|From Blood Mountain|
One of the most exhilarating hikes I’ve been on here in Georgia is climbing the Blood Mountain Peak along the Slaughter Creek Trail. It traverses some dense sections of the Blood Mountain Wilderness and reaches the highest point on the Appalachian Trail at 4,458 feet (Map of Peak). I think the Elevation of Lake Winfield Scott is about 1740 feet, so its like going up Stone Mountain a little over four times.
Unfortunately, there has been a recent tragedy to a fellow hiker in the shadow of the Mountain. The news reports reverberate with the sad ending of the life of Meredith Emerson, unknown to me until the news broke, but a fellow traveler for sure.
In honor of her spirit there will be a memorial hike at the nearby Mountain Crossing (info here). Be there if you can.
The events that transpired should heighten in all of our minds the needs for preparation and protection. I’ve been known to hike alone, but I’m an unattractive 6’3” 240 pound man with an ornery disposition. Please go in a group, just for the sake of potential injuries, Hiking is a mostly safe pastime. Most of the people you meet are true salt of the earth folks (read this post, it‘s true I was there). If you need to go alone, choose a heavily monitored area like Kennesaw or Stone Mountain.
Blood Mountain shouldn’t be remembered as a Mountain of Blood. The Blood moniker stems from an old Indian Battle between the Creek and the Cherokee (the Cherokee won), but still nothing could sound more menacing than taking the Slaughter Creek Trail up Blood Mountain. Don’t worry the Battle ended over a century ago.
What you get is peaceful wilderness time. You get your heart pumping blood through your veins. You get awe inspiring mountain views. You might get to see a deer or a bear or an owl. You might meet some other folk on the trail. You will get a sense of accomplishment if you scale the 6th tallest mountain in Georgia.
At the top, there are two man made structures of note. There is the CCC constructed cabin which you can hole up in if the weather runs afoul. There’s actually a little sign-in booklet to let future travelers know you were there. On or about the 6th of June, 2007, you will see what I consider the first advertisement of urbanbaboon.com in its pages. You can stand on a big rock mound next to the cabin to get the big picture view of the North Georgia Mountains. Just to the West of the Cabin, there is an outhouse, which may be the most disgusting outhouse in the world. It is the most disgusting, I’ve ever seen. It made a fellow hiker remark, “I’d rather just [bleep] in the woods.” And he was right.
Me and my Brother made it up the mountain in a little over two hours. It’s better than 5 miles one way, and this is generally considered the easiest access point to the peak. I know I told you to be prepared but my brother made it up to the top of the mountain with only a single bottle of water and a pack of Starburst. Not the best plan, but its now become a tradition.
Approximate Time: 4-5 hours
Approximate Distance: 5 miles one way (10 round trip)
Trail Surface: Compact Soil, Stairs
Features: Wilderness, Athletic Sections, Mountain Views, Rustic Cabin
Scenic Quality: B+
Overall Rating: A-
Parking: $5 (June 2007)
Hours of Operation: Open Year Round, Sunlight Hours
Facilities: At the recreation center and the top of the mountain (yuck)
Maps: None, prepare ahead of time (look here)