water, climb and go down stairs, pass beautiful flowers and then a deer park. Bear in mind all of the architecture is made of stone so the Fallow deer come out of stone archways into their little area, I can’t remember how happy the deer seemed but they and the public don’t interact at least. Next comes the 180ft long suspension bridge, just the kind of thing I enjoy (when they’re safe), there is an alternative route but I didn’t explore it. The views from here on out are over the mountain and simply spectacular. I tend to have trouble breathing in polluted areas so I appreciated being able to breathe deeply.

Lover’s Leap

After crossing the bridge of faith (as I’ve just decided to call it) you come to Lover’s Leap where you can commit suicide. Scratch that, where you can think about the sad fates of those who felt compelled to do so, a beautiful peak but also a platitude in that it’s such a popular area replete with waterfall, viewing overhang and where the path double backs – an inner lookout area which for a reason that has escaped my memory had red filters over the windows. It didn’t add anything to the view in my opinion. After you breathe a romantic wish or heave a heavy sigh of past events (and hope you don’t fall Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon style) you make you way to the Flag Court where you can practise your superhuman eyesight and see 7 states. It is a breathtaking view – and windy!

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review Caves Waterfall

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review Caves Waterfall

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

Fairyland Caverns

This won’t be to everyone’s taste but it certainly adds a sense of whimsy and the setting is a sparkling, mineral cave which is worth seeing itself. That said my mother and I have conflicted a few times about garden gnomes and how if we ever have a garden I’m a) not allowed to have any or b) they will have to be in a restricted area that she doesn’t have to look at. It’s not like I plan to have 200+ delivered à la One Foot in the Grave but let’s just say this place has enough of them to appease a gnome fetishist if there is such a thing. This leads to a shed with a big fairytale/nursery rhyme scene called Mother Goose’s Village, it’s a bit psychedelic in there, I didn’t think they needed to be fluorescent, although its dark in there, but they were interesting.

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

That’s the roundtrip back to the entrance done. To me the best parts were being able to weave in and out of the huge rocks, climb on and in some of them and sit on ridges (there are also benches for people who prefer ‘proper’ chairs).

Rock City Chattanooga Tennessee Lookout Mountain Georgia Review

Nowadays there’s a wild bird show and as usual for theme parks and zoos the focus is on birds of prey – the show is inclusive of the ticket price. I’m not sure if its connected but October being breast cancer awareness month there is pink-washed birdhouse paraphernalia available to buy (a portion of which goes to related charities – it wouldn’t sit right with me supporting some species and testing on others but most people are ok with it.)

PRACTICALITIES

Call me old fashioned, ok call me prehistoric I don’t mind being called a cave woman; Rock City was one of my favourite attractions that I’ve visited, I felt so comfortable there and can still ‘feel’ the atmosphere of the place (unlike Stonehenge and Notre Dame) and I felt lighter/less burdened. That said you can’t really feel at one with nature and forget that it’s a tourist attraction given they have a Starbucks…

What to Wear

It’s a high up place to say the least with lot’s of winding paths, stairs, a ‘rope’ bridge, foliage and water – some of the cave areas (different to the Ruby Falls Cave) are wet, there’s a waterfall and springs so sturdy walking shoes/hiking boots/trainers are necessary, no open toes or regular ‘flats’. A hat with brim that won’t fly away is a good idea and for those with sensitive skin something to prevent getting burnt. There are many narrow passageways and sometimes low overheads – so whereas quite a few people around me were moving slowly I skipped along through (yes I literally skipped at times) but if you’re big and/or tall you’ll need to be more careful or have a petite person call out what’s coming next.

Eateries

Starbucks – outside the main entrance.
Big Rock Grill – inside the main entrance, serves fast food.
Fudge Kitchen – across from Big Rock Grill inside the park, whaddaya know serves fudge and sweets.
Cafe 7 – a terrace, à la carte restaurant near Lover’s Leap, serves stodgy dishes and fast food – some veggie options heavy on cheese.
Cliff Terrace – also at Lover’s Leap, serves pizza and snacks.
Dippin Dots – seasonally available so I’m guessing Summer, serves ice cream.
Push carts and vending machines are available throughout.

Basically theme park foodstuffs, if you want healthy bring a packed lunch or wait ‘til later. I don’t usually eat at theme parks or technically Rock City owners prefer the place be called ‘gardens’ but if I did want to eat there I’d find it a letdown and I don’t just mean that as a vegan. On their website it states they have a holistic approach to the environment and local community, I would have liked to have seen more of the multi-cultural element in the cuisine as it focuses on heavy Southern comfort food, maybe some open air cooking and sampling. Plus in keeping with the garden theme maybe some more picnic style options, even a wilderness edible garden (not to eat the garden, just to see edible plants that grow there!)

Shopping

Ok so this wasn’t one of the places where I got a t-shirt but still…

Cornerstone Station – outside the main entrance, sells birdhouses and Rock City merchandise.
Woodland Wonders – inside the main entrance, sells garden items.
Kodak – along the trail, get your pricier photos sorted.
Cliff Terrace – near Lover’s Leap, sells merchandise.
Prospector’s Point – near the Fairyland Caverns, offers gemstone panning, face painting & other treats.
Gardens Gateway Gift Shop – at the end of the trail, more souvenirs and merchandise.

Also available from April-Oct is a 25ft climbing wall.

Opening Times and Admissions

Open all year round but the open times vary per season. http://www.seerockcity.com/plan-your-visit/

Adult tickets: $19.95 Annual pass: $39
Children (3-12): $11.95 Annual pass: $23
Parking is free.

The prices of the annual passes are discounted the more you buy plus offer other discounts on food and…

Special Events

The location is well suited to special events especially themed festivals.

Weddings take place at Lover’s Leap (though I wouldn’t exactly call that a good omen). Suitable for small groups where the couple and party don’t mind being gawked at by spectators as they walk past on the trail and each person pays admission. Funnily enough given that the length of the trail is 4100ft, there is a special events manor house nearby on the mountain available for special events called Grandview at 4100 sq ft.

CONCLUSION

Unfortunately I didn’t experience a rock face coming alive and moving like in The Never Ending Story (film version 1984) but I did really enjoy myself, you feel like you’re part of the sky there, I’d say it’s something nature lovers and people who like visiting gardens and unique landscapes would like if they can ignore the ‘buy me’ shops/eateries all over on such a short trail. Those are countered however with the quirky camera ready spots and names like Eagle’s Nest, Mushroom Rock and Goblins Underpass. On the other hand it’s a great way to spend a morning or afternoon for the casual visitor and I can understand the merchandising since this isn’t one of the busier US attractions serving approx 500,000 visitors annually. It was quite busy when I went but that didn’t impact my visit at all.

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