July 3, 2006
|This week's hike was on the Appalachian Trail from Blue Ridge Gap in Georgia to Bly Gap in North Carolina.
HIKERS - John Bellamy, June Bellamy, Bruce O'Connor, Jeanne O'Connor, Bob Presley, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Dan Ross, Bob Thompson, Kurt Volker, Sharon Volker, David Whitaker, Geri Whitaker, Carole Wintle and Jack Wintle.
TRAIL INFO. - This is a very nice portion of the Appalachian Trail that leads from the last gap in GA to the first gap in NC. It has some moderate climbs but it also has some nice flat stretches along the mountain ridges. The mountain views are mostly obscured by the trees during summertime hikes. The vegetation is very lush and the trees are mainly hardwoods with some White Pines and Eastern Hemlocks mixed in.
Total round trip hiking distance 6.2 miles.
Directions: Take Hwy. 76 W from Clayton, GA 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! Mostly sunny, temperatures ranging from the upper 60's to upper 80's F.
FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Thimbleweed, Rosebay Rhododendrun, Mountain Hydrangea, White Yarrow, Pink Clover, Japanese Spirea, Fire Pink, Yellow Star Grass, Pippsissawa, Sundrops, Goat's Beard, Bergamot, Phlox, Pale Jewelweed, Spiderwort, Black-eyed Susan, Indian Pipes, Squaw Root, Poke Milkweed, Yellow Wood Sorrel, Tall Bluet, Cow Wheat, Daisy Fleabane,Pink Raspberry, Hairy Skullcap,, Rattlesnake Plaintain Orchid, Cinquefoil, Flowering Spurge and Whorled Coreopsis.
BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Hooded Warbler, Red-Eyed Vireo, Scarlet Tananger, Yellow Throated Vireo, Towhee, Carolina Wren, PeeWee, Red Bellied Woodpecker, Crow, Pileated Woodpecker, Blue Jay, Titmouse, White Breasted Nuthatch, Oven Bird, Great Crested Flycatcher
Getting ready at Blue Ridge Gap.
Trail signs near the parking spot.
The Rosebay Rhododendron (Rhododendron maximum) are blooming!
Ty and Jessie (trail dogs for today) cool off at a small spring.
Shortly after crossing the NC/GA border, we arrive at Bly Gap, NC.
The famous gnarly oak tree at the gap.
Lunchtime at Bly Gap.
Our 15 OFHC hikers head back to Blue Ridge Gap.
Wildflower find of the day. Tall Thimbleweed (Anemone virginiana)
With the lush forest, most of the mountain views were obscured. This is pretty nice though!
The OFHC gang for today's hike. (front l-r) Tony Presley, Bruce O'Connor, Jeanne O'Connor, Donna Presley, Carole Wintle, Sharon Volker, Jack Wintle and "Ty & Jessie" (standing l-r)David Whitaker, Geri Whitaker, Bob Thompson, Bob Presley, John Bellamy, Kurt Volker, June Bellamy and Dan Ross.