Sunday, July 8, 2012

Bartram Trail-- Osage to Rabun Bald

I've been using several tricks to keep me cooler and safer when hiking in the heat of the South.  I just got a new map of the Bartram Trail, so I couldn't bear to stay home despite the record 108 temperatures in town.  I decided to get to high elevation for an out-and-back dayhike from Osage Mountain Overlook parking area south along the Bartram Trail to Rabun Bald. 
The forecast for the nearest mountain town is 95.
I got a very early start in the cool of the morning.  The trail began in the dense shade of rhododendron thickets.
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Natural air conditioning was plentiful.  I took off my shirt, soaked it in the stream, then put it back on, and dunked my head too. 
The trail south of Osage Overlook had plenty of clear cold water despite the drought.
Staying hydrated requires that I make sure I eat well too.  Many years ago, I got heat exhaustion/ dehydration and ended up with an IV was because I wasn't eating enough salt, electrolytes, and real food.  Now I know that if my lips are chapped, if I have a headache, and if I get nauseous, that means I am dehydrated and need to drink and eat.  Fresh food, peanut butter, and salty snacks work best for me. 
Shrimp, corn, okra, and green bean salad.
I take care to avoid overexerting and getting overheated.  I keep my heat rate lower than I would under normal conditions by going more slowly and taking more frequent breaks.

Temperatures drop about 4-5 degrees for every 1000 feet of elevation gained, so I started high, and went up higher.
Summit of Rabun Bald (4696 feet), the second highest peak in Georgia.
For directions:

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