Sunday, October 13, 2013

Holcomb Creek Trail and Rabun Bald Trail

Roadwalks.  I used to avoid them at all costs.  But lately, I've been stringing together shorter trails with road walks to give me some longer contiguous routes.  This has allowed me to explore some new trails that are only accessible by FS roads (i.e. roads I don't like driving on in my tiny car).  I've found that walking FS roads can be surprisingly pleasant, especially on Sunday mornings when there are no cars out.  And the best thing is that I can make longer backpacking routes if I use FS roads so I get to see some new terrain.

This weekend, I made a partial loop with the Bartram Trail, Rabun Bald Trail, Holcomb Creek Trail, and FS roads.  There were two waterfalls on Holcomb Creek Trail, and fabulous the fall color on Rabun Bald, Georgia's second highest peak.  
Loads of fall flowers were blooming, like this gentian.
I parked at Osage Mountain Overlook just over the NC border, and ascended Rabun Bald on the Bartram Trail.  Before descending Rabun Bald via the Rabun Bald Trail, I took a detour down the Batram Trail to check out a side trial I'd been curious about.  About a mile south of the summit, I reached signed Flint Gap, and the marked side path to Flint Knob (0.7 miles).  The trail was easy to follow, though blazes were sporadic.  Unfortunately, there were no views from Flint Knob, but at least it there was a nice rocky summit to mark the top.   It looks like the trail continues on to a residential community, so I didn't bother going any further, and instead retraced my steps back up Rabun.

After having dinner on Rabun Bald and chatting with some dayhikers, a family was setting up camp at the summit, so I decided to head down the Rabun Bald Trail to find a quieter campsite for the night.  Normally, I wouldn't set up on a ridge, but the views of the fall color were just too pretty.  Plus, I knew I'd be super warm cause I was testing out my brand new, hot off the sewing machine DIY winter karo top quilt (more on this in future posts).
Camping on the leeward side of the ridge
Fabulous sunset view.
The next morning, I continued the steep descent down Rabun Bald Trail, and took a left on the FS road.  After about 20 minutes, I hopped on the Holcomb Creek Trail.  It was sad that the large hemlocks described in the guidebook were all dead, but there were several large tulip poplars and the trail was quite nice.  Holcomb Creek Falls was impressive, and lovely Ammons Creek Falls was framed with brilliant red sourwood which made for quite a sight.
Holcomb Creek Falls.

I'm so glad I got over my aversion to road walks so I could check out some trails I hadn't done before- both Rabun Bald Trail and Holcomb Creek Trail were definite winners!
Holcomb Creek Trail.

Trails Illustrated Map #778

Tim Homan's The Hiking Trails of North Georgia

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