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Benton MacKaye
Trail Assn.

BMTA Activities Calendar

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Overview

Listed below are the scheduled activities of the BMTA for 2017.  Work trips will be held on the second Saturday of the month in Georgia and on the fourth Saturday in Tennessee/North Carolina.  Recreational outings (Fun Hikes) are planned on other weekends to avoid scheduling conflicts with work trips and are set up as hike leaders become available.  Videos of previous hikes can be found on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/user/BentonMacKayeTrail.

All Are Welcome

The BMTA welcomes all who would like to participate in any scheduled activity.  Members and non-members alike are encouraged to join in; no experience is necessary.

Notes


US Forest Service Alerts and Notices


Recurring Monthly Events

  • 2nd Saturday - Georgia Work Trips - coordinated by Barry Allen
  • 4th Saturday - Tennessee/North Carolina Work Trips - coordinated by Ken Jones
  • At least two "Fun Hikes" each month - coordinated by Ken Cissna

Note: Some of these activities are considerable driving distances. Please contribute gas money to your driver when you carpool. Thank You!


Planned Activities for 2017
MonthDateLocation & Details
February  February 4 Hike: .  After a short climb from the Brasstown Bald Visitor’s Center, it’s all downhill to Young Harris. We’ll take our time for close looks at anything of interest including the spectacular ice formations on the trailside cliffs (if temperatures cooperate), wonderful views of the Young Harris valley, and the beautiful high elevation yellow birches. Hike is 7 miles; normally easy but moderate if the trail is icy and slippery. Well-behaved trail dogs are welcome. As part of this hike is in wilderness, limit is 12. Co-sponsored with Georgia Forest Watch; hike leaders are Sue Harmon of GFW and Ken Cissna of BMTA.
To reserve your spot, please email the GFW office at info@gafw.org or call 706-867-0051.
For further information, contact either Sue Harmon at suepharmon AT gmail.com or 770-540-3672 or Ken Cissna at kcissna AT usf.edu or 706-636-1741.
  February 7 (6:30 PM) Class: Beginning backpacking.  Travis Crouch, AT and BMT section hiker and owner of North Georgia Mountain Outfitters, will conduct a class for beginning backpackers and for anyone who would like a chance to benefit from his considerable experience. He will discuss backpacking techniques, equipment options, and strategies for a safe and enjoyable hiking. In March and April, BMTA will conduct beginning overnight hikes for the “graduates” of the class.
For further information or to register for the class, contact Ken Cissna at kcissna AT usf.edu or 706-636-1741 or Travis Crouch at travis AT hikenorthgeorgia.com or 706-698-4453.
The class will be conducted at North Georgia Mountain Outfitters, 14244 Hwy 515 N, Suite 1200 Ellijay, GA 30536; 706-698-HIKE(4453), approximately three miles north of Ellijay on highway 515. See http://www.hikenorthgeorgia.com.
  February 10 Hike: BMT Section 14 – TN 68 to Unicoi Gap via Buck Bald.  5.6 miles; moderate to strenuous; approximately 4 hrs. on the trail. The first 45 min. is uphill, but your effort will be rewarded with lots of good views, history, and culture. Lunch will be at the Buck Bald picnic area, where you’ll have a 360 degree view of the surrounding mountains. Unicoi Gap is near the TN/NC state line and is a site on the historic Unicoi Turnpike National Historic Trail. You’ll have a chance to learn more about the Unicoi Turnpike during the hike—it only sounds like it is part of the highway system. Shuttle is involved; the Coker Creek Visitors Center is on the shuttle route.
Contact hike leaders Clare and Ed Sullivan at clare7982 AT gmail.com.
  February 11 GA Work Trip: 
Where: Section 2c
When: Saturday, February 11, 2017, 9:00 AM
Meet: Village Restaurant in Blue Ridge at 8:00 or Fish Hatchery Rd, where the pavement ends, Hwy 60 at 9:00.
