Click to enlarge     

     Pass not by, Stranger! Stop! Silently
     bare your head, drop a stone upon
     her grave, and make a wish straight
     from her heart. The Spirit of Eternal
     Youth and Happiness hovers near to
     grant the wishes of all who love the
     hills and valleys of her native home.

from The Song of Trahlyta

Each day cars whiz by a nondescript pile of stone north of Dahlonega, occasionally slowing to read the historic marker. The rocks are the grave of a Cherokee who loved the forest and called the mountains of North Georgia home. Trahlyta, according to legend, lived on a mountain near her grave. She was told to walk along a path, drink from the spring and wish never to grow old by the "Mountain Medicine Man" or the Witch of Cedar Mountain, depending on which legend you believe. "You will become more beautiful with each sip" the voice told her. She followed the path and drank from the spring. Word of her beauty quickly spread. Desoto the explorer reportedly sent soldiers to investigate her "Fountain of Youth" as witnessed by a Spanish conquistador helmet which was found not far from the spring.

The Cherokee warrior Wahsega, whom she rejected as a suitor, kidnapped her and took her west to his home. She begged and pleaded for her release, but Wahsega would not permit it. With each day her strength waned, her happiness gone, longing for her mountain forest. Crying tears of pure gold as she lay dying, Trahlyta asked to be buried in the mountain paradise from which she had come. "Strangers, as they pass by, may drop a stone on my grave and they too shall be young and happy, as I once was." she said, "What they wish for shall be theirs!."

The Legend grew, and soon all passersby, would pick up a nearby stone and add it to her grave for good luck. Today her grave is in Stonepile Gap, the spring still exists, and the mountain she lived on, Cedar Mountain, is just a stone's throw away.

Twice the Department of Highways has attempted to move the grave during road construction. Both times at least one person died in an accident while moving the pile. The stone grave remains today in the same place it has always been. Porter Springs, in the latter 1800's and early 1900's was site of a popular health spa to which people came from all across the planet to soak in and drink the water. The hotel burned to the ground in the early 1900's, but the series of springs are the foot of the mountain, and they still run sweet and clear.