Saturday, August 16, 2014

We Hiked the Entire Appalachian Trail (width)


Blairsville, Georgia (high 84, low 62)


Bill and Nancy headed out early yesterday for a full day hike up to Blood Mountain and the Appalachian Trail.   We are not in hiking shape to follow in their footsteps, but they told us about a short trailhead which led to the Appalachian Trail and up  Blood Mountain.

We drove over to the Byron Reece Trailhead and parked in the  parking lot, which was almost full by the time we got there. 

People left several walking sticks at the trial head, and in our opinion, they are pretty nice to have on this type of trail.

Byron Reece trailhead to Blood Mountain and Appalachian trail

We started off with a nice easy trail with a gradual incline.  It was cool and shady and very enjoyable.

Byron Reece trailhead to Blood Mountain and Appalachian trail

Byron Reece trailhead to Blood Mountain and Appalachian trail

It got a little rocky and steeper as we went along.

Byron Reece trailhead to Blood Mountain and Appalachian trail

Byron Reece trailhead to Blood Mountain and Appalachian trail

Al worried a little about poison ivy, but I think most of the area was too shady for it to grow.  We hope.

Byron Reece trailhead to Blood Mountain and Appalachian trail

We got to the intersection where the  Appalachian Trail and the Freeman Trail met, which is where Nancy and Bill were.  We walked a short way on the AT, and decided this was good enough for our first real hike in a while.  We haven’t been doing much hiking lately and we still had to get back down all those rocks we had climbed.    Hiking in the mountains is certainly different than what we’re used to in Florida.   We really need to get in better shape.  

end of .7 mile access trail.  Left and right is AT, ahead is continuation of Freeman trail



The route back down wasn’t bad, but I did what Nancy called “butt hiking”  going back down some of those steep rock climbs.


After we did our hike, we decided to drive over to the Nottley Dam, which is here in Blairsville.   It’s a very nice lake, but the dam is not nearly as big or interesting as the Hiawassee Dam we visited the other day.

The lake is pretty with some nice islands.  We think we’ll take the kayaks over there one day soon.  Maybe with Bill and Nancy.  We might be able to keep up with them in kayaks.

Lake Nottley

How about the red clay beaches.

Nottley Dam

The water color is a  deep turquoise greenish color but the shallow water appears green like at these boat houses.

Nottley Dam boathouses

There are some pretty nice houses along the lake.


Lake Nottley

Lake Nottley


Yep, it looks like a nice paddle is in our future.


We got home, rested for a while, then met our friend Eileen who was taking us on another guided golf cart tour of some of the back roads she has discovered.

She is the one who showed us some really cool back roads the other night.  This tour, was on more public roads and not really my favorite.  

I kept wanting to turn around, but I was overruled!

We did see some pretty things though.  This 55 Chevy was a recent purchase of one of our neighbors.  It’s quite a beauty, isn’t it?   check out that shiny chrome bumper.

red 55 Chevy

red 55 chevy


More soybean fields.

Soybeans around rivers edge


golf cart ride views

golf cart ride views

I had been wanting to visit a particular old cemetery, where local aviator Micajah Dyer was buried.  We thought we would have to walk up there.

On the way back, Eileen asked if we wanted to go up the cemetery road.  I voted “no” because was steep, narrow, and rocky.  Once again, I was out voted, but as it turned out we hit the jackpot!

I will do a post in a few days about our discoveries there, but here is one interesting grave site we saw.  I’m guessing it’s pretty old.

Dyer cemetary

Here is Al, gloating and saying “I told you so,” as I’m walking through the cemetery with a big smile on my face.

al gloating
We saw several indications of bear activity, although no actual bears.

We saw corn husks laying in the road right across from a corn field.  We think the bear might have crossed just before we got there.

This next photo is what we think is a very fresh bear slide. You could see the claw marks.  Eileen heard noises up in the woods, so a bear may have been nearby.

fresh bear slide

No bear sightings yet, but they seem to be checking our the corn fields which have nice ripening corn.


  1. Good for you doing a bit of a hike. I can't believe you posted a picture :) The lake in Modoc is low for the summer, 2 feet below 'summer pool' as they call it. Lots of red clay showing on the banks.

  2. Any hike, no matter how long is fun, even if it's just side to side on the AT.

    One of these days you're going to find that elusive bear you've been looking for, hopefully it won't be a face to face encounter!

    Sorry you got outvoted so much, hopefully it will go better for you in November... ;c)

  3. Al has good reason to be worried about the poison ivy. I've seen it growing very nicely in the shade. :(

  4. Hey, that was no easy trek up to Freeman Trail... just glad you got out there!!! Remember, we are flat-landers also, but we have been hiking all summer so we definitely have a head start;o))

    Let us know when and where...we would love to kayak!!!

  5. Looks like a nice hike! The picture is nice too- you look tired- has Al been keeping you awake at night? Hehe. Hope you see your bear from afar soon. Is that the dam we went to see? Wish I was there it looks like nice weather!

    1. It was a nice hike Karen, but you wouldn't have liked it! No, that is a different dam than the one we went to last fall.

  6. Glad to see you out on the trail. Just keep it up and your hikes will get longer and longer and you'll be in better and better shape. Looking forward to hearing about the cemetery.

  7. We always have to be on the lookout for poison ivy, too . . . Nicolas seems to attract it if he's within a 1/2 mile!! :( That looked like a nice hike, but definitely one for hiking sticks! We picked up a couple of old ski poles at a thrift shop in Phoenix last winter, and they come in handy!


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