Plan for the day: Water Diversion Cleanout and Step repairs/installation at FS 333.
What to bring: minimum 2 liters of water, long pants, boots, gloves and snack or lunch for the day.
Contact: Barry Allen at bmtabarry AT gmail.com or 770-294-7384
Please join us for our February trip as we work section 2c near the Swinging Bridge. This section of trail needs grade and drainage work on existing crosstie steps on the ascent from the Swinging Bridge. We also need diversion clean-out work and a little saw work to remove a couple of trees in the vicinity of the bridge.
We will be working with Pulaski and trail hoe on tread work and sledge hammer and Pulaski on step repairs. It would also be nice to have a couple of certified sawyers for a modicum of chain saw work. We’ll also do a quick inspection of the bridge and repair/replace any treads as needed.
  February 20 Hike: Big Frog Trail and BMT to Big Frog Mountain and back.  11-12 miles total, moderate to strenuous difficult, about 6.5 hours of hiking. Elevation change about 1300 feet: From 2900 feet at the start to 4220 at the top. Diving distance on dirt road 3.2 miles from Thunder Rock via FS 45 & 221. Beautiful views along ridgelines. Big Frog Trail intersects the BMT which leads to the top.
Contact Hike Leader Tom Sewell at SewellTom AT yahoo.com
  February 23-24 Hike: Amicalola Falls to Len Foote Hike Inn.  Once again BMTA members will be able to enjoy the Len Foote Hike Inn—at half price rates! Five miles, moderate difficulty. This is for BMTA members. For reservations, contact the Hiking Director for the BMTA code. Then, go to http://hike-inn.com/rates-and-reservations/. Cost (including tax) is $70.15 for one person in a room, $100.63 for two. Includes their superb dinner and breakfast. For information about the Len Foote Hike Inn, go to http://hike-inn.com/. Space is limited.
For further information, contact the Hiking Director, Ken Cissna at kcissna AT usf.edu or calling 706-636-1741.
  February 25 TN Work Trip: Section 12c.  For our February work trip, we will be working in the Ocoee Ranger District on BMT Section 12c, Kimsey Highway crossing to McFarland Road. This section was not brushed out last year, so we can certainly make a difference for the spring hikers. I will also bring my chainsaw to log out blow downs along the way. This section is 2.4 miles long, and we will use a short shuttle to maximize our work time.
Since it is difficult to give directions to the section trailheads for people that have not been there before, we will meet at 8:30 am at the Clemmer Bike Trail Parking Area. When you turn off US 64 onto Highway 30, this parking area will be the first road on your left after about 0.1 miles. Be sure to bring at least 2 quarts of water, lunch, and wear sturdy boots and long pants. Please let Ken know if you plan to attend so that he can plan the work and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Contact Ken Jones 423-506-8128
March  March 4 Hike: Etowa River Trails near Boling Park in Canton.  Here is a hidden gem convenient to our Atlanta hikers. Behind Boling Park in Canton, Ga with two hilly loops and an easy return along the Etowah River. 7.6 miles with 1139 feet total elevation change. We will snack at the "Haunted Church" and visit the "Satonic baptismal."
Contact hike leader Howard Baggett at howardeb AT windstream.net.
  March 11 Hike: Byron Reece to Blood Mt.  (rescheduled from January) Hike to the highest point on the Georgia Appalachian Trail. From the Byron Reece Trail parking lot to the AT, then south to the top of Blood Mountain and return. About 5 moderately strenuous miles, including over 2 miles of uphill climbing.
For further information, contact hike leader Mike Pilvinsky mikepilvinsky AT hotmail.com
  March 15 Hike: Upper BMT-AT Loop at Springer Mt.  A relatively short and easy chance to stretch your legs with an early spring hike. Starts and ends at Springer Mt. parking lot. See Springer Mt., the Springer Mt. shelter on the AT, and the Benton MacKaye plaque and the Owen Overlook on the BMT.
