Monday, March 11, 2013

Bartram Trail: Warwoman Dell to the Chattooga River

A solo, early spring overnight on the Bartram Trail along most of Section 2 in Georgia.  From Warwoman Dell (1920 feet), it was a short climb over Rainy Mountain (2560 feet) and pleasant ridgewalking on old roads, before dropping to the Chattooga River Trail at Sandy Ford.  The quiet simplicity of unremarkable trail with no distractions (i.e. no flowers, dramatic views, water features, or people) provided a soothing counterpoint to a hectic week.
Mossy-covered rocks sparkling with mica.
Winter views of pine-covered hills.
Springy trail of soft pine, gently curving around knobs.
At Sandy Ford Road, one of the numerous granite-carved boulders marked the Bartram. "12 miles" to Warwoman Dell?!?!  No way had I just hiked 3 miles an hour for 4 hours.  More like 10 miles.  But did I trust my own feel for my pace over the rock-solid certainty of a granite boulder?  Yes I did.  And, I found out when I got home that the guidebooks agreed with my estimations.
Wrong!  It's only 9.4 miles to Warwoman Dell
A mile after joining the Chattooga River Trail, where I'd hiked a few weeks ago, the Bartram drops to the Chattooga River.
Green waters of the Chattooga River
I continued on leaving the river after a mile, climbing another knob, crossing hemlock-shaded Warwoman Creek over an iron bridge, climbing yet another knob, and finally arriving at Laurel Branch, where I'd camped several years ago the first trip I used a hammock (oh what memories!).  After a 3 PM snack, I decided to turn around.  After carrying the extra weight of my winter underquilt and warm down jacket, I wanted to put them to good use by camping on the cold banks of the Chattooga.  On the final descent, my leg was getting really sore.  I'd hiked a total of 18.8 miles that first day.
Dehydrated big shrimp (cut in half) rehydrated in cold water.  Sending "OK" message on my new SPOT.
Stretching and watching a great blue heron fly up river.
Celebrated daylight savings time by going to bed ridiculously early.
The next day, it was 10 miles back to Warwoman Dell, and my leg was hurting on the downhills so took it easy.  Water was flowing at intermittent streams when only a slow drip had been previously in summer.  Back at Warwoman Dell, I took the nature trail to find more signs of spring.
Little friend.
Spear-leaved violets at Warwoman Dell.
Two tiny salamanders were under a rock beneath Warwoman Creek Falls.


  1. That looks so peaceful and very much springlike! Glad to see a bit of wildlife out too.

  2. Yep, it even smelled like spring. Gotta remember next time to bring a hat and more sunscreen though-- phew that sun is intense without the cover of leaves.