Foothills/Chattooga River Trip Report – February 21, 2004

Friday (2/20/04) – Cloudy again with temps to 69 H, 45 L. Rain by evening.

Marlo dropped Rebel off this morning, and I took him for a walk during the day. Then he and I got food at Kroger this afternoon for this weekend’s backpacking trip and spent a few hours getting gear ready for tomorrow. Ashley and I went to El Azteca for dinner this evening and thought about meeting some people out. We ended up watching King Pin (C) tonight and staying in. We had some rain overnight but it cleared out by Saturday morning.

Saturday (2/21/04) – Mostly sunny with spring-like temperatures today. 60’s H, 30’s L.

I was up by 8am to get ready for the backpacking trip to the Chattooga River this morning. Ashley was up even earlier for volunteer work at the hospital, and Charlie was at the house by 9am as scheduled. Andy called me about 8:45am this morning and decided he wanted to jump in on the trip at the last minute. So Charlie and I packed some gear for Andy, got gas and food at McDonalds, then met Andy at the rest area on I-85 just south of I-985. We made it to the trailhead at SC 107 by noon after a quick stop to get Andy some food. Somehow I got Roger on Sikle’s cell phone and they were in Cashiers. So we dropped off Andy’s truck at SC 107 then took my truck to Burrell’s Ford. The Gomite, Sikle, and The Camel (aka Roger) rolled in within ten minutes of our arrival and we hit the trail by 1pm.

We planned a 5-8 mile hike today, but the group decided to stay at the five mile campsite which was right on the river. We made it there in three hours, set up camp, and hung out around a huge fire. There was a ton of driftwood in the area which made it easy to burn all the garbage the previous group left in the firepit. We hung out around the fire until about midnight, then sacked out for the evening. There were a ton of people camping in this area tonight.

Sunday (2/22/04) – Sunny and nice with temps to 60’s H, 30’s L overnight.

I woke around 6:45am this morning when Rebel wanted to get out of the tent and play with Buddy. He was back an hour later and we all slept until around 9am. The Camel and Sikle were already up and The Operator (aka Charlie) was stirring by the time I climbed out of the tent. It was still chilly, but the sun was out and it was warming up quickly. The Operator recorded 32 degrees on his watch overnight and Sikle said there was frost on the ground when he got up this morning. We cooked up oatmeal and hot chocolate for breakfast and didn’t break camp until noon. The hike out was easier than yesterday, but we still had five miles to hike to the SC 107 trailhead. The Camel, Sikle and The Operator got a fifteen minute lead on us but waited at the intersection with the Bartram Trail at Lick Log Creek. This is the junction of three trails: The Bartram, Chattooga, and Foothills trails and it is a confusing intersection. The Gomite, CA (aka Andy) and I decided to take a twenty minute lunch break here – while the others pushed on to the truck. I walked briefly down to the waterfall and a campsite that we spotted on a previous trip here on September 15, 2001. It’s still a nice area, but I understand that it is frequently used on weekends.

The Gomite, CA and I made it to the Thift Lake parking area in under twenty minutes, but the rest of the group had moved on. So I decided to ditch my pack with the Gomite and CA, and I hiked the last two miles fairly quickly – although it was mostly up hill. Fortunately, I tagged a waypoint on the parking area on my GPS before I left. It would have been very difficult to find this trailhead without the waypoint, and it still took us about thirty minutes to drive to it which was more than I expected.

I rode in the back of CA’s truck with Rebel to get to the Thrift Lake parking area since there wasn’t room up front with four people and four packs in the vehicle. Once we added the Gomite, CA and Buddy to the mix (with two more packs), it was a crowded ride back to the Burrell’s Ford parking lot. The Gomite and I squeezed in the back of the truck with the two dogs and it was a chilly ride to Burrell’s Ford. We made it there by 2:30pm then hit the road within about twenty minutes. CA, The Operator and I stopped in McDonalds for food in Walhalla, then made it back to Atlanta by 6pm.

Ashley’s Dad was here by 6:30pm to take Marta to the Georgia Tech game. That didn’t give me much time to get ready, and I was putting on my shoes when he arrived. #15 Wake beat #18 GT tonight by two points. We got off to an early 17 point lead, but they slowly caught up and tied the game with three minutes left. Fortunately we prevailed and won a third straight game over a ranked team – the first time in school history. Nebil and I made it back to Kayron by 11:30pm after waiting a long time for a Marta train.

Monday (2/23/04) – Partly cloudy with temps to 50’s H, 40’s L. Slept late until nearly 10:30am as did Rebel. Both of us were wiped out from the hike this past weekend. Took him for a walk, then spent some time today unloading all my gear and airing it out overnight. Didn’t have time to work on N2 at all today. Went out briefly to get some CD-R’s (music only) to burn a tune by the La’s called Son Of A Gun. Found it on an old tape and must have gotten it from the Sigma Chi house in the Fall of 1993. Took it to my guitar lesson tonight to figure out the cords.

After the class, I met Lynn, Alec and Ashley’s parents at Hal’s for Alec’s birthday. Had dinner, then cruised back home by 9pm. Pulled some lyrics for a couple songs this evening, played guitar, then crashed by midnight.