September 2022 - Tray Mountain Rendezvous

in 2022 Articles

On a wonderfully crisp September day (yes, fall IS coming!), Larry and Dave rendezvoused with Mel from Athens at the Chick-fil-A in Cleveland, GA. From there, it was only a short hop N thru the mountains to Unicoi Gap where temps were only in the mid sixties! As they descended the gap, they peeled off onto Indian Grave Gap Rd and quickly arrived at a wide water crossing. Sorry, no time for pics. They continued to the camping area at Indian Grave Gap where the Appalachian Trail passes thru before heading UP to Tray Mtn (highest elevation on the AT in GA). They headed up the Tray Mtn forest service (FS) road which parallels the AT. Along the way, they stopped at the Cheese Factory campsite on the AT. It’s a beautiful, open and relatively flat area to camp, with water, in an area with precious little flat terrain and, at the turn of the prior century, was a small goat farm. Again, no pics, but the Googler can assist with images and explanation. I always chuckle when I think of it because it reminds of the time our scout troop camped here and one young scout was bitterly disappointed because he thought we were actually going to a CheeseCAKE Factory!

As they continued up Tray Mtn Rd, they encountered a train of about a dozen Jeeps descending a particularly steep and rocky section of FS – not much room for error here! At the Tray Mtn trailhead, we decided Dave’s Triumph Bonneville T90 was probably the only “light scrambler” of its type this deep in the woods, ever! After resting a bit, their choices to continue were reduced by a third when they found the Tray Mtn FS road heading down to Helen was now gated (apparently for some time, judging by the weed growth). Oh well, they continued N on Corbin Creek FS which turned out to be a truly “long and winding road” – all downhill and very fun. When they reached GA 75, then went N a bit and picked up a road none had ridden before – Owl Creek Rd – and took it S to Wolf Pen Gap. Turned out to be an especially beautiful road in an especially beautiful area – add it to your list.

From there it was back to 75 and down to Helen for lunch. Fortunately, the Oktoberfesters hadn’t yet taken over the town! After a nice lunch at Betty’s General Store, the guys split up in Helen with Mel heading back to Athens and Larry and Dave back home via Gainesville. Never knew Gainesville could be so confusing to get through, but all made it home by dinner. Around 210 miles for the day. Join us next month for a one-night camping trip to TWO in great fall weather. This event should coincide with the True Grit 50cc rally, a real hoot to watch. Also doable as a car camping trip for those so inclined.