I haven’t updated my blog enroute because I’ve been busy having fun and/or managing my vacation life. It’s been a great ride. After regrouping in Dahlonega I managed to set out again on Tuesday morning. My first stop will be Dukes Creek Falls.
The trailhead for the falls is off of the Richard Russell Parkway. The trail is not well marked. When you descend the wooden stairs on the platform after thousand feet or so, go left at the creek instead of right.
Up the road a piece was really the best camping and best waterfall of the trip.
Raven Cliff Falls were spectacular. The trail to the falls follows the creek thru hundreds of cascades and pretty pools for two and a half miles. But I’m getting ahead of myself. First I needed a campsite. And to that end, the trail to the falls (and camping) was challenging for my loaded bike. But I managed to get it to a campsite and was very pleased with the outcome.
I locked my bike to a tree and set off down the trail. The walk to the falls is a five mile round trip. It’s varied and beautiful the whole way. The falls are a collection of many cascades and spread out. The area is breathtaking. It’s also impossible to capture in a picture. This is just a shot of me standing next to a little part of it.
Definitely go all the way up! The climb gets steep at the end and for the last couple hundred feet it looks like there’s nothing more to see (although no originating top of the falls has quite made itself visible). But persist and you find that the rocks make a 90 degree turn near the top of the falls, with this chute being the very top. It’s cool and misty on my face and feels so nice.
I know you have no scale here. Those rocks are BIG ok?
I got back to camp and tried out my new pot with a load of split lintels which turned out yummy. I finished getting camp setup while they cooked.
I had a really nice sleep by the sound of the creek, with this whole place to myself.
In the morning I filtered water from the creek and headed out to climb hog pen gap. This is known as a challenging climb among the sport riding crowd. Sometimes the hills run at 12-14% grade. I figure I can get off and push if I need to for a short section, or just turn around and go a different way.
I spent a lot of time at barely more than 3.5 mph but I managed to climb the whole thing! But this feels like it must be near the steepest grade I could hold for very long.
Here’s just some pics with captions for the rest. It was all good – I’m just low on time.
Blairsville fiddle shop.
Needs a roof more than anything I own!
Bought a jacket at Walmart. Headed for Desoto Falls.
I think that’s some of what I climbed at hog pen gap.
Came down 129 and climbed Neel Gap.
Hiked to Desoto Falls and camped there.
Headed for Suches via Turners Corner.
It’s cloudy and cool and misty. In other words perfect weather to climb to Woody Gap.
I was going to see the swinging bridge but that will have to wait for another time. It’s Friday and I need to position myself to make it home by Sunday and still be enjoying the ride. I’m heading down towards Ellijay with some quality time next to Tocoa River.
I’m apprehensious about getting to Ellijay at a reasonable hour. I don’t know these roads and what challenges they have. But so far so good!
I come out on 76 not a hop skip and a jump from where mom used to live.
When I got to Ellijay I passed a bike shop with a nice crowd that flagged me down for a photo op.
Got a room at the Ellijay Inn and had a nice dinner on this 2nd floor balcony downtown.
Headed for Dawson Forest to spend my last night.
Riding down the road and starting up a hill, I encountered a man coming the other way that asked me to stop and chat. The man was Jack Fussel and we talked for a while. Jack is a long distance runner. We had a nice time sharing a comradery that’s not to be found everywhere.
Dawson Forest was full of hunters. I road on and got a room in Cumming where I am now. Tomorrow I ride home. It’s been SO good.