Lookoff Mountain Trip Report – February 20, 2021

Saturday 2/20/21 (Atlanta/Lookoff Mountain) Sunshine with temps to upper 40’s H, mid 20’s L. Mahan reported a low of 25 degrees in Clayton overnight.

Ashley, Will, and I were all up by 8:30am this morning. Will had to meet the bus at Blessed Trinity for a LAX road game at Woodward (that they eventually won 15-2), and I had to meet Alec and Reggie in Brookhaven. Both were riding with me to Black Rock Mountain State Park. Left Alec’s house by 10:05am and drove directly to Clayton where Reggie made a brief stop for a few Miller tall boys.

Roger was already on the trail when we arrived at the lake ~12:15pm, but Pratt and the Snyders were both in the parking area and loading their backpacks. Ate a sandwich, chatted with them, then re-positioned our cars when some church members finished a lake service just beyond the parking area.

The Weasel rolled into the parking area as we were about to hit the trail. So I waited for him while the rest of the group headed up the mountain. Phillip rolled into the parking area about 10 minutes later after a cop clocked him at 84mph just before Tallulah Falls. So the Weasel and I waited on Phillip to load his pack, then we hit the trail.

We had great weather for backpacking today with sunshine, cool temps and a light breeze. Stopped ~1 mile up the mountain to fill my red 2L water bladder, then we finished the climb to Lookoff Mountain passing a few day hikers on the way.

The group was enjoying lunch when we arrived and we debated putting all our tents on this site. Decided to save Mahan and Rob Brown a spot for their planned post-sunset arrival, then Pratt, Phillip, the Weasel, and the Snyders headed for the Laurel Ridge campsite which Pratt booked last week.

Numerous day hikers walked through our site this afternoon including two Asian women that were content to hang out and pluck mushrooms from a nearby log. It was annoying at times – with a well-marked trail that bypassed our campsite nearby – but the day hikers petered out by 4pm.

Both Reggie and Roger had mega-saws and went to work on nearby trees, while I repaired a broken tent pole with help from Alec’s splint tube and some duct tape. By late afternoon, the group gathered at the Lookoff Mountain site and we cracked numerous beers. Tripled the size of our firewood stack, then got an early start on the fie ~5pm.

Once the day hikers cleared the mountain, half our group headed for the overlook to watch the sunset. We had the place to ourself, and snapped some photos of the patches of ice on the rock wall and of the surrounding valley. Then we watched the sun dip below the horizon around 6:20pm.

Mahan and Rob Brown left ATL ~4:10pm after Danny Mahan’s pinewood derby race and were at the base of the mountain by sunset. They wanted to take a short-cut up the side of the mountain, but were stymied by a no trespassing sign and decided to take the main route to the campsite rather than get shot. We were all eating dinner when they finally arrived at 7:30pm and in the dark. There were lots of stars and a bright half-moon this evening, so they rarely used their flashlights – which allowed them to surprise us upon arrival as they walked up to the campfire.

Both Ken and Rob got their tents set up quickly and joined the festivities around the fire. We had the Klondike patching ceremony for Phillip and Rob before Roger sacked out, then enjoyed an evening around the fire. Most of the group made it until after midnight, but the Weasel and I made one last hot liquor drink and finally sacked out at 2:30am.

Sunday 2/22/21 (Atlanta/Lookoff Mountain) Sunshine with warming temps to ~60 H, upper 20’s L.

Roger, Phillip, Pratt, and the Snyders were all up early this morning and hit the trail by the time I crawed from my tent around 8:30am. The new Nemo sleeping pad is easy to blow up and worked great last night, but I managed to misplace my fleece hat and regretted not having it overnight. It was still chilly on the mountain this morning and hovering in the 30’s when I woke.

The remaining group had a leisure morning around the campsite and didn’t hit the trail until around 10am. The Weasel was the lone person at the Laurel Ridge site at this time, but joined us at Lookoff Mountain to hike down the mountain.

Made it off Lookoff Mountain in about 50 minutes, then Alec, Reggie and I got some gas in Clayton and drove through Burger King for lunch. Dropped them off in Brookhaven, then made it home by 2:30pm. The weather was nice this afternoon, so the kids played outside while I cleaned up, watched TV, and took a nap. Woke as the family was headed to church so got dinner ready for them until they returned at 7pm. I filled up on pork chops, mac/cheese, and rice tonight and ended up watching TV with a food coma the rest of the night.

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