Now that it’s almost spring, I figured I’d finally write about my one and only brush with snow this season. Georgia could definitely throw a late snow storm our way, but I’m betting we’ll just continue to get torrential rain as we move into spring. After the holidays, my hiking ladies and I were feeling kinda stir crazy at work so we decided to plan a backpacking trip for a long weekend in January. But, it was January in Georgia which means it could be 70 and sunny or 20 and snowing. That particular weekend called for lows in the teens so we all agreed it might not be a good choice to backpack. Fortunately, we got a hook up through a friend of a friend, who let us stay in their cabin in North Carolina. So all was not lost!
So when you ask 6 hiking ladies to actually choose places to go hike on a long weekend, of course we want to do it all. We wanted to see waterfalls, fire towers, the Appalachian Trail, the Great Smoky Mountain National Park- you name it, we wanted to do it. But we narrowed our focus to a few waterfalls to start out with and that’s when the real adventure began. The cabin was located near the border of NC, GA, and TN so we set out to find some waterfalls in Tennessee. Unfortunately, the weather was pretty bad on the first day and we had a hard time finding the trailhead. It was raining and we were driving down a very rocky, muddy road that honestly didn’t really even qualify as a road. So we abandoned that mission and went to a brewery in town instead to plan out the rest of the weekend.
Day Two went much better! The weather was very cold but sunny and we hiked a beautiful stretch of the Appalachian Trail to Siler Bald. And there was just enough snow on the ground give everything a nice frosty look, without making hiking too difficult. Siler Bald was a really neat mountain. The views were unreal and we all joked we felt like we were on Mount Everest. We don’t have very many wide open “balds” in Georgia like Siler. After hiking back down, we then drove to the trailhead for the Wesser Fire Tower. This isn’t a long hike, but it is very steep and we were hiking fast because it was late in the day. The Wesser tower no longer has a cabin on top, just a open platform, so it was really cold and windy! We contemplated staying to watch the sun set but with the wind whipping around, we went back down pretty quickly. The views all around were stunning, particularly a lake I spotted off in the distance under the shadow of the mountains. It’s crazy how just a little more elevation compared to the Georgia mountains makes such a dramatic difference.
On the drive back to the cabin, we spotted so many waterfalls right along the highway which sort of made up for our earlier waterfall failure. It was getting dark, so we didn’t stop at each one but we did pull over for a particularly nice looking fall. As pretty and prominent as this waterfall was, I still have not been able to identify the name of it. I really do need to brush up on my North Carolina hiking and waterfalls. Fortunately, I have Asheville Trails to help me out! I would love to come back to this area in summer and spend more time exploring all the waterfalls.
Back at the cabin, we ate some well-deserved dinner (why does everything taste so good after hiking?), enjoyed some drinks, and maybe engaged in a little hiking lady talk. We may have also watched “Wild” because you can’t have a girls weekend without a Reese Witherspoon movie! The cabin didn’t have internet, cable, or cell service and it was nice to really get away. I met all these ladies through Girls Who Hike, which is web based of course (kind of ironic, since we spent the weekend mostly off the grid). I continue to be so grateful for the connections I’ve made in the hiking community and most of them do trace back to online channels. But once you get out from behind the screen and actually hike together, or drive down terrible roads together, or get lost looking for waterfalls together…that’s when the real connections are made.