I 'signed' up for the hike mostly because I just needed to get back in touch with that entity for whom I work (nature). Too much time in the office or at the computer isn't healthy for anyone even if the emails and work never stops. So, on Saturday, May 8, I accompanied four friends-3 professional biologists, 1 'amateur' biologist (who, by the way, knows the watershed and its inhabitants like the back of his hand) to Rabun Bald in GA. RB is the highest peak in the state of Georgia-from the top, you can see three states-GA, NC and SC.
We started our trek to the top and then veered off trail for greater adventures. These photos record the trek along the way. Off trail hiking, particularly in the mountains, isn't for the faint of heart/health. Frankly, though the extremeness of it reminds me that I'm getting older, the hard heartedness of it is returned many times over and temporary pains fade as the memories.
We climbed along the base of granitic cliff faces, up through boulder fields and through rhodo/laurel hells. At one point, I was on all fours climbing through-sooo reminiscent of childhood hiding spots, I had to laugh. Funny how these hells can completely turn you around. We were less than 500 feet from the trail and managed to parallel it for some time.
Along the way, we didn't see too much wildlife-typical when traveling in groups. However, we did find a bear's bathroom. :-) The area had 8 or 10 piles of scat in various stages of decay and two spots where it was clear some large mammal had been lying down. A few of the plants had been eaten nearby and we wondered if the bear was ill and perhaps self medicating. Finally, I think it occurred to one of my friends that we might ought to look up in the trees for said bear...no luck.
Well, hope you enjoy the photos. Rabun Bald is a great hike-even if you stay on trail. I recommend the foot path going up and the jeep trail coming down. The jeep trail has some amazing wildflower shows-some of which are included here.