Member Trip Report

Country: United States
Trip Date: 04/17/1999
Duration: 2 days
Trail Conditions: Excellent
Trail Traffic: Moderate
Trip Weather: Sunny, Partly Sunny
Trip Winds: Light
Trip Precipitation: None
Trip Temperature: High: 71-80, Low: 31-40 degrees fahrenheit
Trip Report: 4/17/99 (Saturday) – The BoA group met at my apartment complex this morning and we loaded up two large vans and headed to Caesars Head State Park by 9am. Made a quick stop for breakfast off I-85, then drove to the Caesars Head visitors center to pick up our permits. A large Boy Scout troop had already claimed the group spot for the evening, so we decided to hike beyond the park boundary and camp at Gum Gap which is out of the State Park jurisdiction. The park charges a fee and no longer allows campfires, but these rules did not apply to us at Gum Gap. The BoA group loaded their packs at the Raven Cliff Falls parking area and we hit the trail around 1pm. Our plan was to do a loop hike over the Matthews Creek cable crossing then climb up and across the Raven Cliff Falls suspension bridge. The group opted for this counterclockwise route and chose to knock out the five mile section today rather than tomorrow. Things went smoothly for the first few miles and for the descent to Matthews Creek. We took a break near the Raven Cliff Falls platform, then spent some time taking pictures as the BoA group crossed the cables over Matthews Creek. The climb out of the ravine was another story, however. Both Barbara and Nicole had a tough time with the ascent to the suspension bridge. Jeff and I ended up taking most of the weight from their packs and eventually took Nicole’s entire pack up the steep ravine. The rest of the BoA group made the climb without assistance and waited at the suspension bridge for us to catch up. We finally made it to Gum Gap and our camping area around 6-6:30pm this evening. It started to cool off quickly at dusk and it was sweatshirt/coat weather by dark. Mike and Bill’s brew stash was a fireside hit with the BoA group as was Viviana’s booze. It took Jeff and I two hours to cook all the food while the BoA group enjoyed their cocktails. After dinner, we were swapping stories by the campfire when a stray dog dubbed “Billy” snuck up on one of the girls and gave her the scare of her life when he put his head on her shoulder. The dog was thin and very hungry, but friendly. There were some cuts on his legs, and Elizabeth and some of the other girls bandaged him up after he ate some of our leftovers. We made him a bed for the night, although it was below freezing this evening.

4/18/99 (Sunday) – “Billy” was still lying around the campfire when we woke this morning, and after a breakfast of eggs, sausage and oatmeal we hiked out with him following slowly behind us. The dog’s gentle nature made it clear that he was someone’s lost pet, and we turned him into the park ranger when we arrived back at the visitor’s center. We hiked the last three miles back to the trailhead by mid-morning, and made it back to Atlanta by mid-afternoon. The ranger eventually found Billy’s owner, although it took a few days since the phone number on his collar had not been updated. It was estimated that the dog had been wandering for about three days before we found him.
Trip Rating: 4 stars
Hiker:

1300 points


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