Tuesday, April 17, 2012

By popular request

Hi everyone,
Throughout my travels people often have asked me if I have a blog where they could read more about my travels. I finally decided to give in. Enjoy.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Pinhoti Trail Conclusions

The Georgia Pinhoti has a lot of roadwalk. If I did it again I would probably use a mountain bike, since the whole Georgia side is open to bikes.

The entire trail isn't used very much, except for portions around Cheaha. I might have been off-season, but there weren't even many locals out.

In general the trail tread was well maintained, even with a seeming lack of hikers, so props to the maintainers.

Nice trail angels, I think I like the spontaneity and unexpectedness of it on smaller trails, compared to the AT where it is almost overdone (not that I'm complaining about free food)

No brilliant thoughts, just one more leg of the ECT completed. Also be sure to check out all my pictures from the trip

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Pinhoti Trail Day 20

I got a nice early start today, due to traffic on the road. The rest of the trail was just roadwalk to get to Flagg Mountain. On the way I had two different people tell me I was going the wrong way. Apparently all the locals are used to people only going nobo, and they thought I had gotten turned around.

The terminus was pretty confusing, no real sign saying the trail ended. The trail right now goes up Flagg Mountain on a road, then turns off of the road onto another trail and ends there, with the blazing switching over to yellow blazes. There is a kiosk, but it doesn't say "End of Pinhoti" or anything like that. Anyway, I followed that yellow trail for a ways, then schwacked up the mountain, found some old abandoned cabins, and cut across to the Flagg Mountain Fire Tower and decided that was good enough.

I ended up taking the road back down Flagg Mountain to get to a road with some traffic, hoping to hitch a ride out to civilization. I had just made up a destination sign, when a guy in a pickup pulled over and told me that I was faster than they had thought. I was quite confused, having no clue who this was, or why they thought I would be slower. He identified me and said that I had talked to someone a few days ago about getting a ride out. I had no clue who he was talking about, and I didn't recognize the name he gave, but hey, if he's offering me a ride out I'll take it. He ended up giving me a ride over Flagg Mountain, and pointed out several details about new trail being built in the area.

On the way back to his house I finally realized that the hiker 'BCM' that I had met a few days earlier in Cheaha had arranged to have me picked up. He had recruited Kent to help me out by taking me back to his house and letting me clean up. Kent is active in the local trail maintaining groups, and a wonderful trail angel. Also, it turns out that I had spent last night about a quarter mile from his house. Instead of sleeping by the bridge in Stewartville, I could have walked over and spent the night at his house.

Once I was cleaned and very well fed, BCM drove over after he got out of work in Birmingham to pick me up. He offered to take me to a bus station, either Oxford (closer), or Birmingham (more convenient for him). He ended up taking me to the Birmingham greyhound, and the end of my Pinhoti trip. He made probably a 2 hour round trip to help me out, all because I mentioned in passing to him on the trail that I was planning on hitching a ride after I was done. Definite major trail angel work right there.

360.7 miles down

Monday, April 2, 2012

Pinhoti Trail Day 19

A few miles into today I hit a seasonal stream, that had a bit of water from all the rain the past few days, so I got lucky there. Then I passed through Bull Gap, which was considered the end of the trail previously. Fortunately, new trail had just been opened, adding another 12 miles of trail and eliminating a bunch of roadwalk. The new trail is more ridgeline walk, so it was still completely dry, but at least I didn't have to dodge traffic.

The rest of the day was roadwalk, but I did pass by another Dollar General near the end of the day, so I stopped for dinner and a light resupply.

I ended up camping near a bridge right by the road for the night, but I knew that it was still quite a ways to get to anywhere that I could legally camp.

346.7 miles down

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Pinhoti Trail Day 18

This morning I met a scout troop from southern Alabama. They were out getting ready for Philmont, which is where I will be working for the summer. One of their leaders was apparently the head of the Conservation Department the first summer that I worked there, when I was on a conservation work crew. Also, one of the other leaders has a son who has been working at Philmont the passed few years, so I'm sure I've run into him as well.

I stopped for lunch at a large waterfall, that was engorged with all the rainfall of the passed few showers, so it was nice to look at. Unfortunately the trail forded the swollen river just downstream of the falls, which wasn't very fun. It was a nice spot for lunch, especially since it was the last reliable water for the next 26 miles or so. I filled up what I could, and drank as much as I could, so I would be all set.

The rest of the day was spent climbing up to a ridgeline, and then following that ridgeline for the next 14 miles or so. The whole afternoon I was within 100 yards of the top of the ridgeline, just heading south with the mountains.

322.7 miles down