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A Day In The Woods--October 18, 2017

Larry and Bob S. took advantage of some free time and a promising day to explore some less frequently used Forest Service roads in the Chattahoochee National Forest

They entered the forest off of Nimblewill Church Road on FS 28-1, went up past Camp Wahsega, then up the hill on FS 80  to its junction with FS-42 (aka Cooper Gap Rd.), north of Camp Merrill. It was an enjoyable ride but nothing new so far. Going west on 42, a ways past the cliffs, they got on FS-69 (Rock Creek Rd) to see what they could see.

FS 69's surface was on par with most better FS roads and allowed a quick ride all the way to the fish hatchery. They stopped there and inspected the many ponds full of different size and color trout (Brook, Brown, Rainbow??) Larry figured this open- to- the-sky area must attract eagles or other raptors. On their way back to the KLR and Ural a few "ranger" vehicles appeared. The two motorcyclists thought they were in for it, as they were in a "Do Not Enter" "Official Vehicles Only" area. Not so, the "rangers" were friendly, telling them them that not only raptors but bears and other hungry ones made it over or through the fences to feast on the fish. They also gave a verbal description of how to get to the swinging bridge over  the Toccoa without running out to Ga 60. It sounded doable (if you could remember all the twist and turns).

 Most sane people get to the bridge on the short ride off of Ga 60. Not them. They took an unmarked road (FS 248) over a small bridge then turned right onto another unmarked "road"(FS 333), forded a stream, and continued on to what they figured was likely near the south side of the bridge (they never saw the gate the rangers promised). They took a chance and hiked down the steep Benton McKay trail to the river and there was the bridge.

After lounging on the bridge for a while, enjoying the sun, they thought about lunch at VanZandts. Again the boring way to get there was to back track to FS 69 and head for Ga 60 and Dial road. But on a map they saw what they thought might be an extension of  FS 333 that seamed to reach Doublehead Gap Road. Then an  adventure began.

As they headed west the "road" looked less and less traveled, eventually leading to a washed out, down hill cut barely wide enough for the Ural.The narrow KLR made it down on the more-or-less stable right side of the cut, but the three wheel  Ural had to ride part of the way down with the sidecar wheel on the higher right side and the bike wheels in the washed out left side ditch, not a good posture for a hack.  Well about half way down the Ural tipped too far and tried to climb the cut's bank, stripping off, as Urals do, the low left muffler. Larry, seeing the situation, walked back up the hill and put his body weight on the side car step and the two made their way down, took out the tools, and re-attached the muffler.

Still not to Doublehead Gap they pushed along not knowing what to expect, but not wanting to turn back up that hill. Glory be, they eventually came to a graveled road that led eventually to Doublehead Gap Road and an easy ride to VanZandts

After a late lunch Bob talked Larry into one more exploration, a road the is  temptingly named Old Dial Road. The lightly used road was paved in Dial but eventually turned to gravel as it skirted the Toccoa and made its swisty way north toward Morganton. About two thirds the way to Morganton it again was paved and soon was stop signed at Ga 60. As it was getting late in the day the two then took Ga 60 back to Dial Road and headed off to home.

It was a fine fine day in the outdoors with just enough adventure to keep one coming back again and again.