Appalachian Trail - Blueridge Gap to Cowart Gap, GA

May 1, 2007

Today's hike was on the Appalachian Trail starting at Blueridge Gap and hiking south to Cowart Gap in extreme North Georgia. This was an out-and-back hike of 7.6 miles.

HIKERS - Stan Amsler, Jeff Anderson, Melissa Anderson, John Bellamy, June Bellamy, Phil Brownrigg, Dick Metzgar, Wayne Miller, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Carole Raguckas, Joe Raguckas, Dan Ross, Doug Russell, Jack Slaton, Bob Thompson, David Whitaker, Geri Whitaker, and Carole Wintle.

TRAIL INFO. - This portion of the A.T. starts at Blueridge Gap which is the northernmost gap in the Georgia section of the trail. From here we headed south to Cowart Gap and back. This is a very hilly portion of the trail and today was the hottest day of the year so far. These conditions made the hike somewhat challenging!

This hike is rated strenuous.

Directions: Take Hwy. 76 W from Clayton, GA toward Hiawassee, past the Appalachian Trail Crossing several miles further and turn right on Upper Hightower Rd and drive to the Appalachian Trail crossing at Blue Ridge Gap. Upper Hightower Rd. is paved most of the way but it gradually narrows down and (for the last mile or two) the road becomes gravel and is steep in places and 4-wheel drive is preferred although we did make it with 2-wheel drive.

Another great day for a hike! Sunny and hot. Temperatures from the upper 60's to upper 80's.

Hiking distance - 7.6 miles

WILDFLOWERS IN BLOOM: Flame Azalea, Pink Ladyslipper, Catesby's Trillium, Vasey's Trillium, Serviceberry, Solomon's Seal, Foam Flower, Sweet White Violet, Purple Violet, Halberd-leafed Violet, Yellow Violet, Umbrellaleaf, Star Chickweed, Small Bellwort, Perfoliated Bellwort, Buttercup, Hooked Buttercup, Toothwort, Cut-leafed Toothwort, Cinquefoil, Striped Maple, Robin's Plaintain, Bluet, Blue Cohosh, Red Baneberry, Mountain Vetch, Heart-leafed Golden Alexander. Wild Geranium, Fraser Magmolia, Wild Strawberry and Dogwood. .

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Carolina Chickadee, Oven Bird, Red Eyed Vireo, Broad Wing Hawk, Titmouse, Flicker, Hooded Warbler, Veery, Carolina Wren, Crow, Rose Breasted Grosbeak, Blue Jay, White Breasted Nuthatch, Wood Thrush, Chipping Sparrow, Black and White Warbler, Scarlet Tanager, Pileated Woodpecker, Towhee, Black Throated Blue Warbler, Redstart, Turkey

Click for movie clip from today's hike!

scroll down for photos.......



pic1
Our starting point - Blueridge Gap, GA
pic2
Trail sign near the start.
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The lack of leaves on the trees provided nice mountain views.
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Following the famous white blazes along the Appalachian Trail. .
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A great wildflower day on the trail.(l) Pink Ladyslipper
(Cypripedium acaule) and (r) American Umbrellaleaf (Diphylleia cymosa)
pic6
Trail sign at Plumorchard Gap.
pic6
Taking a short break at Plumorchard Gap.
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This giant rock formation is typical of that found on the Georgian portion of the A.T.
This one is between Plumorchard and Blueridge Gap.
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Here, we can glimpse through the trees and see Brasstown Bald. (Georgia's highest point)
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We saw lots of Catesby's Trillium (Trillium catesbaei) today.
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The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r) Phil Brownrigg, Stan Amsler, Bob Thompson, Joe Raguckas, Carole Raguckas, Jack Slaton, Dick Metzgar, Carole Wintle, Dan Ross, John Bellamy, Melissa Anderson, Jeff Anderson, Donna Presley, June Bellamy, Wayne Miller, Geri Whitaker, Doug Russell, David Whitaker, Tony Presley,  and Trail dog "Bo"


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