Sat, Nov 20 2004 - Toonowee Mountain to the Suspension Bridge on the Benton MacKaye trail, and Little Rock Creek (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Bruce
Participants:Michelle J, Joe Donovan, Emily Culpepper, Keith Canseco, Sandra Stark, John Robertson, James L. Kuro, Becky Carter, Bruce

Write Up:
Despite previous poor weather forecasts, thirteen brave souls showed up at the park and ride for a chilly morning meeting, and then were off to the north woods. We stopped briefly in Ellijay at Burger King and met Jim Kuro, and were off again on Highway 52 north of Ellijay, and to our shortcut road, Big Creek-Doublehead Gap Rd., to Highway 60. After turning south on 60, and driving a mile; we met my SOA co-leader, Janet Rose, at the pullout along the highway. Then we were off for a relatively slow hike up the strenuous walk up the initial slope of Toonowee Mountain; I helped with the slowness by having a hard time with my breathing on the way up; stopping several times for catching my breath before getting back to it. We stretched out into a slower, middle and faster hiking groups on the way along the slight ups and downs of Toonowee Mountain, after cresting the top of the ridge. The slopes started the long gradual descent to the Suspension Bridge over the Toccoa River, and Jim Kuro’s GPS said we had walked 3.36 miles, one way; not just three, as advertised in literature describing this section. It was a good workout, to say the least; and we had all earned a good lunch break, shared with a fairly large Boy Scout troop, already camped on the far side of the bridge. We all talked, bonded as a group, as we had on the walk in, before stirring to enjoy more views of the bridge, and views up and down the river from the bridge. Then we started the long slow rise up the back side of Toonowee Mtn. And turbo rockets Janet Genutis and Sandi Stark, after politely asking if they could pass me up (no problema!) took off at light speed; and eventually I asked the rest to pass me; as I dragged to make sure Janet and Michelle were Ok on their journey back. Eve and I held up the middle, and Eve gathered fall leaves, as we walked slowly back. After the noticeable slope down the mountain, we gathered and waited with the rest of the group, patiently waiting; and several minutes later we were all back safely. It was nice that the weather was cool and seasonal all day, but never got the rain threatened in forecasts, and even had brief glimpses of sun on the hike in and out. From there, the previously agreed upon ‘early group’, headed back to Atlanta; as nine of us went on to the short hike to Little Rock Creek. We parked our two remaining vehicles at the small pullout across Little Rock Creek and hiked the up and down, rough, but short trail to the beautiful waterfall that all enjoyed at close viewing, before returning to our cars, and on to the Toccoa River restaurant. After driving the many miles to the restaurant, we found parking spots, one vehicle at a time, at the obviously popular and busy restaurant. Upon walking in we were soon quided to our large table where we enjoyed many great meals; many the great mountain trout, prepared five ways and caught locally in the Toccoa River, right next to the restaurant. We enjoyed more conversation and laughs with a good group remaining. Thanks to all that enjoyed an invigorating day of hiking and adventure and being part of another great group and fun day in the woods.
Written By: Bruce Aldridge
Photos From: courtesy of Keith Canseco