|Big Frog in Winter. Photo taken by Jackie|
|Copied from http://www.sherpaguides.com/georgia/mountains/blue_ridge/western/map_big_frog_wilderness.html|
|Wilderness Sign, in the wilderness.|
The trail then met with Rough Creek Trail. Rough Creek Trail runs for 3 miles in a North-South fashion and connects Big Frog, Fork Ridge, and Licklog Trails. I was thinking of coming down Fork Ridge and cutting across Rough Creek but the trail looked rough and over grown so I decided against that. We climbed to Low Gap and turned left following Big Frog Trail on up the mountain. At Low Gap, there was a trail running down off the ridge to the right and someone had taken a permanent marker and wrote Grassy Gap on the sign pointing at a faint, faint, faint and over grown trail going between the two trails. After going through the gap, the trail shot up. It was a steep slog up the mountain. We hiked past several good camping spots that people had made in the past. Along the way, we found six more ticks on Mia and ourselves. Then it happened. 3.4 miles into the hike, 2.2 miles from the top, and around 1,200 feet higher than where we started we were stopped. The trail hit an area where it was overgrown by grass and ferns. It was a lovely spot to look at. I looked at the faint hint of a trail showing through all the green and then at Jackie and Mia. We were up to ten ticks and would probably get ten more just passing through this grassy area. I was planning on eating lunch at the top of the mountain. We were all a little hungry. Grass. Food. Ticks. Decisions... With a sigh, I remembered that not everyone reached the summit on their first push and some people who did, did not come back to tell their tale. I looked and Jackie, petted Mia on the head and said, "Let's turn around."
So, down the mountain we went. We stopped at a camping spot right above Low Gap and fixed our lunch of Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. The new Trangia stove did a good job of cooking the sandwiches. I misjudged how much alcohol I would need and ran out. It was not a problem though. I also bought the Trangia Gas burner and finished cooking lunch. Both systems worked great. There was a pretty good wind blowing and I did not have the stove really protected so that helped burn off the alcohol faster. Looking back on the hike, Jackie and I enjoyed it. If there were not so many ticks, or we were better prepared for them we would have went on, I think. I was surprised by the way the trails looked. In several of my guide books and areas on the internet, people have said how well maintained the trails were. From what I saw, I would rate these trail maintenance as mediocre. Still though, trees were blooming and there were flowers growing all along the trail to add color to the woods and I enjoyed the hike. Aborted or not. Jackie and I have been talking about it and we will try to reach the top again. This time though, we will probably go up the path of the Benton MacKaye Trail. I drove over to its trail head and it looked more maintained.
|These were blooming along the trail after the first mile.|
Links for more information:
Benton MacKaye Trail information on the Big Frog Section: http://www.bmta.org/sections/BMT-SecDescrip-11.pdf
Summit Post Information: http://www.summitpost.org/big-frog-mountain/185481
Sherpa Guide Information: http://www.sherpaguides.com/georgia/mountains/blue_ridge/western/big_frog_wilderness.html
Forest Service Page: http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/cherokee/recarea/?recid=35022
TNWild Big Frog Map