Chattahoochee National Forest - Rabun Bald - November 16, 2001 - Member Trip Report

Hike Name: Chattahoochee National Forest - Rabun Bald
Country: United States
State: Georgia
Trip Rating: 5 stars
Trip Date: November 16, 2001
Duration: 2 days
Trail Conditions: Good
Trail Traffic: Light
Trip Weather: Sunny
Trip Winds: Light
Trip Precipitation: None
Trip Temperature: High: 61-70, Low: 31-40 degrees Fahrenheit
Trip Report: 11/16/01: Left work around 3:15pm to meet The Helmet and Doughgirl at the Hampton Inn at the Mall of GA (where we left their car). Candy A also decided to come on the trip and went by my house to get some gear on the way to meet us. He got caught in some wicked traffic on I-285 though and was an hour behind us. To kill some time, we stopped at Wildwood Outfitters on US 441 south of Clayton. They closed at 6pm, but the store clerk - a young groover listening to some classic Allman Brothers - let me clear the door to buy a new Thermarest and a battery for my head lamp. The old full length Thermarest just suffered it's fifth and fatal hole at Wesser Bald, and after nine years of service (and many repairs) is scheduled for retirement.

Left the outfitter and cruised into Clayton where we loaded up on some brews and a few stogies (courtesy of the local Quickie Mart). Then we headed to the trailhead at Kelsey Mountain Road. Found it without any trouble (despite it being pitch black and four years since my last visit.) The 4x4 road was 1.1 miles to Rabun Gap and it was rugged and very rocky. Made the trip three times tonight: First, to drop off The Helmet and Doughgirl, then to find and return with Candy A (and his beast, Buddy).

The cell phones were not functioning in the area, but Candy A drove up to the payphone at Mud Creek Road and GA 246 right as I finished a call to him. Headed back to the trailhead (surprised that the rendezvous worked so well) and parked Candy A's Explorer for the night. Then we cranked some jams, cracked a cold one, and headed back up the bumpy 4x4 road to Rabun Gap. The ride was much better the second time since we knew what to expect.

Hiked to Rabun Bald with Candy A and Buddy. On the hike up, each of us carried some store-bought timber for the fire. (Since we arrived so late, there’d be no opportunity to scavange for wood.) Tried to reach The Helmet on the walkie-talkie, but was not successful due to some depleted batteries on his side. It took about 25 minutes to make it to the site and we arrived at 9:45 PM – about an hour behind The Helmet and Doughgirl. Fortunately, the fire was already kickin’ and some neighboring campers had given us some of their extra wood. We chowed down on some chili mac for dinner and did our best to keep the dogs quiet. The sky was clear, but we only saw a few shooting stars. The Leonid Meteor shower is due to be in full swing tomorrow night, but we were hoping for a sneak preview this evening.

11/17/01: Hit the sack at 2:30am last night and never woke up until I heard The Helmet and Doughgirl roaming around at 8:30am. I haven't slept that well in the wilderness in a long time.

Candy A and I cooked up some eggs and sausage, and the groove factor was high. The views were solid, but there was a definitive haze on the horizon from the forest fires burning near Dahlonega.

Had a leisurely morning around the campsite, then took some photos, packed up, and hit the trail around 11:00am. Passed a ton of day hikers on the way down the mountain today. Some of them took a group photo of us at Rabun Gap.

The Helmet, Doughgirl, and Candy A all decided to walk the 1.1 miles down the 4x4 road. Passed a Jeep on the way down the road and they were loaded with gear and obviously headed for our campsite tonight.

On the way home, we stopped at the Junction Cafe where I used the payphone last night. It was run by some Australians, but is only open for lunch on Saturday during the weekend. Had a burger and some fries, then hit the road for Atlanta. Made it back in town by 2pm.


Candy A

600 points



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