Saturday 10/25/14 – (Atlanta, Chattooga River) Sunny with temps to 76 H, 44 L.

Took the kids to Will’s soccer game near Canton Street this morning at 10:30am and watched Santos U-9 lose to a superior Smyrna team.  Will played well at defense and had plenty of practice with the ball on the Santos side of the field for most of the game.

Ashley and Renee ran in the Silver Comet half marathon this morning and didn’t get back to the house until around noon.  Brett Fuller and I had the Pilot loaded and ready to go as soon as she arrived, but didn’t get out of Roswell until 12:30pm.

In contrast, Roger had a four hour drive but was in Clayton, GA by 11am this morning.  He had already hiked in to the campsite by the time we left town.  Phillip was also way ahead of us and was driving over from the Perch where he camped last night with a neighbor.  That plan ended, however, when his wife broke her ankle and Phillip had to return to Atlanta to pick her up from the airport.

So Brett and I hit the road for Water Gauge Road to meet Roger and made a brief stop at Burger King in Gainesville to pick-up a late lunch.  It was a beautiful day for a drive and no one was more excited than Boone Dawg to hit the Trail.  We drove through a logging operation on the way to the trailhead and found Roger’s truck waiting on us at the end of the gravel road.  He managed to get a call off to us, and though most of it was inaudible, we could make out that he did hike North along the river and find the killer campsite that was revealed to us by Mike (a former member of my Smell The Glove softball team).  Some rafts and a Coleman cooler (with eggs, cheese, milk and carrots) were left behind but the site was a definite winner.  It only took us 12 minutes to get there which ranks this as one of the best sites for the least effort that we’ve discovered in some time.

Roger was fishing when we arrived around 4pm and had already gotten settled in to camp.  He was also halfway in to the 23 beers he brought on the hike and we felt obliged to join him – having already polished one off at the trailhead.  (If Brett and I knew how short this hike was – we would have certainly packed more than the 3 Diesel tall boys on this trip.)

Set up my REI chair at water’s edge and watched some kayakers float by and enter the Five Falls area.  Roger had already collected a nice bundle of firewood, so I popped a Diesel, chatted with him and watched the sun slowly fall behind the ridge to the west.  It was a beautiful night to say the least.

With sunlight fading, Brett and I set up our tents around 5pm then returned to the beach where Roger had a fire blazing.  We decided to do the Backcountry 101 podcast and recorded an hour of audio before the hunger pains took over and we cooked dinner.  Decided to cook on the beach and managed to fry up a round of steak and vegetables and another of chicken and vegetables without getting any sand in my food.  The later was especially tasty, but Roger’s stamina did not last long after dinner and he sacked out by 9pm.  Brett and I made it to 10:30pm, but even I was wiped by that point which is uncharacteristically early for a trip these days.

The stars were out in force and the little dipper was easily seen in it’s entirely to the North.  What a perfect night for a campout.

Sunday 10/26/14 – (Atlanta, Chattooga River) Sunny with temps to 85 H, 53 L.

Woke around 5am this morning so Boone and I could use the bathroom and we woke Brett in the process.  It was cool out, so I crawled back in the bag and slept for few more hours until around 8:30am.

Roger was packed up and about to hit the trail when I found him on the beach at sunrise.  He had had a long drive to Mooresville and hiked out before Brett crawled from his tent.  I packed up a bit, then helped Brett re-ignite the coals in our campfire.  It was a big bonus with no sunlight on the beach this morning.

Heated up some water for hot chocolate, devoured a Mountain House skillet breakfast, and lounged in the new REI chair as Brett fished from the sandbar.  He managed to catch a small shiner, but no trout this trip.

Brett and I lounged around the campsite for a few hours this morning, then eventually hit the trail at noon.  It took us 15 minutes to hike out and the sun had finally hit our campsite as we hit the trail.

Cracked a Diet Coke, snapped some photos of an active logging operation on Water Gauge Road, then stumbled on to a stack of fresh pine that had formerly clogged the road.  So Brett and I loaded in to the Pilot and it will help supplement the rapidly depleting stack that I had on the side yard post Scout campout.

We made it back to Atlanta by 2pm, and the kids were playing with some of Will’s B-Day toys as I hauled my gear in to the basement.  Got cleaned up, rested a bit and sent out a Scout email about Geocaching before I sacked out early for the night.

Note – This was the inaugural backpacking trip for the REI Quarter Dome, which I purchased this summer – although I used it last weekend on the Scout campout.

And I later discovered via “Day Trips With A Splash” that we were camped at a beach called Dead Cow on the Chattooga River.

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