Today I took a break – and walked a few miles up Blood Mountain. Its one of my favorite day hikes. At this point it only takes me a few hours and gives me what I need: elevation, exercise, fresh air and a view to contemplate the big picture. Blood Mountain sits in the Chattahoochee National Forest in north Georgia, not far from Blairsville.
Its a minor peak at 4,458 feet – walking up from the trailhead at US highway 19/129 near the The Walasi-Yi Center – Mountain Crossings is only 2.5 miles with an elevation gain of 1,800 from the Byron Reece Memorial trailhead, 1,300 if you go from Neels Gap and the Walasi-Yi Center . Neels gap is the only place on the AT that goes through a man made structure – built by the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) in the thirties. Blood Mountain is the highest peak on the AT in Georgia. Interesting factoid – my grandfather, Anthony Capizzi who is 95 years old worked in the CCC when he was a teen.
I walked up to the peak to find that they are renovating one of the oldest shelters on the AT – a stone edifice that has been around since 1934 when the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built it. I’ve provided some shots here of it in 2006 and then today under renovation. This is one of my favorite places as so many interesting parts of my experience on the AT have happened here. My first walk in the woods on the AT with Andrew Kaplan back in 2002 culminated here. Daniel and I have come up here many times and I first saw the character in his soul as he walked around cleaning up litter as a tiger scout handing it to a local ranger – because he wanted to. Years later we lumber up as two experienced hikers and campers – just plain comfortable out there. Now its a day hike for me – a respite from things that matter to things that really matter. My big picture, eagle, horizon view; contrasted to the respite I have in my back yard, insect view, looking inward and contemplating how every day counts.
Byron Reece Memorial 2:08PM, 3,125ft
Walked 2.5 miles to Blood Mountain Summit and Shelter 4,461ft, 2.4 Miles – arrived at 3:00PM
Walked 2.5 miles back to Trailhead, arrived at car 3:50PM
Its Shabbot – and today as we lit the candles, had our wine and partake of the bread – I thanked God for all we have and the day of rest – and I reflected on the day. Thanking God for the health I have, the family in front of me and the freedom to enjoy all that nature provides. And I thanked the veterans who kept this country free – for you and for me.