Blood Mountain in Three Seasons
One of the main reasons I love hiking is that it’s never boring. I don’t even mean the excitement of reaching a new peak or seeing some cool wildlife. I mean, you can hike a trail in spring that looks totally different in fall. You can hike to a waterfall that was barely a drizzle in 2009 (thanks, drought) and is now a raging river strong enough to sweep you away. Heck, you can hike on a foggy day and not even know what your surroundings are, only to discover mountain overlooks on a sunny day. And since I hike a lot, I have the opportunity to rediscover trails each time I hike them. I always love seeing completely new places, but I can easily hike the same trail over and over again and see something new each time.
One such place is Blood Mountain. The first time I hiked Blood Mountain was in the middle of summer, on a date no less. It was the first mountain I ever hiked in Georgia back in 2009. Yeah, I know meeting a stranger on the internet and going off into the woods is not the greatest idea- at least it was just as crowded then as it is now. It was hot, but beautiful, and I remember thinking it wasn’t that hard for my Florida legs. The next time I went to Blood Mountain, it was several years later on Halloween with James and our dogs. It was a perfectly gloomy, chilly day and the foliage was bright red that year. We hiked fast in order to get home to watch football. And most recently, I hiked Blood Mountain on a beautiful spring day with Girls Who Hike. We had members from both the Georgia and Alabama chapters at this event, so it was fun sharing one of Georgia’s most noteworthy mountains with our AL neighbors.
The day started out cool, but warmed up quickly. There weren’t too many wildflowers yet, but the buds were there and the birds were chirping. There was also water in places I’ve never seen water before, due to all the rain we’ve had. It was an absolutely perfect day, as far as weather goes. We also met dozens of thru-hikers since we were there right in the middle Appalachian Trail kick-off season. It was really cool talking to them and hearing about where they are from. It’s crazy to me to think so many people start off the Appalachian Trail never having hiked on it before. I take for granted I live an hour from the trail.
We had a great hike, soaking in all the sunshine and fresh air, plus great conversations and friendship. After the hike, we stopped by Mountain Crossings just up the road from the trailhead. I had actually never stopped there before, despite driving past it dozens of times. It’s an amazing store, not to mention a beautiful old stone building with the Appalachian Trail going right through it. I bought a few booklets about snakes and wildflowers to keep in my backpack. After that, a few of us went to Gustavo’s in Dahlonega where I enjoyed my go-to after hike cheat meal, Pasta Primavera and a Bold Rock cider. I always like to support local businesses!
Each time I’ve done Blood Mountain it’s been from the Byron Reece trailhead, although I’d love to do an alternate route at some point. So I guess that will be my next variation on Blood Mountain and maybe in winter, just to mix it up even more.