Time has been an issue as of late. I've been trying to plan a trip, but things keep getting in the way. I had planned a trip to Southern California, but my work schedule prevented that as well.
Enough of Atlanta. It was time to clear the mind. Only time for an overnight trip. No planning, no preparation. I just jumped in the car and went. I knew I could find a place to lay my head up in Northern Georgia. The weather is nice this time of year.
My first stop was Starbucks. I needed more Via. I was out, and I wanted coffee. :D $10.69 for 12 packs of instant coffee. A little on the steep side, but worth it!
Catastrophe! In my haste, I left a very important piece of gear behind... my quilt. I was over an hour from home. I thought the trip was over before it even began. Plan B, Wal-Mart. I used my trusty iPhone to find the closest Wal-Mart. Dahlonega, GA. Only a slight diversion to my intended destination of Mountain Crossings at Walasi-yi. Once I arrived I was surrounded by a brand name that made my skin crawl. Coleman! :D All I can see is... 4lbs, 3lbs, 2lbs. Apparently Coleman doesn't do UL. 2lbs it is. I begrudgingly dragged the 2lbs of Coleman's synthetic masterpiece to the checkout counter. $64.19 later and the trip was saved. $84.19 total because I got cash back. There were kids at the front door doing a food drive. I can't say no to kids. It's my weakness. Back on the road.
I enjoyed the ride up the mountain to Mountain Crossings. Lots of curvy roads to go fast on. :D The weather couldn't have been better. Little did I know, I should have checked the forecast. Like I said, I just jumped in the car and went. No excuses. I arrived just a few minutes prior to closing. I spoke with one of the employees about where a guy could find a place to park. They suggested I drive north 4/10 of a mile where free parking exists for a quick 2 mile hike up Blood Mountain.
It was close to 6:30pm EST at this point. I knew I hadn't much time before dark. Only two miles and 1800 feet of elevation gain. I knew I had enough time. I made my way to the top. The weather was amazing. Just me and nature. No Atlanta, no distractions. I'm always reminded as to why I love this.
Half way up, I came across a fellow hiker. Believe it or not, he was carrying the LuxuryLite Hiking Staff that transforms into a spear/knife. LOL I had never seen it in real life before. He was also carrying a Miami vice style shoulder rig with two guns, one under each arm. :D Nice guy.
Approximately thirty minutes from beginning my hike, I had reached the top. Short and sweet. The views were amazing.
After reaching the top, I had about two hours to get things set up before dark. I deployed my MLD Grace Solo Cuben Tarp. It was windy, so I set it up for storm conditions with a low pitch. My GG LT4s' set at the lowest setting. I had a hard time finding solid ground for my Ti Shepherd hooks to take hold. A little time and a little effort, and I had a hold that I could trust. Next came the MLD Superlite bivy. Lastly, the monstrosity. The Coleman sleeping bag. I found myself looking around as I pulled it out. I didn't want anyone to see. How embarrassing! :D I quickly shoved it inside my bivy. I was safe... no one had seen it. :D
Dinner was a probar, and a hot cup of coffee that I boiled up in my Ti-Tri. Yum. Glad I made that stop at Starbucks.
The winds continued to pick up, clouds were rolling in. The temperature was dropping, and I knew I was going to be in for a stormy night. Excellent. I sleep better in the rain. Time for dessert. I had packed a Maker's Mark cigar. It was dark, so I grabbed my Photon Freedom Micro and made my way to the overlook. Here are a few photos I found online to show the Shelter and overlook. It was too dark to take photos of my own.
I climbed up to the top, laid down and enjoyed my cigar. No stars, but the moon shined through the clouds from time to time. It was an enchanting evening. The rain began to fall.
By 10pm it was time to retire for the evening. I really hate Coleman. How pretentious i've become. :D But it did save the trip, so I'll deal with it. I enjoyed the sound of rain against cuben and dozed off. A perfect ending to a perfect day.
I was awoken by thunder at 3am. The winds were howling. 40mph gusts were testing the shepherd hook's hold. I checked the stakes and everything was holding. It was pouring down rain, I was dry. Back to bed.
I awoke again at 7:30am. The rain was still coming down, but for the most part things had died down. I donned my Rab Momentum Jacket and began to break camp. First things first... coffee. :D Water was on the boil and camp was broken. I noticed my tarp had taken a little damage. A small tear near the ridge line grommet. Nothing major. I'll also point out that I never seam sealed the tarp. It never leaked. Even after hours of hard rain. I enjoyed my coffee and another probar. It was time to head back down.
No way to take pictures this morning. Visibility was 0/0. It was difficult to even find the trail. All packed up and ready to go, I adjusted my trekking poles for descent. Catastrophe! I couldn't get one of my LT4 poles to lock! I tried everything. Not a good thing for a guy with a bad left knee. This was my first time using them and I guess things happen. I'll have to call GG on Monday to get a replacement.
I made my way down and back to the car. What a fun trip. It was short, but it was nice to get away even for just one night. I drove back towards Atlanta, and made just one last top. Danny's Restaurant in Dahlonega, GA for a hearty breakfast. No better way than to end a trip.