Sunday, April 26, 2009

Freeman and Jarrard Gap Trails

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My brother John called me last night. "Want to ride tomorrow?" Yeah, I did, but we couldn't think of where we wanted to go, and actually, I was a little biked-out from last week's commuting. I had an idea though. My bro and his son met me near my house and we headed up to Blood Mountain.

After a quick stop at Mountain Crossings..

 1 - Walasi-yi Center

We parked at Byron Reece and climbed the Freeman Trail.

 2 - Byron Reece Trailhead

A few months back my bro and I did a couple of days on the AT and saw some pretty cool rock formations. We passed close to there again today.

 5 - Balancing Rock

The Freeman Trail is rocky. Not like the AT on Blood Mountain, but still.

 8 - Freeman Trail 3

 11 - John and Austin on Freeman Trail

Nice views.

 13 - View From Freeman Trail

At Bird Gap we stopped for a while. These weird things were growing everywhere. I used to know the name of them but I can't remember now.

 14 - Plants at Bird Gap

From there we headed west to Jarrard Gap, down Jarrard Gap Road and back up Jarrard Gap Trail. A few weeks back I tried to hike Jarrard Gap Trail with my kids, but ended up on the Road instead. This time we did it right.

The Jarrard Gap Trail is pretty steep.

 16 - Jarrard Gap Trail

We backtracked over Gaddis Mountain and Turkey Stamp back to Bird Gap and took another break. The frere changed socks.

 17 - John Changing Socks

Austin tore into some Sour Skittles.

 18 - Austin and Sour Skittles

At the intersection with the Slaughter Creek Trail we drank from the cool, refreshing waters of a natural spring and some folks took our picture. I'm in the middle, not smiling much for some reason.

 21 - Family Shot

Around this point, I was getting pretty impressed with Austin's stamina. He was easily keeping pace with me and John. We climbed up over Blood Mountain. Austin showed me some caves that he'd found the last time he was up there.

 24 - Cave on Blood Mountain

The views were pretty nice. I banged my head hard into a tree climbing up onto a big rock. Woohoo!

I think the tallest peak there is Brasstown Bald.

 25 - View to Northeast from Blood Mountain

 27 - View to Southwest from Blood Mountain

I needed to get back to the car for 6 so I could get back home for 8. We had about an hour to get down, so we didn't hang around for long. Descending Blood Mountain is no easy thing. It's super steep and rocky and just slams your knees all the way down. Austin made it look easy.

 29 - Austin Descending Blood Mountain

We made it down quick. John and Austin were dreaming of some particular type of ice cream that they'd seen at Mountain Crossings the last time they came up here a few months back. We stopped by but apparently they ran out or something. What a drag.

We did get lucky at Moe's, or at least I did. I asked for a Joey with just rice and extra meat and the chick gave me like a pound of steak. Score.

I made it back for 8 but it turned out that the thing I needed to do was really on Sunday. Heh.

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