Friday, November 18, 2011

Arkaquah Trail to Brasstown Bald

The Arkaquah Trail rises steeply for 5.6 miles from Track Rock Gap trailhead to the Brasstown Bald parking area.  From there, it's another 0.6 miles to the summit of the tallest peak in Georgia.  My guidebook says this trail gains 2,000 feet and that the "elevation change from gap to bald is greater than that of any other trails or combination of trails of equal or shorter length in North Georgia."  What more could you want?

Leslie and her friend Heather met me on a cold, windy, overcast morning.   Track Rock Gap Archealogical Area, near the trailhead, contains impressive petroglyphs and is well-worth a detour on the side-trail to go check it out.

Well-done interpretive signs

The trail climbs relentlessly the first two miles.  Most of the leaves were off the trees at this elevation.
One lone little tree still showing some color.
Lovely but dead monarch.

 Upon reaching the ridge, the tower on top of Brasstown Bald looked like a speck on the horizon. 

The trail continued along the ridge with views off to both sides.  Just when we started to think the walking was getting easy, the trail would start to climb, or, worse, descend steeply, only to climb again.

Ridge walking

We'd get occasional views of the tower, off in the distance, getting bigger ever so slowly.  We knew we were getting close when we finally saw some other hikers.  At the summit, a few rays of sun poked through the clouds.  This is one beautiful trail and one great workout.

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