All posts by twfchk

Cheaha State Park: Alabama’s Tallest Point

The overlook at Bald Rock on Cheaha Mountain at Cheaha State Park.

Cheaha State Park features 2,799 acres of beautiful mountain scenery at the highest point in Alabama.

The park is located at Cheaha Mountain, which rises 2,407 feet above sea level. Amenities include a hotel/lodge, cabins, chalets, campgrounds, picnic areas, restaurant, hiking trails, overlooks, museum, boardwalks and more.

Two Egg TV’s Rachael Conrad takes you to the top of the mountain for a quick visit to this outstanding Alabama state park:

Cheaha State Park is open seven days per week from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m.  Admission is $5 per person per day for visitors age 12 and up, $2 per person per day for kids ages 6-11 and free for children 5 and under.

Please click here to visit the park’s official website for more information.

Cheaha State Park
19644 Hwy 281

DeltaAL 36258

Catch Gold Fever in Dahlonega, Georgia

The historic old Lumpkin County Courthouse is now home to a museum that interprets the history of gold mining in Georgia.

Dahlonega is a quaint and historic city in the edge of the North Georgia mountains. It was here that an assayer first proclaimed that “Thar’s gold in them thar hills!”

The beautiful mountain country around Dahlonega was the scene of America’s first gold rush! Click play to learn more about the city in this report from Two Egg TV’s Rachael Conrad:

To learn more about Dahlonega, be sure to visit their official tourism site at You will information on things to do, places to stay, restaurants and much more!

The Monster Lizard of Shangri-La Cave

The mouth of Shangri-La Cave near Marianna, Florida.

One of my favorite old legends about Jackson County is the story of the Monster Lizard of Shangri-La Cave.

Early white settlers learned the story from the Lower Creek Indians who still lived in the county after the transfer of Florida from Spain to the United States in 1821. It tells of a monstrous lizard that guarded Shangri-La Caves at today’s Blue Springs Recreational Area near Marianna.

Econchattimico’s town on the Chattahoochee River as drawn by Francis, comte de Castelnau, in 1838.

The source for the legend was Econchattimico (Red Ground King). He was the leader of Eckanachatte (Red Ground), a Lower Creek village at today’s Neals Landing Park, prior to the First Seminole War. The town was destroyed in 1818, however, and its residents moved down the Chattahoochee River to rebuild.

Their new town, Tocktoethla (River Junction), stood on the river near today’s Arnold Landing north of Sneads. The site is now inundated by Lake Seminole, a 37,500 acre reservoir that forms much of Jackson County’s eastern border.

Shangri-La Spring in Jackson County near Marianna, Florida.

The town’s chief attracted considerable interest and was often visited by those curious about Native American culture and history. One of these preserved his story of the Monster Lizard:

…A hunter of the old days would seek deer at the Big Spring. He camped there many times and the water and the game were good. On this day he went down from the Big Spring to the rocky place and it was there that he heard the sound of the monster lizard. (1)

Looking down into Shangri-La Spring through crystal clear water.

The Big Spring, of course, was today’s Blue Springs (or Jackson Blue Spring as the state prefers to call it). The “rocky place” was the face of the limestone bluff at Shangri-La Spring, which is on the north bank of Merritt’s Mill Pond just downstream from Blue Springs.

The old chief continued his story:

Shangri-La Spring as seen from the limestone bluff. The legendary attack of the Monster Lizard took place here.

…It sounded like a tired dog. The hunter took shelter behind a rock so he could see the cave in which the monster lizard made his home. It slowly came out into the light. It was large. Larger than the largest alligator. Its teeth were like my knife. (2)

The Monster Lizard looked around, searching for the Native American hunter who had dared to disturb its lair. Its tongue flickered in and out:

Deep inside Shangri-La Cave. Econchattimico said that this was the lair of the Lizard Monster.

…The hunter was a brave warrior. Now he shook like dry leaves in the wind. He lay flat on the dirt, hoping he would not be seen. The Monster Lizard found him and picked him up in his mouth to take him back into the cave. The hunter knew he would be eaten but suddenly there was a sound. The Monster Lizard threw him down and went to find what had made the sound. It was a tiger. The hunter did not know what to do so he lay still as if he was dead. (3)

The word “tiger” was often used in historic times to refer to a panther. These beautiful big cats were once common in all parts of Florida:

The mouth of Shangri-La Cave as seen from the interior. The Lizard Monster entered here after being badly injured in its battle with the panther.

…The tiger battled the Monster Lizard. It was a big fight. The Monster Lizard tried to grab the tiger but the tiger slashed him with his claws. The Monster Lizard was badly hurt and finally gave up the fight and went into his cave. The hunter now was afraid that the tiger would eat him. He lay still and pretended to be dead. He then heard words, “Are you dead?” He opened his eyes and saw that the tiger had spoken to him. The hunter said, “no.” The tiger then said to him, “Get on my back then and I will carry you to your camp.” And he did. (4)

The story as told by Econchattimico was a version of an old legend told by the Creeks. There are different variations but all involve a hunter being attacked by a monstrous lizard and then being saved by a panther.

The legend was commonly told around fires in Creek towns and migrated with them to what is now Oklahoma when they were forced west on the Trail of Tears. Versions of it still survive there to this day.

The cave at Shangri-La is not open to the public at this time.

Dale Cox
September 14, 2017


(1)  “A Tale of Conchatimico,” May 21, 1838, Carswell Collection.
(2)  Ibid.
(3)  Ibid.
(4)  Ibid.

Rosedown Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana

Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site is located in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

Rosedown Plantation is a beautiful state historic site in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

Once a working cotton plantation that encompassed around 3,455 acres, the farm is best remembered today for its remarkable antebellum mansion and beautiful gardens.

The home was built in 1834-1835 and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2005. It and the gardens were beautifully restored and now form the centerpiece of Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site.

The park is open to the public daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Day). Guided tours begin on the hour with the day’s last tour starting at 4 p.m.

Admission is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (62+) and $6 for students (4-17). Kids under 3 and under are admitted for free.

Rosedown Plantation State Historic Site
12501 Highway 10
St. Francisville, Louisiana 70775
1-888-376-1867 or 1-225-635-3332.
Visit the official website for more information.