Sunday, January 27, 2013

Summit # 27 - Blood Mountain, GA

I headed up to one of Georgia's most famous peaks this morning and enjoyed 5 mile out and back to the summit of Blood Mountain. At 4,458 feet it is the highest point on the Georgia section of the Appalachian Trail and the sixth highest peak in the state. I was excited to have a clear, cold day to take some pictures at the summit with my Nikon DSLR until I reached the top and realized that I had foolishly failed to charge the battery before leaving home. Hence the grainy, blurry cell phone pictures you will see below. They will give you some idea of how beautiful it is on the summit on a clear day anyways. On the bright side I have an excuse to head back up there with a fully charged camera (not that I needed one). I had my first good fall of the year today - a tumbling, thundering, arms and legs flailing embarassment of a fall. My first reaction was to be sure that I didn't manage to actually injure myself (I didn't, if you don't count my ego) and my second was to look around and see if there was anyone around that had seen my glorious tumble (thankfully there wasn't). I thought for a second my dog Jax may have been laughing but I figured the secret was good with him. Of course I'm blabbering about it on the internet so I guess it's not a secret anyways.

The AT winds it's way up Blood Mtn.

one of many great views from the summit

Blood Mountain shelter, built in 1933

I got a nice chuckle from this
One of us got a nice nap on the way home

Monday, January 21, 2013

Summit # 20 - Medlin Mountain, SC

A few buddies and I spent the weekend hiking the 20 mile Foothills/Fork Mountain/Chattooga Loop located in the Ellicott Rock Wilderness along the Chattooga River. In the process we climbed Medlin Mountain, which at 3,143 ft. is the 12th highest peak in South Carolina. This is our 12th consecutive MLK Weekend backpacking trip and over the years we have seen a little bit of everything - icy mountain roads, car accidents, sub-zero temperatures, "interesting" locals and all sorts of wildlife. One year we even hiked 9 miles in the wrong direction - I'll save that story for a future blog. This year we had a great trip and my only regret is forgetting to take a picture of our table at Wendy's afterwards. My buddy Casey shot some video with his GoPro (an awesome gadget that I now must have) so I'll have some videos to post at some point but for now here's some pictures from our trip:

King Creek Falls

Our camp on Night 1 along the Chattooga

start of the hike up Medlin Mountain
heavily wooded summit of Medlin Mountain
here we are probably talking about food

entering the Ellicott Rock Wilderness
camp Night 2
thanks to my buddy Joe ( for the awesome travel wine
fire picture
one of several stream crossings made difficult because of recent heavy rains

finished up back along the thundering Chattooga

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Summit # 14 - Springer Mountain (1-13-2013)

I woke up early this morning and made the 90 minute drive up to Springer Mountain, a 3,782 foot peak that makes up the southern terminus of the famous Appalachian Trail. On a clear day there are great views from the summit but today was foggy and drizzly. I was grateful to have the short mile-long hike up to the summit all to myself (I suppose the Atlanta Falcons playoff game later in the afternoon may have had something to do with that). The plaque and first of an estimated 160,000 white blazes announces the start of the trail that travels 2,179 miles north to Mt. Katahdin in Maine.

AT Trail Register

Had to make my own entry in the register

First few steps on the trail descending from the summit

Springer Mtn. Shelter near the summit

Sunday, January 6, 2013

On January 1, 2013 I hiked up Kennesaw Mountain, a small appalachian peak near the otherwise crowded suburb of Marietta, GA. I have done so every day since and will continue to do so until I have climbed a mountain 365 times in the year 2013. I have plans to climb as many different mountains as possible over the year and already have some picked out in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and of course north Georgia. Rain or shine, snow or heat, I will hike. Figuring that I may miss a day or two due to illness or injury, I will double up on other days until I have accomplished my goal. My only criteria is that 1. the mountain must have an official name and 2. I must hike up to the top of the peak. No driving to a parking lot at the top and walking the last few feet.  I can't say for sure exactly where or when I hatched this idea but it was probably on a hike somewhere, daydreaming with my ipod on. Why do this you ask? I have several reasons. First is the simple reason that I love hiking. Nothing makes me feel better or helps me to figure out life's complexities quite like an hour or two in the woods. I'm always calmer, happier, and more content after a day on a mountain. Those of you who spend time in the outdoors know exactly what I'm talking about. Second is that I'm now in my mid 30's. Admittedly I have not exactly been an ironman the past 15 or so years (those who know me are laughing right now) and this is as good a time as any to challenge myself a bit and try to ward off Father Time as long as possible. The third (and most important) reason is simple - cancer. We all have been touched by this disease at some point or another. The medical community has made amazing strides in diagnosis and treatment of cancer but there is still much work to be done. Somewhere out there is a cure waiting to be discovered. More dollars equals more research. So this brings me to my main point. I am hiking up a mountain 365 times in the year 2013 to raise money for the American Cancer Society, a fantastic organization that works to find a cure for the disease and helps those that are currently fighting it. I have struggled back and forth with a goal amount to set and have decided on $500. Of course I'd love to raise much more but if I can raise $500 over the course of the year, I'm happy. I will be blogging here periodically when something moves me to do so. You can track my progress daily at So if you have a few extra dollars lying around and want to donate to a great (and tax deductible) cause, please visit my donation page listed at the top right side of the page. Thanks so much!