Sunday, December 5, 2010

Upper Chattahoochee

Friday, I drove to Baton Rouge for my Aunt Cindy's funeral service. For being such a solemn occasion, thinking back on it now, I only have good memories. I hope that's how it is when I go. I hope it brings people together and they leave with good memories. Saturday afternoon I drove back. In 36 hours I'd driven 18. Short miles for a trucker maybe, but I'm not hard like that and today I slept in 'til almost noon. It's funny, when your kids are old enough, they'd rather not to wake you up.

When I did get up, I headed up to Helen for some bikering.


I promised Clark next time I rode up there, I'd give him more than an hour's notice. I really meant to give him more than two hours notice too, but failing there, two hours was still enough time for him and Suzy to throw some gear together and meet me a the No-Camping-Here Campground.

 Clark and Suzy Getting Ready

I have a knack for taking photos that don't include the faces of anyone in the photo.

It was a little cold; just above freezing at the car. I tried riding with my REI jacket as a wind shell. It works pretty well on foot, maybe it would be good on the bike too.

We climbed Martin Branch, which I've never climbed before. It's not easy.

 Clark and Suzy Climbing

Another great photo. That's real talent.

Earlier, when I put my gloves on, I noticed the right one was damp, like maybe one of my bottles had leaked on it or something, but nothing else was wet. It was a mystery. About 10 minutes later I realized it was wet because I'd been wiping and blowing my runny nose last Thursday and hadn't washed them since then. That's just nasty.

At FS44 we hung a left and headed down. I say down, but we kept hitting little climbs. I've ridden the other way a dozen times and I don't remember any downhills.

In winter you can see waterfalls that you can only hear in the summer.


Or maybe just the direction we were going made them easier to notice, or maybe a combination. Either way: waterfalls.

Somewhere around there, it started flurrying on us and pretty much didn't stop until way later when we were lower down.

We climbed 44E though the campground and on up to what I guess is Crain Field. At the back of the field, there were some interesting, new-looking constructions in the creek to create artificial trout pools. Suddenly, I can't remember what those are called.

 Trout Pool Thing

Did I say creek? Actually, I think that's the Chattahoochee River itself, just way up near the top. Look at that, it's small enough there to channel between a couple of logs.

Next up, Old FS44D, but only after more cold descending. Other than the hood inflating like a tiny parachute, the REI jacket was really getting the job done. Really, only my toes and face were cold, and I didn't care about the parachute; not racing today.

44D is also called Chattahoochee River Camp Road. We didn't find a camp, but we found a food plot and the old roadbed leading out of it was pretty overgrown. There was a clear trail through it, but the road formed the wilderness boundary and it bent back on itself there. It might not be in the wilderness, but we couldn't tell and it didn't look that fun to ride. Back down.

And so ended the exploring. The rest was just getting back to the car on FS44. It was officially dark. We'd had our lights on for a half hour. The snow flurries, lit up artificially, reminded me of walking around at night in New York City. At some point during all that my front brake had all but stopped working. I had trouble with it last Thursday. This morning I bled it, but now it apparently needed to be bled again. There was nothing leaking anywhere. My guess is that I've managed to somehow break another lever, which I seem to do from time-to-time. I have no idea how I did it this time. This would be like the 6th time though. Temperature wise, the ride back wasn't too bad. I do need some new shoe covers though, big time.

Yay, Upper Chattahoochee! We followed up a good ride with some good food at the Nacoochee Tavern, where we all got the secondary shivers. I had a meatball sandwich which was really good, but I think I like the chicken parm a little better.

Thanks for a great time guys. I promise one of these days I'll give you more than 2 hours notice.


  1. Great write-up - makes me almost feel like I was there. Oh wait, I was! Glad you called, and I actually have quick charging batteries for the light kits. I think you like testing my emergency preparedness skills to see how quickly I can respond to the call. Awesome ride, always fun to ride in the dark and the snow flurries were just a bonus.

  2. I AM JEALOUS! Wish I could've been there with you guys.