Chattooga River Trail – Hike To Dicks Creek Road And Back

This past Saturday, I hiked a section of the Chattooga River Trail in Georgia.  I parked at the trailhead at US 76 and began my hike at about 7:50 am.  The temperature was about 35 degrees at the start and rose to the mid fifties later in the day.  If you’re hiking with someone, you could shuttle vehicles and do this as a point to point hike. Since I was alone, however far I hiked in, I would have to turn around and hike back out.  I wasn’t sure how far I would go.  I had originally intended to do this hike eight weeks ago. Back then, I was considering either hiking to Sandy Ford and back or to Earls Ford and back. The mileage would have been roughly 21 and 26 miles respectively. I hadn’t gotten to do the hike because on Super Bowl Sunday, I ended up going to the ER and as it turns out, I had to have abdominal surgery. This was only my third hike since then.  I had done an easy hike and a moderate hike, but now I was feeling like I wanted to push myself and see how much I could do.  I’m going to be having a second surgery soon and afterwards I won’t be able to do anything for at least four to six weeks, so I’m really anxious to get back in shape as much as possible before then.

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There were a number of wooden footbridges on this section of trail.  Here, there was a double bridge crossing.

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These steps helped with a short but steep climb.

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There was a small waterfall to the left of this bridge.  I couldn’t get a clear picture of it because of the vegetation.

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I crossed this muddy area on these slippery moss covered boulders.

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I found this gnarly old tree interesting looking with all of it’s twisted branches.

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A shot of the trail as it traverses the hillside before disappearing into the shadows.

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The trail, which had followed the ridge for most of the way, came briefly back down to the river at about mile five.

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I had passed a man and woman and their dog on the trail only minutes before arriving at what apparently had been their campsite the night before.  Though their fire was out, some of the embers were still burning. I gathered some leaves and small pieces of wood and got it going again.  I warmed myself and relaxed for about a half an hour before putting the fire back out, grabbing my pack and continuing on.

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Down by the riverbank there were tracks from a couple of different animals.  I think the tracks in the upper left may have been from a possum or raccoon.  I think the other tracks may have been made by a deer.

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This is a picture of the Chattooga River about seven miles north of the start of my hike.

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Here, there were a number of large boulders in the river and along the bank.

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There had been an ice storm in the area in February and as a result there are a lot of trees down across the trail.  In several places I had to climb over, crawl under, or make my way around tree trunks and tangles of branches.

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This bit of trail maintenance looks like it had been done relatively recently.

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Another bridge to cross.  What the picture doesn’t capture is the sounds of the water cascading as it heads downstream.

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This picture was taken through a break in the trees as the trail climbed up and away from the rivers edge.

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This rock overhang was high and went back probably 50 feet or more.  If you look closely you can see where someone has camped and had a fire.

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On my hike out, I passed these wildflowers growing along the trail.  I’m not sure what kind they are.

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A shot of the trail in the late afternoon sun as I approached the end of my hike.

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At the southern end of the trail is this boulder.  Ultimately, I ended up hiking to Dicks Creek Rd where I ate my lunch and took a break before turning around to begin the hike back out.  In all, I hiked approximately 20.35 miles.

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This is a screen shot of the elevation profile of the hike.  As you can see, there was a good bit of climbing and descending. The total elevation gain was a little over 3000 feet. It was an enjoyable hike and I felt pretty good in regards to my strength and stamina.  My only physical complaints were a sore right shoulder and a sore left shin for the last 3 or 4 miles or so.  No time to rest though, I want to do as much as I can during the next couple of weeks.

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