Pickens Nose, Albert Mt., Mooney Falls, Laurel Branch Falls - August 4, 2009

Today, we hiked in Southwest NC on 4 short trails. Starting at Pickens Nose Trail, then Albert Mountain by a connector trail up to the Appalachian Trail, followed by the Mooney Falls Trail and the Laurel Branch Trail.

HIKERS - Andy Brown, Phil Brownrigg, Pam Euliss, Bill Hunt, Jack Jacobi, Bob Magee, Joe Metzger, Bruce O'Connor, Jeanne O'Connor, Lynne Porter-Whitmire, Rick Porter-Whitmire, Donna Presley, Tony Presley, Vic Robson and Pom Sinnock.

TRAIL INFORMATION - All the trails were excellent with great views and beautiful lush habitat. Elevation change is significant but these trail portions are short and we consider the trails moderately easy. There are some extreme cliffs on Pickens Nose so caution must be used when taking in these breathtaking views.

Today's hiking distance - 6 miles total. Difficulty - Moderately easy.

Directions: Take highway 441 north from Clayton, GA to the community of Otto, NC. Turn left onto Coweeta Lab Road . Drive several miles up this road and you will see the Coweeta Hydrologic Lab on your right. Continue on past the lab and the road becomes a gravel Forest Service road 83. Continue up this road for several miles and you will come to a sign for Pickens Nose. There is a parking area here. For Albert Mountain, continue on past this area a mile or so and there is a fork in the road and a sign pointing to the right to Albert Mountain. Continue on the right fork to the end of the road where there is a parking area. Hike up the connector trail behind the gate to the A.T. and turn right to Albert Mt. For Mooney and Laurel Falls, drive back down the road from Albert Mountain and turn right onto F.S. road 83 and continue several miles to the Mooney Falls sign on the left. For Laurel Falls, continue down 83 until you see the sign for Laurel Falls Trail.

Another great day for a hike! Partly cloudy and cool. Temperatures ranged from 67 degrees to 74 degrees

FLOWERS IN BLOOM: Angelica, Aster, Bergamot, Black-eyed Susan, Bush Honeysuckle, Coreopsis, Goldenrod, Hawkweed, Heal All, Indian Pipes, Joe Pye Weed, Mountain Hydrangea, Mountain Mint, Phlox, Purple Flowering Raspberry, Queen Anne's Lace, Rosebay Rhododendron, Skullcap, Snakeroot, Sourwood, Southern Harebells, Summersweet, Sunflower, and Turk's Cap Lily.

BIRDS IDENTIFIED: Towhee, Junco, Grouse, Raven, Peregrine Falcon, Red-eyed Vireo.

scroll down for photos.......

Pickens Nose Trailhead on F.S. Rd. 83
The trail is shaded most of the way.
The first view point near the summit.
The famous breathtaking rock outcrop at Pickens Nose.
Some of today's mushrooms.
A view from the Albert Mountain fire tower.
Another view from the tower.
Our next trail of the day.
Mooney Falls.
Our final trail of the day.
Crossing the creek on the footbridge.
Laurel Branch Falls.
The OFHC gang for today's hike. (l-r front) Tony Presley, Donna Presley, Pam Euliss and Pom Sinnock (l-r 2nd row) Joe Metzger, Bob Magee, Vic Robson and Jack Jacobi. (l-r 3rd row) Bruce O'Connor, Jeanne O'Connor and Rick Porter-Whitmire. (l-r 4th row) Lynne Porter-Whitmire and Bill Hunt. (l-r top row) Phil Brownrigg and Andy Brown.

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