|This hike to check on and/or replace my flag atop Cowpen Mountain was extra special this spring because |
grandsons Garrett and Justice were coming along with me. Garrett loves to hike and has done several with me
including a gruelling 12 mile one we did last year in the Congaree National Park. Justice on the other hand, is not
quite sure about hiking -- has done a few short easy ones, but nothing like the one today.
We set out early after grabbing some bacon, egg, and cheese biscuits at the local McDonald's and soon were
zooming up I-575 towards Blue Ridge, GA. Nothing but happy faces and lots of laughter filled our ears as we
talked and jammed out with the XM Radio --
everything from hard rock, blues, bluegrass, opera, and the "Shadow."
Soon we were passing the "Pig Hill of Fame" in Ellijay. Out behind Colonel Poole's BBQ Restaurant right along
the highway, there is a hill covered in thousands of tiny signs, each shaped like a pig, that has names on them.
For five bucks, your name can be there too :-)
After a final pit stop at the McDonald's in Blue Ridge, we headed north on GA 5 until we found old GA 2 and
once on it, headed west towards the Cohutta Wilderness. About halfway there, we came to a complete stop as
the road was closed. A gentlemen came over to the and said trees and power lines were down across the
road and the power company had the road closed to traffic.
He asked were we were headed and I told him that we were headed for Three Forks Mountain. He stood there
a minute, scratched his beard and finally said, "Yes sir, you'll hav ta go back yonder to Lickskillet Road, take
yourself a left then on a ways to a small road on yer left, then take yourself another left and
follow it fer a bit till you get to a paved road.
Take yourself another left and then come back this a ways til you T-bone into another paved road.
That'll be this here road and you'll just be a few hundred yards from right whar we're a talking right now.
Take yourself a right at that T-bone and you're gone!"
I was smiling the whole time he spoke. He was an honest, God-fearing man who after he saw the "way" in his
mind, he gave us the directions that he could "see." 15 minutes later, after taking my left turns and wandering
around some very back roads, we were on our way again on old GA 2.
Soon we had reached Watson's Gap and after a few pictures by the sign there, we headed for Three Forks
Mountain on the dirt and gravel Forest Service road. We passed by several overlooks with fantastic views and
then stopped on the road by the Jacks River Field Campground. Here, while the boys checked out the beaver
dams on Jacks River (just a tiny stream near its headwaters) I played around with my new Personal Satellite
Tracking device and made sure it was still synced up with the GPS satellites and sending a special tracking
message every 10 minutes. Deanna and my son and others, can go to a special web page and
see in almost real time on a special Google Map, where I am while hiking.
Loaded back up, we zipped pass Dyer Mountain Cemetery (old church, cemetery, and picnic shelter there) and
started our final climb up the mountains to reach our goal. A short time later, I stopped the Suburban to show
the boys Cowpen Mountain in the distance through the trees. It looked so tall and lonely.
A short time later, we arrived at the parking lot at Three Forks Mountain. If the old man had not given us
directions on how to get around the blocked road, we probably would have just gone back home. To reach this
same point (parking lot) from another direction, we would have to back track all the way down to
Ellijay and then come from there.
That little side trip would have been about 50 miles.