Sat, Feb 7 2015 - Best Views Around - Rabun Bald and Whiteside Mtn (View Original Event Details)|
A beautifully clear weather with moderate temperatures from some spectacular locations provided us with views that didn't disappoint. Our first hike was relatively short, yet the continuous 1,000+ feet of ascent warmed us to the point that the crisp breeze on top of Rabun Bald felt pleasant. The sunny clear skies provided us views of mountains in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina; including Mt Yonah, Brasstown Bald, Eagle Mtn, Mayapple, Rattlesnake Knob, Shooting Creek Bald, Hightower Bald, Dick's Knob, and Grassy Ridge, Ridgepole, Pickens' Nose, Blackrock, Whiteside, and Sassafras. After spending about 20 minutes enjoying the views we headed back down to the vehicles for the second part of the event.
The drive to Highlands was in itself an enjoyable ride with plenty of overlooks along the way. After arriving at Whiteside Mtn, home to the highest cliffs in the eastern US, we made the ascent to the southeast facing cliffs. We took the more steep route to the top which had some added excitement from many large icy areas along the way. After making our way to the SE side of the mountain, we continued along the top of the 700 foot cliffs making a least a half dozen stops at spectacular viewpoints, including the thrilling Fool's Rock overlook. At the upper end of the mountain, we then headed down the lightly traveled, and rugged, trail to Devil's Courthouse. Travel was slow and cautious on this trail, as it had many areas that were totally iced over, however, this only added to the thrill! Once we reached Devil's Courthouse, we had a late lunch, hung out for 45 minutes on the cliffs while taking enough time to absorb the fantastic views of the surrounding plutons, peaks, and the headwaters of the famous Wild and Scenic Chattooga River, located beneath us. The return route along the northwest side of Whiteside had some surprising, and impressive, sights of massive ice-flows down the side of the mountain. A few in the group couldn't pass up the opportunity of pulling off some massive 10 ft long pointed icicles – evidently for protection from the many zombies roaming about.
We topped off the event with a short side-trip to the impressive “Dry Falls”. Dry Falls, is so named because it's possible to walk behind the falls and stay dry- definitely not from the huge amount of water which flows over the falls. Although the short hike to the falls was along a paved trail, it turned out to be the most hazardous hike of the day.
Great weather, great views, great group, great fun equals great day!