Can you tell one of my new year's resolutions is to write more? Just kidding, I don't really believe in making resolutions. I just change stuff whenever the mood strikes.
I was off work the day after Christmas and it didn't really seem like anyone else was, so I went hiking by myself. I finally got in another 4000+ mountain in Georgia! I drove up to Sky Valley and hiked Rabun Bald. I love how the GPS informed me when I was crossing into North Carolina and back into Georgia.
I started my hike at Beegum Gap, which is essentially on a narrow road with mountain houses all along it, so you have to be cautious when parking.
It was a very cold day, probably a high under 40 degrees and fairly windy but the sun was out so it wasn't too bad. There was a ice on parts of the trail though and I saw a lot of cool icicle formations. The trail is fairly easy and steadily gains elevation, no major ups or downs. It took me 2 hours on the nose to finish and that was with spending about half an hour at the top.
Aside from the stunning views at the top, I was most impressed with the amazing rhododendron tunnels along nearly the entire trail. I would love to come back when they are blooming. Rhodies are one of my favorite plants and sadly ours were crushed during a recent snow storm (still not really sure how since they are very sturdy plants).
I only saw 5-6 people along the entire trail and I met a nice photographer at the top who gave me a DVD about the Chattooga River, which I have not watched yet, but am looking forward to because I would like to explore the Chattooga more in the future.
I can honestly say I have not experienced a more serene environment in a long time. There was absolutely no noise aside from the few people I encountered and the sound of a leaf blower once I got closer to the start of the trail. I've never experienced silence like this before except when I went to Mammoth Caves as a child. Truly amazing.