Message from your leaders: It will Rain tomorrow, Saturday Feb 13, but we will still hike—with some changes in Trail and time plans to ensure the safety and health of our ForestWatch hikers. We expect that some of our hikers will cancel due to rainy cold conditions. Please let us know if you will not join us. For those hardy hikers, we will ALL meet at 10:00am at the assigned location off Bettys Creek Road. We will all do the same hike in the rain—4.5 miles through Forest and rock hopping across streams. Be sure to bring hiking stick. This is not difficult terrain, but the first 10 minutes is a steep incline. Depending on our numbers we may break into groups led by Lisa and Marie. Hikers will end at Leah Lake as planned and be treated to chocolates, cake, hot mulled wine and tea on the porch.

Valentine’s Weekend: Saturday, February 13, 2021
Hike hosts will be Brooks Franklin, Lisa Ezzard and Marie Dunkle, and three hikes of three different distance and difficulty levels are offered, followed by chocolates, sweets, hot cocoa and/or hot mulled wine after the hikes outside the home of Brooks and Lisa near Rabun County GA/Otto, NC. The starting point for each hike is off Mulberry Rd close to the Georgia / North Carolina border.

Hike A will meet at 9:30.
Hike B will meet at 10:00.
Hike C will meet at 10:30.

Please register for the hike that meets your interest and endurance level. (The limit is 9 hikers per hike. Although you are not required to wear a mask while hiking, masks are required during the time we gather before and after the hikes.

Hike A meet at 9:30
Distance: approximately 6 miles
Difficulty: Moderately difficult. A 1,500 ft. elevation climb, with a quarter mile strenuous climb, moderate but steady pace.
Description: We will be hiking in both the Nantahala and Chattahoochee National Forests. Leaving Leah Lake and meandering on the highest ridges between NC and GA along Owen’s Gap, we will travel up to Hog Mountain and then descend below and around Owen’s Mountain back to Leah Lake. This is a perfect circuit spanning the beautiful borders of North Carolina and Georgia. Your hike leader will be Marie Dunkle, a GAFW past board president and current District Leader.

Hike B meet at 10:00
Distance: approximately 4 miles
Difficulty: Moderate
Description: Shed the old and bring in the new with a poetry and Native song hike to the summit of Owen’s Mountain, a sacred ceremonial spot of the Cherokee. Enjoy wonderful winter views and poetry stops on the way up and down the mountain. Lisa Ezzard, long time poet and vintner at Tiger Mountain Vineyards, will be leading the hike.

Hike C meet at 10:30
Distance: approximately 3 miles
Difficulty: moderately easy with short, moderate hills and leisurely pace.
Description: Leaving Leah Lake on winding trails below Owen’s Mountain, we will hike to Nomoho Rock on the Hambidge Center property., a 600 acre natural preserve, and then return to Leah Lake. For those interested in a welcoming New Year’s treat, this is a hike of beauty and communion that will be led by Brooks Franklin, long-time leader of hikes for Georgia Forest Watch. He’s back with his New Year’s Day hike!

What to Bring and Wear: Water, hiking pole, rain gear, cold weather clothing, personal meds for emergencies, cover protection mask

Cancellation: If Outing is cancelled due to weather or unforeseen circumstances, we will notify you via email by 6:00 pm on the evening before.

Pet Policy: No pets this time please.
Participation Limit: 10 each hike