Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bear Hair Gap Trail – Vogel State Park in Blairsville, Georgia

 

Blairsville, Georgia  (high 85, low 64)

Along with much of the rest of the country, we have had a bit of a heat wave.  We got some heavy rain last night with 1.5 inches falling.  Unfortunately, is didn’t bring a cold front with it.

The other day, we went to the Mountain Crossings outfitter which is in an old Civilian Conservation Corps building that was completed in 1937, which was the same year the Appalachian Trail was completed.  The AT actually passed right through a part of the building.

They serve some 2000 hikers each year on their journey to Maine. Anything you need for hiking can be found there, and it’s a fun place to visit.

My old Merrell hiking shoes had been hurting my toes when going downhill. My toes were  jamming into the front of the shoe.   I decided to go to Mountain Crossings where they had people that could help me get some properly fitting shoes.  They have an incline board so that you can simulate walking both up and down the mountain.  It’s a great way to make sure your feet aren't going to slide down and jam your toes into the front of the shoes.

My old shoes were an 8, which is 1 size larger than I normally wear, but they were still too short.  I wanted to make sure the new ones fit properly.

I tried on a few Merrell shoes and then the salesman brought me a Keen waterproof shoe.  It was so comfortable, and much more than the Merrells. I went back and forth between 8.5 and 9’s.  I have never worn anything that large, and they actually looked huge on my feet.   He said I would be better erring on the larger size than the smaller size, so I ended up with a size 9!

We also ended up buying some nice Merino Wool socks, and they really are nice.  I guess we’ll have to get another pair or two.

 

So, armed with new shoes and socks, the next morning, we decided to head over to nearby Vogel State Park, and hike the Bear Hair Gap Trail.

The Coosa Backcountry trail is 12 miles.  There are no shortages of hiking trails around here.

Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park, Georgia

None of the trails around here are flat.

IMG_0811

It’s listed as either a 3 mile or a 3.6 mile trail.  We figured out the actual trail is 3 miles, but there is a .6 mile connector that leads you to one of two trails, and that’s after you walk another half mile or so to the start of the trails.

We heard there is bear activity in the park with 2 mothers.  One with 2 cubs and one with three.

This was all we saw of any bear activity.

bear?

Most all the trails around here have streams and waterfalls.  Some more spectacular than others.

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There are plenty of rocks.  Little ones.

Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park, Georgia

Big ones

Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park, Georgia

This is a photo from a hike there last fall.

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Rocks with trees growing on top of them.

tree growing on top of large rock

Pretty rocks.

Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park, Georgia, interesting rock

shiny rocks

Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park, Georgia

This was the bridge where Nancy and Bill found the Buckeye tree.

They were nice enough to bring us a few, but our goal was to find a few on our own.  They are said to be lucky if you carry one in your pocket. 

Bear Hair Gap Trail at Vogel State Park, Blairsville, GA

Success….or was it luck, since Al had one in his pocket?

Buckeye

Buckeye

 

It was a nice hike, and we will go back when the leaves start to turn.  It isn’t a difficult hike, but like all hikes here in the mountains, there are no shortages of inclines!

 

p.s.  My new Keen hiking shoes were very comfy, with no toes jamming into the front of the shoe.

14 comments:

  1. Good fitting hiking shoes is very important when out hiking on trails that aren't level. Just enjoying the solitude with nature and getting your exercise in at the same time makes it all worthwhile.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

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  2. Glad you got some shoes that fit better. We love the merino wool socks- they really keep your feet nice and cool.

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  3. So were you satisfied with your new kicks?

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  4. Comfy hiking shoes are a must have when you're on the trail a lot. Glad you found some good ones. How did they work out on the trail?

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  5. I guess I forgot to review my new shoes. They turned out to be very comfortable, and it's a good thing because they certainly weren't cheap!

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  6. Sometimes cheap is not the way to go. I didn't see any bells in the bear scat. That would be a good thing.

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  7. I have Merrill light hikers, and really love them. Glad you found a pair of new shoes that work for you. I wear a size 9 :)

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  8. You were right to go with the larger size. From my military training, it's preferred to go with a slightly larger size because your feet will swell slightly with heat from hiking.

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    1. That's what the guy at the shop told me too....

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  9. It was probably a good thing that you only saw the "bear poop" on your hike rather than actually finding the bear and her cubs. When we go hiking in bear country I would like to see one but at a nice far away distance! I like my Merrells but maybe next time I am in need of new hikers I will try on a pair of Keens.

    www.travelwithkevinandruth.com

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  10. Looks like you will have lots of trails to recommend to us. Hope the weather cools off. I love to hike, but not when it is hot. Nothing seems to bother Craig.

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    1. It's not really hot...warm yes, but not stifling like it is in Florida in the summers/fall/spring. We get cool nights and it will start cooling off very soon.

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  11. Glad you found hiking shoes that are comfy!!! Nice to see you both out there hunting for buckeyes;o))

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  12. Looks like a great hike and I'll bet will be really pretty in the fall. We've been without internet for a week and have done a lot of hiking during that time. I am finding that by 4 miles my feet are beginning to hurt in my hiking boots so I am going to follow your lead and look into getting some new ones. I have to have ankle high ones though from having broken my ankle twice. Taking no more chances than I absolutely have to.

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