Spanky Boy Scores Another Summit
Our first destination for this trip is Brasstown Bald, the top of Georgia. Brasstown is less than 100 miles from Atlanta. We figured that we’d spend the first night on the road somewhere in the Atlanta area. Not because it’s convenient, nope, because we have friends in Atlanta to freeload off of! Fortunately I got hold of one of my good pals from my consulting days, a dude named Matt Field, and me and the Spankster were able to crash at his pad. It was really nice to catch up (have not seen much of him in recent years), talk trash about nothing special, and pig out on Chinese food.
Which brings me to a very important benefit of this whole 50 summits extravaganza. Over the last few months since we started this nonsense, through trying to update my email addresses, phone numbers, etc I have managed to dig up a lot of old friends that I had lost touch with – pretty cool. Hopefully I’ll be able to introduce Spanks to most of these folks. Watch out, we may be in your neighborhood soon.
Did you ever wonder why Atlanta, one of the US’s biggest cities is there? I have (yep – I’m strange). Geographically, most major cities in the US where started as ports, on the ocean, on major rivers, or on the Great Lakes. So why Atlanta? The answer is railroads. Atlanta got it’s start as the “terminus” of the Western and Atlantic Railroad, which was built in the early 1800’s to provide a trade route to the Midwest. It became a key railroad hub during the Civil War and the rest, as the say, is history.
My buddy Matt had to get up at 4:30 am to catch a flight to DC. Spanky, being the consummate gentleman that he is, insisted that we should get up early, make some coffee, thank Matt for his hospitality, and wish him a safe and prosperous journey. Actually I couldn’t sleep – the excitement of an impending summit and all. Me and Spanks had a few coffees, did some route planning and off we headed for Brasstown.
Atlanta is a rush hour traffic nightmare. Luckily we were headed north east away from all that silliness. Spring in this part of Georgia is gorgeous! The leaves are coming out on all the trees, dogwoods and azaleas are blooming. The world is bright green and peppered in spectacular fashion with dogwood blooms. As you would guess, the farther from Atlanta we got, the more rural the setting. And………we start to encounter mountains! I’m such a dumbass, I really never realized that Georgia had mountains. The Appalachian Mountain Range extends into northeast Georgia – guess I just never bothered to pick up on that fact.
It didn’t take long and we were driving on twisty, narrow, deep in the woods, mountain roads. Did I mention that the weather sucked. As we started to gain elevation we got into clouds, drizzle, and mist. The cloud cover, however, was partially broken so patches of sunshine (sort of) broke through once in a while and we could actually enjoy the countryside. Up and down we went, probably averaging no better than 35 mph, occasionally hitting small valleys with quaint little farms and old houses. Finally we entered the Chattahoochee National Forest, home to Brasstown Bald – we were close.
Somewhere around 10 am we hit the access road to the mountain. There is a sign proclaiming “steep grade” and another saying “leave your trailer here” (not kidding). Signs are meant for other folks, not me and the Spankster. Mister smarty pants ended up doing about 15 – 20 mph, in second gear most of the way up. You think I’d learn – nope! We are obviously getting up high cause there is very little evidence of leaves on trees. Spring has not quite hit this high up.
In order to make the final summit approach we had to park the old truck and hike. It’s a pretty steep trail, .6 miles long, with a whole bunch of switchbacks. The trail is tunnel through a rhododendron forest. The rhodies are huge and the trees are small. Wind and weather conspire against the trees – they are gnarly and short. But the rock strewn, apparently reasonable moist conditions obviously provide a good home for the rhodies.
The top at last – Monday April 2, 2007! Brasstown Bald is 4,784 feet high. Not Everest but more than 2,000 feet higher than our previous record – Mount Magazine, Arkansas! It is named for the former Cherokee Village of Brasstown, GA. Supposedly on a clear day you can see Atlanta. Well…………this was no clear day. The summit, the observation tower, and the surrounding mountains were shrouded in clouds. We were able to take advantage of a few tiny breaks in the clouds to shoot some pics and to take in a rather awe inspiring view.
There were a few other crazies up there on this lousy morning. Spanky and I met a young couple from somewhere in Georgia (between Savannah and Augusta I think?) with two little girls who fell in love with Spanky. I told em all about what Spanks and I are up to and shamelessly handed them a business card promoting our website. Spanky vigorously wagged his tail to indicate his approval.
Wouldn’t you know, as we head back down the weather starts to break. Oh well, we nailed another one and that is what matters. We gingerly drove back down the access road (remember I’m towing the trailer that the sign told me not to tow), and headed off to look for our campground and home till Friday. A few weeks ago I found this place called Enota (after Enotah – the Native American name for the mountain) Campground on the net. It is only a few miles from Brasstown and we found it no problemo.
Enota Campground (I’ll write more extensively about it during the week) is a quite a find. Good fortune is definitely with us. The place is most excellonomous! It is tucked away in a thick forest, surrounded by mountains, with a burbling mountain brook running right through the middle of it. As a matter of fact, the brook/stream is right behind our trailer – I can hear it as I’m writing.
Spanky loves it here. He is quite a hit. Seems like half the kids in this place have already met him and know his name. There are a few really cool waterfalls within a short hike. Me and the Spankster hit one of em this afternoon. Spanky actually seemed to be mesmerized by the waterfall. He just sat at the pool at the bottom and stared at the cascading water. Yep, the little lad is a nature freak.
We’ll be doing South Carolina, Tennessee, and North Carolina during the rest of the week and update y'all when we can (I’ve got a wireless connection but it’s really lousy and fails most of the time). Thanks for tuning in.
Me and Spanks at the Top
A View From The Observation Deck
Another Mountain View
King of the Mountain
Our Home for the Week
The Stream Shimmering in the Sun
A Short Climb From the Campground - One of Many Waterfalls
Me and Spanks at the Waterfall
To view all our Brasstown Bald pics go to: http://picasaweb.google.com/rkrevald/BrasstownBald