Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 37307
Saturday, June 19, 2010
Leaders: Gail Gray
Length: 6 miles
Difficulty Rating: Moderate to strenuous
Hike Description: Blood Mountain, at 4461 feet, is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail in the state of Georgia. There are magnificent views from a rock outcropping at the summit. Blood Mountain is known for an old stone shelter built by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the 1930s. The hike starts from the Byron Herbert Reece parking lot, located off of US 19 just north of Neels Gap. The combination of trails will have you climbing 1,418 ft. in little more than 2 miles of trail. The first 0.7 miles of trail starts gently through lush rhododendron and mountain laurel before you begin to switch back your way up stone staircases to Flatrock Gap. Here we will turn to the right and follow the white blazed AT up towards the summit of Blood Mountain. The trail is rugged and often steep as it winds its way up to the mountain summit. Here there is a picnic rock or large boulder that serves as a popular viewpoint for hikers.
Getting There: The carpool will leave the Hardee's in Ocoee at 8:30 a.m. Hikers will need water and a lunch, hiking sticks, and tons of energy. Those planning to hike need to contact Gail Gray at (423) 336-1070.
Post-Hike Report: On a very warm Saturday, eight hikers led Gail Gray up Blood Mountain. Hikers were Edmond Gray, Joanne Jackson, Ken Jones, Randy Morris, Taylor Morris (Randy’s son), Robert Owenby and Clayton Pannell. The Byron Herbert Reece Trail leading up to the Appalachian Trail was new territory for Clayton, Ken and Robert. This was pretty incredible since the three are such experienced hikers.
Many wildflowers were in evidence including Flame Azalea, Mountain Laurel, Fire Pinks, Spiderwort, Buttercups, and Black-Eyed Susan.
We enjoyed a leisurely lunch at the top of the mountain and began the trip back down to the parking lot. It was extremely warm, as I am sure, many no-shows expected. This hike should probably be planned in a less hot and humid time of the year in the future. It is a strenuous trip.
The Boogher Hollow Store was not forgotten by many at the end of the trip back to our original meeting place (Hardees in Ocoee).
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