Photograph by Trance Mist/Flickr
There’s a big hunk of granite along the Chattahoochee River, about twenty-five feet off the water, just downstream from Charlie’s Island where tubers and kayakers beach themselves for lunch. For years people—well, kids, mostly, though we’ve seen a few beer-bellied men flailing midair—have been leaping from the rock into the cool, shaded, slow river below. Diving Rock, it’s called, and that title doesn’t apply to the ledge seven feet lower. The water is about fifteen feet deep where you land, but no guarantee that you won’t touch bottom or bruise yourself. A few have died.
This cliff face between Powers Island and Paces Mill, created by the Brevard Fault, is known as the Devil’s Stairsteps. But it’s one of the most peaceful places in the city, so long as you aren’t there on a hundred-degree July afternoon, when you’ll find a few teens sipping courage and daring one another to jump: “Brendan, I’ll give you ten bucks and a beer!” That’s what we heard. (Brendan was fine, and now his friends respect him. No word on the ten bucks.) Many have jumped over the years, according to park rangers.
Just remember: Cannonballs from that height hurt.
This article originally appeared in our April 2013 issue.