For further information, contact hike leader George Owen at gowen2 AT tds.net.
  March 25-26 Hike: Beginning Backpack on Amadahy Trail  A chance to put into practice what you learned at the BMTA “Beginning Backpacking Class” (see February 7 above). Hike is only two miles and easy. Camping on the shore of Carter’s Lake.
For further information, contact hike leader Mike Pilvinsky at mikepilvinsky AT hotmail.com
April  April 13 (Thursday) Hike: Green Mountain Trail.  An easy/leisure hike of about 4 miles, with moderate elevation gain and loss. Should be a nice early spring hike, with good views of Lake Blue Ridge. We will begin at the Deep Gap trailhead on Aska Road, intersect with the Long Branch Connector, and end up at the Shady Falls parking area a couple of hours later. A short shuttle of less than 2 miles.
For further information contact hike leader Hank Baudet 706-946-4318 or Geezer95 AT gmail.com.
  April 23 (Sunday) Hike: Two Trail History Hike - Unicoi Turnpike Trail to Unicoi Gap, then Benton MacKaye Trail to Hwy. 68.  Join amateur history buff and one of the BMTA founders George Owen for a double treat. First, we will walk the history-laden Unicoi Turnpike Trail where in parts the Cherokees walked and were then force-marched to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Along this 2.5-mile federally-designated National Millennium Trail, you will also visit the site of the Civilian Conservation Corps Camp Rolling Stone, a Civil War era grave of a bushwhacked man, and other sites. Then, we intersect the BMT on a low ridge, walk quickly into Unicoi Gap, then turn and trek along a very mild ridge on the BMT and down to TN 68. Total hike distance is 7.4 miles, and overall rating is moderate.
Contact George Owen at gowen2 AT tds.net or 706-374-4716 for information.
May  May 3 (Wednesday) Hike: Lady Slipper Hike – BMT from Fall Branch Falls to Weaver Creek (sections 6b, 6c, and 6d).  This hike is a moderate to strenuous 6.2 miles. We will pause first at the ever-popular Fall Branch Falls after hiking under half mile. As we approach our lunch stop at the top of Rocky Mountain, we will find loads of Trillium lining the trail. The last section of the hike takes us past several Lady Slipper gardens, some filled with hundreds of the beautiful pink orchid. Wild Azaleas should be in bloom as well.
For more information on this hike, contact hike leader Joy Forehand at jwfbrga AT gmail.com or call (706) 946-0336.
  May 18 (Thursday) Hike: BMT Hiwassee River to Lost Creek Campground and Back.  An easy to moderate 5.6 miles—approximately 3 hours on the trail. Many hikers consider this section outstanding as it parallels Big Lost Creek through a deep limestone gorge with cascades and small waterfalls. Consider wearing water shoes as some might want to cross the creek to the campground rather than the road. We'll hike to Lost Creek Campground, eat lunch and then hike back to our cars at the USFS River Access Recreation Area. You'll see the designated "National Scenic River," the Hiwassee, as well as the historic Webb Brothers store in Reliance. The campground has picnic tables and vault toilets.
Contact hike leader Clare Sullivan at clare7982 AT gmail.com
  May 26 (Friday) Hike: Covered Bridge to Covered Bridge on BMT in Sisson property.  4 miles; easy to moderate (some hills); approximately 2 hours on the trail. Using the BMT and adjacent (mostly) dirt roads, this leisurely hike will link the two covered bridges in the Sisson’s Cherry Log Mountain log cabin community. Besides the bridges, we will enjoy two mountain lakes, five footbridges across cascading streams – and, with luck, a lovely stand of nodding trilliums. It should be sweet. Following the hike we will repair to the Pink Pig for lunch.
For further information, contact hike leaders Tom and Jane Keene at tkbmta AT gmail.com or 770-548-4935 (text ok).



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