Wedding Anniversary at Cloudland Canyon

Published: 03/20/16 11:34 AM in Merevin Wedding, North America, State, Travel.
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I can hardly believe it has already been a year since Kevin and I exchanged vows and then partied the night away at our wedding in New Orleans. It somehow simultaneously feels like it all happened just yesterday and that it has already been years since. This feeling most likely stems from a combination of the fact that we have been together for many years prior to getting married and the amount of change that has occurred in the course of this past year.

During our first year of marriage we enjoyed an amazing 2-week honeymoon in England and Scotland, said goodbye to Miami as we moved to Atlanta, had the chance to visit 2 more US National Parks (Great Smoky Mountain NP and Shenandoah NP), and spent our weekends exploring different nooks in the Georgia outdoors. It has been an exciting first year of marriage that we couldn’t wait to celebrate with another foray into the beauty of Georgia!

So in the spirit of adventure we decided to spend our anniversary weekend hiking and camping at Cloudland Canyon, while in the spirit of comfort, we decided to do so in a Yurt where we would be protected from the winter chill.

Kevin Banogon and Meredith Lambert Banogon camp in a Yurt at Cloudland Canyon in Lookout Mountain, Georgia for their anniversary.

The loft bed and skylight inside the Yurts at Cloudland Canyon in Georgia.

A coat rack inside of the Yurts at Cloudland Canyon where Meredith Lambert Banogon and Kevin Banogon celebrated their one year anniversary.

The back door and windows inside a yurt at a local state park in Georgia.

Kevin Banogon and Meredith Lambert Banogon make this yurt their home for the weekend in Georgia.

Meredith Lambert Banogon and Kevin Banogon get ready for a day of hiking through Cloudland Canyon on their anniversary.


Camping in a Yurt at Cloudland Canyon

Having your wedding in December adds a little difficulty to the idea of having an outdoor anniversary. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way! And when nearby state parks have excellent facilities with plenty of options, you can find accommodations that work with the weather. For Kevin and I’s first wedding anniversary we experienced the fun of camping in a Yurt for the first time. We got lucky that there was one even available for our anniversary weekend since these facilities at Cloudland Canyon are very popular and are almost constantly booked. The weather was definitely a helpful factor.

The Yurt itself was extremely cozy and made for a wonderful home for the weekend. Inside there was a large loft bed with a futon underneath, another futon to serve as a bed or sofa, a table that seats four, lighting, a space heater, and an adorable coat rack. Other than pillows and sheets, which you provide yourself, the Yurt has everything you need to set up a welcoming little home in the woods. Although it was only the two of us in our Yurt, the space easily accommodates up to six people and there were quite a few families around enjoying that fact.


Kevin Banogon stands in front of one of the smaller waterfalls throughout Cloudland Canyon in Georgia.

Meredith Lambert Banogon breaks in her new Danner boats during her anniversary trip to Cloudland Canyon.

Hemlock Falls is the second waterfall encountered on the Waterfall trail at Cloudland Canyon.

Along the Sitton Gulch Trail into Cloudland Canyon there are plenty of beautiful waterfalls to be seen.

Kevin Banogon and Meredith Banogon pose in front of Cherokee Falls while hiking at Cloudland Canyon.


Hiking along Sitton Gulch Trail

The novelty of the staying in a Yurt was already enough to get us both excited for the trip to the outdoors of Northern Georgia, but when you add the beauty of Cloudland Canyon to the equation, you have all the makings of an adventurous weekend away. The state park has 30 miles of hiking trails that lead you around the canyon’s rim and all the way down to the canyon floor meaning there are plenty of options for any level of hiker.

We decided to traverse the entirety of the Sitton Gulch Trail, a 6-mile hike that drops from the canyon’s rim and leads you through the beauty of the canyon’s floor. Along this trail you pass by the towering waterfalls, Cherokee Falls and Hemlock Falls, as you follow the path of the water making its way through the canyon. This trail can be difficult because of the elevation gained as you make the full 6-mile loop, but if you take your time and stop to take in the beauty it is well worth the journey.

The best part about the journey is the appetite we worked up upon getting back to our Yurt. Kevin set up his BioLite Stove and his new grill attachment (his anniversary gift) to cook us up some pork skewers.


Meredith Lambert Banogon hikes along Sitton Gulch Trail at Cloudland Canyon.

A Cloudland Canyon Yurt under a Georgia winter night while camping.

Cooking dinner on a BioLite Stove while camping for a one year wedding anniversary.

Kevin Banogon cooks pork skewers on his BioLite stove while yurt camping at Cloudland Canyon.

A couple enjoys pork skewers while yurt camping at Cloudland Canyon for their one year anniversary.

Meredith Lambert Banogon and Kevin Banogon celebrate their one year anniversary camping in a Yurt in north Georgia at Cloudland Canyon.

Kevin Banogon visits the lookout at Cloudland Canyon.

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