The Appalachian Trail - Indian Grave Gap - Tray Mountain - June 30, 2009

Today's hike was on the Appalachian Trail north of Helen, GA. We hiked from Indian Grave Gap to just over the summit of Tray Mountain (2nd highest peak on the GA Appalachian Trail). We were surprised by much cooler than normal temperatures for this 5+ miles round trip hike.

HIKERS - John Bellamy, June Bellamy, Karen Brown, Phil Brownrigg, Greta Driggers, Jim Driggers, Pam Euliss, Dave Hinson, Bill Hunt, Jack Jacobi, Don Johnson, Linda Johnson, Dick Metzgar, Bob Magee, Don Preece, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Joe Raguckas, Dan Ross, Lynne Saporito, Faye Sisson and Carole Wintle.

TRAIL INFORMATION - A very nice hike on the Appalachian Trail. Starting at Indian Grave Gap, the trail climbs steadily through a beautiful hardwood forest featuring oak, hikory, beech, magnolia, rhododendron, azalea and mountain laurel among others. Views at the summit of Tray Mountain are getting more and more obscured each year by the trees and shrubs but the views are still very nice.

Today's hiking distance - 5+ miles with significant hills. We rate it moderately strenuous due to elevation change.

Directions: Take GA 75 north from Helen for 11.4 miles. Turn right onto Indian Grave Gap Road (High Shoals Area sign), graveled Forest Service Road 283. Follow this road 3.5 miles to a small parking lot at the trailhead. You will see a sign for the Andrews Cove Trail at the parking lot.

Another great day for a hike! Mostly sunny breezy and coolishly mild. Temperatures ranged from 58 to 74 degrees F.

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Black-eyed Susan,Fire Pink, Mountain Hydrangea, Rosebay Rhododendrun, Whorled Loosestrife, New Jersey Tea, False Indigo, Tall Bluet, Oxeye Daisy, Flame Azalea, Galax, Cow Wheat, Japanese Spirea, Yellow Wood Sorrel, Spiderwort, Skullcap, Milkweed, Beardtongue, Spreading Dogbane, Tall Meadow Rue, Thimbleweed, Flowering Spurge and Woodland Joe Pye Weed.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Common Crow, Indigo Bunting, Black- and- white Warbler, Pine Warbler, Chimney Swift, Chipping Sparrow, Redeyed Vireo, Hooded Warbler, Mourning Dove, Turkey Vulture, Cardinal and Robin.

Other fauna: Black Bear two weeks in a row!

scroll down for photos.......

Parking at Indian Grave Gap.
Another great day for a hike on the Appalachian Trail!
Summertime favorites - Black-eyed Susans (Rudbeckia hirta)
Lots of uphill hiking on the way to Tray Mountain.
Here we can see the slope of Tray Mountain.
On the summit of Tray Mountain.
Nice views!
Looking toward Hiawassee, we can see Bell Mountain.
Looking to the south we see Currahee Mountain. This photo is on extreme zoom.
Beautiful Wild Columbine!
Fungus of the week!
The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r front) Tony Presley, Lynne Saporito, Donna Presley, Linda Johnson, Don Johnson, Faye Sisson and Pam Euliss. (l-r standing) Bob Magee, Jack Jacobi, Jim Driggers, Karen Brown, Greta Driggers, June Bellamy, John Bellamy, Don Preece, Dick Metzgar, Dave Hinson, Bill Hunt, Dan Ross, Carole Wintle, Joe Raguckas and Phil Brownrigg.

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