Sunday, April 5, 2015

Backpacking in the Cohutta Wilderness

Last week, Andrew and I went off the grid for a week and went backpacking in the Cohutta Wilderness Area in northern Georgia. It was peaceful and exhausting at the same time...every morning waking up to the sounds of nature....only to pack up camp and hike with everything on your back! Surprisingly, there were already some pre-made campsites throughout the trails that made our stay a little easier - even though we only averaged 5 - 7 miles a day, it was nice to have a fire pit ready once we decided to stop!

For our meals, I made light dry mixes that when water was added would re-hydrate for a tasty meal. I bought a food dehydrator and was able to create a veggie stir fry, pesto salmon pasta, tuna casserole, spaghetti, and jambalaya...I'll be sure and share those recipes soon!

The pups did well with their packs too...they each carried their own food, and once that started running low we gave them each a few things from our packs to lighten the load for everyone :) 

Here are some of the pictures I got from our trip!

Day One - Rough Ridge Trail

We started by hiking up the side of a mountain and then walked along the ridge until we came back down into the valley where we made camp. And boy, was that valley COLD! I think all of us were a bit on edge that first night...between being convinced that every sound was a bear, plus trying to stay warm, it was a long night!

Day Two - Jacks River Falls Trail

In the morning we joined another trail that took us along another ridge and down into the heart of the wilderness where flowers and plants were just starting to bloom. This was definitely one of the prettiest hikes, and the pups enjoyed it too since they got to play in some of the creek water! At the end of the night, we set up camp right next to a creek, which was so calming to hear throughout the night.

Day Three - Beech Bottom and Jacks River Falls

The next morning we had to brave a "creek" crossing to continue on the trail to see Jacks River Falls. However, I'm not sure if the water was high or whoever claimed this was a creek was just crazy because the water was waist deep in the middle and FREEZING cold. Luckily I only had to cross one time with the dogs....and then take pictures while the boys made the rest of the trips with our stuff :) Once we were dried off and warmed up, we continued our hike to the falls and another creek-side campsite for the night. 

Day Four - Hickory Ridge Trail

The last day was by far the most difficult, since we had to climb up Buckeye Mountain which took about 3 miles and 3 hours...I think my thighs got the workout of their life! Once we got to the top, a storm rolled in and the rest of the hike was foggy and damp. We had originally planned on camping one more night and make it to the car early the next morning, but with pouring rain and 50 degree weather we instead opted for a hotel (complete with pizza and beer) to finish off a long week of trekking through the woods!

Day Five - Coming Home!!!

This is definitely a trip I will remember, and I'm sure we'll be doing plenty more like it in the future. Next time I hope to at least see a little wildlife, but for my first big backpacking trip into the wilderness I think it was best that it remained bear-free :) 

Also, in case anyone is interested in what gear we used, I've listed a couple things below:

Andrew - Teton Explorer 4000
Nicki - Teton Scout 3400
Mav & Ripley - Outward Hound, size large

Coleman Hooligan 3

Sleeping Bags:
FeatherLite +20 degrees

Sleeping Pads:
Thermarest Ridgerest