Brasstown Bald Trip Report
Summit Trail, 11/03/10
It was another business trip to Atlanta, a town which has never been very interesting to me, and I had some time to kill. Since my previous trip to Atlanta resulted in a drive up Alabama's Cheaha Mountain, this time I decided to drive north, to the lower Appalachian Peak of Brasstown Bald, the highest point in Georgia. So on a bleak November afternoon, I picked up my car and headed out of the airport. The weather was rainy and the clouds were low, but that hasn't yet stopped me from visiting the nearest highpoint.
I drove into the mountains, listening to the local radio station predict snowfall that night. I opted for a more rural route, passing through small Georgia town, where I encountered a number of signs advertising boiled peanuts. I'd never encountered them before, but pressed for time, I did not stop to sample the local delicacy. Along the way, I continued to fall in love with the gorgeous road that is US Highway 19, which I'd previously encountered after visiting Mount Mitchell, and while going up through West Virginia. Brasstown Bald lies not far from US-19, and it's twisty and heavily-banked lanes made for an exiting drive through the late fall foliage.
The route to the summit was well-signed, and I arrived in a very foggy parking lot with only one other car present, and not people. I hadn't brought enough cash to pay the nominal fee (opting to mail it in when I got back home), but I parked and began the quick walk up the asphalt path to the observation tower. The weather was cold and damp as I hiking through the fog. About half-way up, I met a couple coming down, who said the rangers were closing the summit visitors center and observation tower due to the weather, but that if I hurried I might catch them before they left. Alas, I heard the rangers' vehicle depart the summit before I arrived.
There wasn't much to see or do at the summit. On a clear day, I'm certain the views would be fantastic, but for me it was just a bunch of grey. The flying-saucer-like tower looked interesting, but the visibility wasn't more than a hundred feet. I wandered around, took a few pictures, and then headed back to warm back up in my car before beginning the drive back to Atlanta. The trees still had a bit of color from the last vestiges of autumn, and I'd nailed my highpoint for 2010, which both gave the trip some redeeming qualities.