Blood Mountain - Byron Reese Trail - Freeman Trail - Appalachian Trail

June 12, 2007

Today's hike was a loop from Byron Herbert Reese Park up to the Appalachian Trail intersection at Flat Rock Gap and around to the other side of Blood Mountain on the Freeman Trail to Bird Gap. From here we continued up to the Summit of Blood Mountain for lunch and finally back down the A.T. to Flat Rock Gap and down the Reese Trail to the parking lot. It was a spectacular hike for wildflowers and birds as we identified at least 30 species of wildflowers in-bloom as well as 25 species of birds. Total hike 6+ miles.

HIKERS - John Bellamy, Phil Brownrigg, Sharon Horwitz, Jack Jacobi, Linda Johnson, Ann Magee, Bob Magee, Wanda Miller, Wayne Miller, Lynne Porter-Whitmire, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Dan Ross, Pom Sinnock, Bob Thompson, David Whitaker, Geri Whitaker.

TRAIL INFO. - This hike takes you to the highest point on the Georgia portion of the Appalachian Trail. Blood Mountain (elevation 4,458 ft.) is said to be the favorite destination for A.T. hikers in Georgia. This section of trail has an elevation gain of more than 1,400 feet as you hike from Reese Park to the summit of Blood Mountain. The distance is not great but the elevation change makes it a good workout!

Directions: Take US 19 and 129, north from Cleveland, GA and drive approximately 18 miles to the Byron Herbert Reese Park just a half mile past Neels Gap and the Walasi-Yi Center.

Another great day for a hike! Partly sunny and mild. Temperatures from the mid 60's to low 80's.

Hiking distance - 6+ miles

WILDFLOWERS IN BLOOM: Flame Azalea, Sweet Azalea, Rosebay Rhododendrun, Catawba Rhododendrun, Tall Meadow Rue, Tall Bluets, Cow Wheat, Four -leafed Milkweed, Poke Milkweed, Whorled Loosestrife, Rattlesnake Weed, Tassel Rue, Spiderwort,Large-flowered Skullcap, Galax, Indian Physic, Sundrop, Bluet, Flowering Spurge, Micheaux's Saxifrage, Bindweed, Carolina Rose, Leatherflower, Hawk Weed, Yellow Wood Sorrel, Jack-in-the-Pulpit, Beardtongue, Foam Flower, Black-eyed Susan, Ragwort, Phlox and Spreading Dogbane.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Red Eyed Vireo, Oven Bird, Titmouse, Carolina Chickadee, Towhee, Black Throated Blue Warbler, Redstart, Pileated Woodpecker, Hooded Warbler, Blue Jay, Pine Warbler, Wood Thrush, Crow, White Breasted Nuthatch, Veery, Brown Thrasher, Turkey Vulture, Broad Wing Hawk, Hermit Thrush, Black and White Warbler, Catbird, Scarlet Tanager , Chestnut-sided Warbler.

scroll down for photos.......

Getting ready at Byron Reese Memorial Park.
Near Flat Rock Gap, we view the amazing balanced rock. Pom keeps it from falling!
A beautiful Chestnut-sided Warbler!
The trail passes through a canopy of Mountain Laurel. .
Probably the best day ever for Flame Azaleas on the trail!
Here are just four of the variable colors from today's hike. (Rhododendron calendulaceum)
Lunchtime at the summit of Blood Mountain.
Looking down to the Blood Mountain shelter from the rock over-look.
Starting our trip down the mountain.
A very hazy day but we still get some nice views through the haze.
More wildflowers! upper left and clockwise: Spiderwort (Tradescantia subaspera),
Fire Pink (Silene virginica), Carolina Rose (Rosa carolina), Sundrops (Oenothera fruticosa ).
Dr. Bob Thompson wore his Flame Azalea matching shirt today!
Another great day for a hike!

The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r kneeling) Donna Presley, Wanda Miller, Tony Presley (l-r standing) Wayne Miller, Phil Brownrigg, Lynne Porter-Whitmire, Bob Thompson, Sharon Horwitz, Linda Johnson, John Bellamy, Geri Whitaker, David Whitaker, Dan Ross, Anne Magee, Pom Sinnock, Bob Magee, Jack Jacobi.

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