In the spirit of Halloween, we decided to hike Blood Mountain. It was a chilly, cloudy, blustery day and felt just like Halloween should feel. Although Blood Mountain is one of the taller mountains in Georgia, it is one of the closest major mountains to where we live. It's located near Dahlonega, which is a great place to visit in and of itself, and we have been there on several other occasions. However, yesterday we were on a timeline (had to get home to watch the FL/GA game- although we totally could have missed that!) so we focused just on hiking.
We started at the ever popular Byron Reece Trailhead off Hwy 19 in Blairsville. We arrived around 10 am and started out. I hiked Blood Mountain about 7 years ago but it was during the summer and everything looked totally different this time of year.
I love the stream that runs along the beginning of the trail and the changes in foliage as the elevation rises. There were still some red and yellow leaves showing through but most of the leaves had fallen. The trail was a little slick due to some light rain and the leaves covering the ground. The trail is very rocky and root filled, so exercise caution if the ground is wet. I actually fell on the way down on a spot that didn't even look that slippery.
One of the things I like most about the Blood Mountain trail is the "pattern" of the trail. It starts off pretty slow and level, giving you time to warm up. The hardest parts are in the middle, briefly, and then the climb to the summit is pretty relaxed. So for me, it doesn't feel strenuous at all. It is a very enjoyable hike.
Since we had the dogs with us, we didn't spend too much time at the summit. It's hard to wrangle two
dogs without someone falling off a cliff. It was also very windy and cold at the top and our sweet Nova was a bit chilly (we forgot to bring her sweater). I would say it was probably 15 degrees colder at the summit than in the parking area. We poked around the "hut" and took some pictures before heading back down. Both Nova and Tennille had a great time climbing around the rocks and exploring. Their dachshund noses are in heaven out in the woods.
All in all, we had a great midday hike and now we can say we officially hiked our first 4000+ peak. We finished around 1:30 pm and made it back home to watch the game, although we should have just stayed in the mountains! The Blue Ridge was looking particularly blue and misty because of the clouds and it was so peaceful.
I'd definitely like to come back again soon and hike further along the Appalachian Trail, camp overnight or visit some of the other recreation areas nearby. Happy November!