Saturday, September 17, 2011

Hiking in Northern Georgia

A few weeks ago, I drove up from the Gulf Coast to Kennesaw, GA (near Atlanta) to visit a college friend for the weekend. We decided to head to northern Georgia for a day hike.  After much deliberation, we chose Fort Mountain State Park and the Gahuti Trail as our destination because it was one of the closest options and it offered a long loop instead of an out and back.  It took about an hour and a half to reach the state park, which is just east of the bustling metropolis of Chatsworth, GA.  Much of the drive was over fairly flat land, as Fort Mountain lies on the extreme southwestern tip of the Appalachian Mountains. 

A view of the Chatsworth area from Fort Mountain at the end of the Appalachians
The Gahuti Trail is an 8 mile loop around the mountain.  It never actually reaches the summit of the mountain, but there are still some good views, although they are rather few and far between.

Pictures and more after the jump.

The trail was well worn and well marked, but we only saw a few other hikers all day.  The vegetation varied from pine forests to hardwood forests on the ridges and slopes to the beautiful rhododendron covered groves so typical of the southern Appalachians.

I cornered this little guy at the top of a stump.  It is surprisingly difficult to get decent pictures of animals, especially ones that blend in like this one.

Eastern Fence Lizard
Overall the hike was quite nice.  8 miles is a good length for a day hike, and I liked that it was a loop and thus didn't require backtracking.  I hadn't really realized that Atlanta was so close to the mountains, and I'm sure that there are tons of places to hike that are even better than where we went.  If I lived in Atlanta, I think I would be in the mountains every weekend hiking and trout fishing.  And that brings me to the real tragedy of the trip.  This is the second time I've been to northern Georgia and not gone trout fishing.  I'm sure there are miles of tiny mountain streams with native trout, and I would love to do some exploring, but I keep on going there with people who don't fly fish.  Next time I'm bringing my fly rod no matter what.  And I leave you with the best view of the day... 

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