|Hike Name:||Appalachian Trail - Tray Mountain|
|Trip Date:||May 27, 2007|
|Trip Weather:||Sunny, Partly Sunny, Partly Cloudy|
|Trip Winds:||Light to Moderate|
|Trip Temperature:||High: 81-90, Low: 61-70 degrees Fahrenheit|
|Trip Report:||Sunday (5/27/07) – Finished packing this morning for Tray Mountain, and waited for Waterdog/Suzanne, Black Crowe, and the Weasel to show up. We left for the mountains by 10:30am with the Weasel leading the way up Forest Road 79 (Tray Mountain Road) near Helen, GA. It's slighly rutted and bumpy, but with all the dry weather passable in a sedan. We reached the trailhead by around 1pm just as a forest ranger was pulling over a pick-up truck loaded down with twentysomethings. The ranger confirmed that fires are banned in the backcountry due to the drought conditions, and we hit the trail within thirty minutes. It was a short but steep hike up Tray Mountain, and we quickly found the campsite that Brett (aka Logjammer) suggested a short distance from the summit.
Waterdog and Suzanne did a ten mile hike while the rest of us enjoyed the views to the east from a rock outcrop. The smoke from the wildfires in South Georgia started to clear out as the day progressed, and the skies began to clear out as a result. The Weasel and I knocked back a tall boy, then took Kevin with us to get some water at the shelter. Black Crowe sacked out in the grassy area of our campsite until we returned about thirty minutes later to set-up camp. Waterdog and Suzanne stopped by briefly, then hiked back to their truck to head to Atlanta. The rest of us spent the night making return trips to the rock outcrop, cooking dinner, making doughboys and enjoying some spirits and tunes by candlelight.
Monday (5/28/07) – Rebel woke me up at 4:20am this morning and was restless until sunrise which hit around 7am. Black Crowe checked it out from the rock outcrop, but the smoke from yesterday was still lingering and blurred the view. There is some inversion going on that is driving the smoke down from the upper atmosphere in the early morning, because the sky was crystal clear and the stars were out in force around 4am. Wildfires have been burning in South Georgia for over two weeks now.
Kevin wasn't feeling well this morning, and neither was I. Bad food/water? He and the Weasel beat us out of camp by 8am, and Black Crowe and I followed about about 30 minutes later. It was a much easier hike out with very little uphill this morning, and a cool walk downhill on the shaded northern slopes of Tray Mountain. Black Crowe and I drove down to a diner in Helen for breakfast, then drove home by 12 noon - the earliest I've ever made it back to Atlanta from a backpacking trip. The Weasel was headed for Jasper and had plans to make it there by 11.
I made the worst call of the month yesterday when I left the windows down on the drive up the forest road to Tray Mountain. It took over three hours to remove a 1/4" layer of dust from inside the truck this afternoon.
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