The Adventurous Adventures of Lil Henz II – Appalachian Trail Edition

Jenna has been wanting to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail but finding an open weekend has been a bit of a challenge until earlier last week when ConnieLou said “Hey, Jenna has been wanting to go hiking on the Appalachian Trail, Ashley is going to be out of town for the weekend and I’m going to lunch and shopping with the YHC girls on Saturday, why don’t y’all go this weekend?” Now I’m no dummy, when ConnieLou tells me to go play in the woods, I go play in the woods, no questions asked.  Of course, when I asked Jenna if she wanted to go, she had no objections so I began making plans and arrangements. I wasn’t a bit surprised when Jenna told me that Lil Henz II, aka Henry, wanted to go too.

In order to avoid taking two cars or arranging a shuttle we decided on a day hike. After consulting with friends Dr.s Paul Arnold and Rob Dussler, both professors at Young Harris College and avid hikers themselves, we decided on hiking from the Deep Gap trailhead in North Carolina up to the top of Standing Indian Mountain and back down. I also made arrangements for us to ‘camp’ at my super-secret camping spot in Young Harris Friday night so we could avoid a four-hour drive to the trailhead Saturday morning.

With plans and arrangements made all we had left to go was pack up and watch the weather forecast which called for a 20 to 30 percent chance scattered afternoon and evening showers and thunderstorms from Friday through the weekend. In my book that’s a 70 to 80 percent chance that the weather will be just fine. We packed up Thursday night and Jenna and Henry went to work with me Friday so we could hit the road and head north as soon as I could escape, errrrr, leave a few minutes early from the office.

By about 2:30 Friday afternoon I was finished with what I needed to accomplish for the day so we jumped in the car and headed up GA 400. We weren’t in any hurry so we decided to make a couple of stops along the way.

Our first stop was at a local ‘outdoor outfitter’ up the highway near Dawsonville. We didn’t have any real needs but it’s pretty unusual for me to walk into an outfitter shop and not have something beg to go home with me, even if it’s just a map or maybe a t-shirt. Since we were completely ignored from the time we walked into the shop to the time we left ten or fifteen minutes later, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t have any intentions of dropping a lot of coin. I was going to go into a vent/rant about being ignored at outdoor outfitter shops if you don’t fit the image of the stereotypical rail-thin hiker/climber/paddler/cyclist dude or dudette (it’s happened more than a few times at several different shops) but this turned into such a good trip I’m going to let it slide…but it’s fairly unlikely that I’ll be visiting this particular outfitter again anytime soon.

We headed on up toward Helen where we stopped at an antique shop in Nacoochee Village.

We puttered around the antique shop for a little while. Still nothing called out to us so we continued our drive north. We stopped at the Ingles in Hiawassee for supplies then detoured to Chevelle’s near Hayesville, North Carolina for some supper before finally arriving in Young Harris.

Once settled in, we headed up to Cupids Falls to find a new cache that had been recently placed. While we were there we noticed a new boardwalk and walk paths through a nearby wetland…

We spent some time wandering the YHC campus and then some time chillin’ on the Appleby Center patio while watching the sky go dark and the lightening in a couple of distant storms.

Even Henry, the namesake of YHC’s Peach Belt Conference opponent and Jenna’s Alma Mater, Flagler College, enjoyed his time on the YHC campus…

By 11:00 we were finally hanging up our hammocks and turning in for the night.

Saturday morning rolled around and we were up and moving early. We grabbed a quick bit of breakfast in Hayesville then headed toward the Deep Gap trailhead. The drive was largely uneventful until we began to encounter sunbeams along the Forest Service road…

Beautiful to look at but they made driving quite tricky when they hit the car windshield just right.

Once at the trailhead we shouldered our packs and headed north up the trail…


There were constant reminders of last year’s wildfires along the trail…

 

At the same time, there was plenty of new green undergrowth and flowers throughout the woods, especially in the lower elevations…

The trail wasn’t terribly strenuous but we took plenty of stops to rest, take a drink of water and take in the views…

As we neared the summit we ran into a couple of hammock campers so we stopped and talked for a few minutes…

Henry was glad to see the spur trail sign pointing the way to the summit of Standing Indian…

Once on the summit we all checked out the views…

After spending a little time at the summit we decided to head back down the mountain. It was a slow process but quite fun seeing things that we hadn’t noticed on the way up…like a random pair of boots left on a rock…

We also learned that we were in a Bear Sanctuary. Unfortunately no bears were seen…

Once we’d made it back down to the Standing Indian shelter Henry convinced us to make a quick detour to the shelter to have a look around and sit down a few minutes.

Finally back at the car, we headed back to YHC to pack up and make the long drive home. But not before we stopped for peanut butter milkshakes at Gibsons in Young Harris.

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This entry was posted in Appalachian Trail, AT, Backpacking, Day Hike, Day Trip, Flagler, Hiking, Standing Indian, Young Harris College. Bookmark the permalink.

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