Saturday, December 22, 2012

Bartram Trail-- Courthouse Gap to Rabun Bald

My last remaining 0.5 mile section of the Bartram Trail in Georgia from Wilson Gap to the road crossing of FS 155 that I'd been too exhausted to finish last time had been nagging at me.  My New Year's Resolution of 2012 was to complete the Bartram, and on the second-shortest day of the year, I decided to give it another try.  This time, I started at another trailhead that I'd just found out about to give myself a better shot.

It was so early it was still partially dark when I set out at the Courthouse Gap Road parking area.  The short access trail (about half a mile) offered pretty views of Pinnacle Knob's rugged rock face, sparkling under a sheet of ice.

Turning north (left) on the Bartram Trail at Courthouse Gap, I hiked past Windy Gap, and then to FS 155, and then to Wilson Gap, completing the section I'd missed.  The 5 miles from Wilson Gap to Rabun were really stunning so I just kept going.
Ice on rocks north of Wilson Gap.
I pushed myself to move fast, aware of the limited daylight.   At Rabun Bald, second highest peak in Georgia,  I didn't linger long due to the cold wind, but turned around and hiked the 11 miles back to my car.  I was pleased set a new personal record for "hiking inefficiency"-- I'd done 22 miles in one day  to "complete" a 0.5 mile section.  Plus, I'd finally finished the GA Bartram Trail.