How far is it to Suches, Georgia?
This trip for me was about 142 miles, give or take, seeing how I made such a circuitous route to get there. I wanted to check on a few things along the way and I wanted to see the beautiful mountains of North Georgia. The outstanding scenery did not let me down!
Just along the way, I saw rambling creeks and rivers, wild deer, a black cat (bigger than normal), incredible vistas of mountains and valleys. The weather was a bit wet and cloudy at first, but after just a little while, it cleared to a wonderfully mild, clear and pleasant day. The temperature was perfect!
The purpose of my journey was to visit an old friend who had recently moved to the mountains to, I think, “Get away from it all!” He and his lovely wife had bought a very nice, furnished, mountain property, all surrounded by nature and not far from the AT, or aka Appalachian Trial at Woody’s Gap, one of the stopping off places along the 2,155.1 mile walking trail that extends from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Katahdin Mountain in the state of Maine!
What a national treasure this old walking trail is, even now in 2017! It has been the subject and nemesis of many a wayfaring stranger and hiker, from young to old. They say, if you have lost your way in life, you can find it again on the AT! With that in mind, my friend Jerry and I put our feet to the test and walked a small portion of the trail at Woody’s Gap! The very first discovery we made was a snake right on the path, just starting out! A small harmless yellow garter neck snake, but a snake nevertheless. Wow, what a start!
A short ways in we met north bound hikers coming out seeking a nice respite from the trail at Woody’s Gap and three days of intensive hiking. One of those guys was Mike, a brand new graduate of Indiana University, who was on his way to Maine, a thru hiker they are called, as opposed to a day or section hiker. His hiking buddy Tyler, was close (about a mile) behind and bringing up the rear, as they say.
As it worked out, we offered to go and get pizza for the two hikers from a close by little store which catered to passing hikers and a small local trade. It was about a mile or so away, which seemed like three, up there in the mountains. By the time we got finished, we had made about three trips to the trading post, bought, sold, delivered, two pizzas, then another third pizza, swindled ourselves $10, got ripped off, refunded money to Mike, went back and got our pizza and came out into the parking lot, and Jerry says, I am still $10 short!?! Oh, I said, I forgot to give you my $10 for the pizza, that I was purchasing for us, having discovered that the vendor had not over charged us, but had rather charged us for all three pizzas to begin with!!! Oh, now we are even and set! So much for high finance in the mountains along the AT!
In appreciation for our kind efforts, Mike agreed to send us pictures taken along the AT of vistas we might only dream about for now! A pretty good trade and a very gracious thing on his part! So we had done our “Good Deed” and had made it a happy day for a couple of new found friends off to see the woods!
Later, Jerry and I, took our pizza to High Valley Airport, 2800 ft elevation, the highest airport in Georgia, grass field and all, where we met Keith, from Mississippi, an itinerant motorcycle rider. He travels up and brings his bike in his pick-up truck and stays, on the honor system, in one of the little cabins provided there. He has done this solo for a number of years! Wow! Good for him!
The three of us, have a nice little pizza picnic there on an outside picnic table overlooking the small airfield, renown for hosting the Annual Smokey Mountain Cub Fly In, in the beautiful month of October each year. Jerry and I, both being pilots, and Cub Owners, have a most curious interest in this little airfield. We have a great time there, sharing stories with our new friend Keith, and move on into the late evening toward sundown. No other people and no airplanes today!
After late night conversations and a good night’s sleep, we arise early and I, by myself, head off north toward Blairsville and Vogel State Park. Leaving the sleepy little town of Suches, was sad, but, one day soon, I will be back. Meanwhile the wonderment of the mountains continued to open up as I traveled the small, curvy road to Vogel State Park, in what I call, coming in the back door by way of Lake Winfield Scott State Park. At Vogel, I had a wonderful early morning visit and enjoyed a second cup of nice warm coffee as I overlooked the peaceful mountain lake. One of the last times I was there was on my honeymoon in 1969 with my first wife, mother of my oldest daughter. A four inch snow covered the entire park with the quaint little log cabins musicly staccatoed in the woods. It was then, and will always be, a fairy land of wonderment!
Next down the road, was Dahlonega, Georgia, heading back south, and all the enticing things that a small college, mountain town can offer, like the North Georgia College, the little airport, and the fabulous “Gold Museum!” I could share an entire story about that and having a delightful lunch on the veranda of the Bourbon Bar & Grill, as I overlooked the town square!
And, how at the airport, I met an older experienced flight instructor who was out cutting the grass at his hanger, with a little push mower. I told him, it was about 40 years ago that I had flown into that airport, in my little Ercoupe 415-C, and how my friends picked me up and we spent the entire day in Dahlonega and Cleveland. By late that afternoon, they took me back, we said our good-byes and I was off back to the Big “A” Atlanta and my home field at Charlie Brown, aka Fulton County Airport.
Oh, those were the days, that set men free and all the world was ours to see and explore! The only thing then was to ask for more!
See you next time!