Cherokee Hiking Club
198 Crews Drive, Benton, TN 37307
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Leaders: Rhonda Morgan. If interested in attending, please call Rhonda no later than 9:00 p.m. on Friday, September 14th at 423-559-2869.
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. 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 feet 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 Appalachian Trail (the “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. Near the mountain’s peak hikers pass by the historic Blood Mountain AT shelter that was constructed by the Civilian Conservation Corps (the “CCC”) during the Great Depression. Here there is also Picnic Rock, a large boulder that serves as a popular viewpoint for hikers.
The hike is approximately 6 miles round trip; the rating is moderate to strenuous. Hikers will need to bring water, lunch, and snacks and hiking sticks. After the hike is over, we will visit Mountain Crossings, an outfitters and hostel, about 1/4 mile from the trail head.
Carpooling directions: we will meet at the Central Church of Christ parking lot, located at 200 25th Street, at the corner of 25th Street and Henderson Avenue, near the Skyridge hospital in Cleveland TN at 7:00 a.m. Be ready to leave at 7:15 a.m. We can also stop in Ocoee at the McDonald's if we need to meet hikers there too.
Post-Hike Report: Rhonda Morgan led 6 hikers up Blood Mountain on a beautiful sunny day. After hiking 1 1/2 hours, we made it to the top and enjoyed a spectacular view. We ate our lunch and rested for a while before heading back down the mountain. When we were almost back to the parking lot, people working on trail maintenance showed us some insects covering tree limbs. They didn't know what type of insect it was. After the hike, we visited Mountain Crossings and did a little shopping. It was a great hike; we covered five miles round trip, and it definitely proved to be a strenuous hike. Cherokee Hiking Club members included Rick and Brenda Harris, Sheila Bailey, Nathan and Emily Morgan, and our guest, Daniel Cross. Our group picture is shown below.
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