Sunday, April 21, 2013

Beginner Backpacking Trip to Warwoman Dell

Seven women, including three hike leaders, met at Warwoman Dell near Clayton, GA for another beginning backpacking trip with the Trail Dames.  After introductions and adjusting packs, we set out on the Bartram Trail for a 2 mile hike to Martin Creek Falls. 
 Spring is one of my favorite times of year for beginner backpacking trips.  The weather is more comfortable for hiking.  Plus, I love to share the splendor of spring flowers, and it's rewarding when women become connected and engaged with the natural world.
No matter how many times I visit this area, each time, I see something new.  There were at least three blooming trees-- silverbell and dogwoods in the slopes, and serviceberry on the top of Pinnacle Knob.  Around Becky Branch Falls, jack-in-the-pulpet, bellwort, sweetshrub, pink wild azalea, vasey's trillium, solomon's seal, and foamflower were all stunning.
When we got to camp, we spent extra time talking about campsite selection.  Several of the women were interested in hammocking, and so we did a tour of different setups.  Even though it's mid-April, temperatures dipped into the 40's overnight, so we talked about various techniques to stay warm.

Tree straps for the hammocks.
We show off our hammock setups.
After getting settled, one of the women and I did an extra afternoon hike up to Pinnacle Knob while the others took naps or relaxed in camp.  She was a big fan of William Bartram, the eighteenth century naturalist and explorer for whom the trail is named.  She shared some wild adventure stories she'd read about him, and I will definitely have to pick up a copy of his Travels for myself.
Fraser magnolia leafing out.
Of the many plants described by Bartram during his extensive travels in the southeast is fraser magnolia.  His journals show that he first saw this plant in 1775 right here near Martin Creek Falls.  We saw this tree just leafing out, the bright green leaves were especially striking.   How cool!
Once again, this was another great trip with the Trail Dames and we all had fun and learned a lot!


  1. This is a great picture, you guy had a great photographer.

  2. Will have to backpack with that skilled photographer more often.

  3. As the Indigo Girls once said... There's nothing like the southland in the springtime. This time of year really makes me miss the southeast- and this ladies hiking group you have sounds truly awesome and inspiring, making me miss the southeast even more! Thanks for sharing the photos!

  4. The Indigo Girls once again are right on-- this is such an awesome time of year down here. I think if I moved away, I'd have to vacation here during the spring for sure.

  5. I want to take my daughter on her first hike. I was planning part of the Bartram trail. Can you tell me where you guys camped? It looks like a beautiful trail.

  6. The Bartram from Warwoman Dell to Martin Creek is certainly very beautiful and a good first trip. There are two large open campsite near the base of Martin Creek Falls, before the trail climbs to the top of the falls near the spur trail to the falls, and another cooler, smaller campsite above the falls. The large site accessed by rock hopping the creek (or wading if the water is high) can be accessed from FS road 152-- not much traffic, and can be a good safety feature if a bailout is needed. One word of caution- my friend encountered several blowdowns up there this past weekend due to the recent storms.