If my readers recall, I did a post about Volcanoes in Georgia, specifically Pigeon Mountain. After a number of comments from geologists, I learned it wasn’t a volcano. However, I still wanted to visit the mountain and see things for myself. Although I didn’t doubt the experts, it’s always good to verify information. Nothing beats learning new things!
Imagine my surprise when I received a comment from Tennessee Heartwood telling me they planned an excursion with a geologist to visit Pigeon Mountain. First, let me tell you about Tennessee Heartwood. It’s a 501c3 organization dedicated to the preservation of Tennessee’s public lands heritage. Their efforts include the Cherokee National Forest and Land Between the Lakes NRA. The Cherokee National Forest is a huge forest tract in Tennessee. it joins other national forests in Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia (the Chattahoochee National Forest).
Anyway, I jumped at the chance to see the mountain and talked my brother into going.. We got up early and hit the road since it’s about a two and a half hour drive to get there from our part of Georgia. We had a great time riding through the mountains and seeing the dawn break. Beautiful drive! I can truthfully say there are some wide open spaces between Gainesville, GA and the Pigeon Mountain Grill just outside of Lafayette, GA! If you get the chance, take a ride through the area.
Pigeon Mountain Area:
We joined the rest of the group and discovered we couldn’t actually go on the mountain since we didn’t have either a hunting or fishing license. Pigeon Mountain is a Georgia Wildlife Management Area (WMA) and you can’t visit it without one of the licenses. Nonetheless, we went all around the mountain and thoroughly enjoyed our discussions with our geologist tour guide Jay. Jay grew up around Pigeon Mountain and provided a wealth of knowledge about the different geologic periods. In addition, he explained in simple terms and how the mountain formed. And yes, he confirmed that Pigeon Mountain isn’t volcanic.
Pigeon Mountain is part of the Cumberland Plateau and there is a ton of limestone up there. Limestone erosion caused the deep pits (like Ellison’s Cave and Petty John’s Cave) in the mountain. If you’re familiar with sinkholes in Florida, it’s a similar process. All told, Jay gave us an entertaining and educational day. We found fossils, learned about chert (which can be fashioned into tools), sandstone, and limestone. We also saw first hand evidence of the different geologic periods present in the area.
Although I confirmed first hand that Pigeon Mountain wasn’t volcanic, I was still disappointed. In addition, I discovered there aren’t any gemstones native to the area. Bigger disappointment! Fun place to visit, but I’ll stick to my Northeast Georgia Mountains and hunt gemstones and prospect for gold!
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