I wrote previously, that we would be doing a one day hike on the Inca Trail towards Machu Picchu during our time in Peru. In that post I broke down how we were going to train for this hike, however unfortunately like most plans things didn’t work out the way I wanted. We did really well following the plan for about a month and half, but after that we stopped walking during the week and didn’t take any long hikes. Even with our lack of training we did decide that it was still crucial for us to practice hiking up elevation, so we did follow through on our plan to hike Blood Mountain in Georgia.
After visiting with my sister-in-law in Nashville, we drove down to northern Georgia to spend the night in a hostel and attempt to hike Blood Mountain the next day. This was our first time in a hostel and I want to write more about our stay in a future post. The next morning we packed up and headed out to Neels Gap, which is part of the Appalachian Trail, for our starting point for the hike. From here we would be hiking up, up, up towards the summit of Blood Mountain. At the summit we were promised a spectacular view of the surrounding countryside, as Blood Mountain is the highest point on the Appalachian Trail in Georgia.
We picked-up snacks and drinks at this mountain store in Neels Gap, took a few pictures and headed out. After about 30 minutes of hiking we finally got our first clear view of the mountain we were setting off to climb. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that some doubt started to creep in staring up at that peek looming over 1400 feet over our heads. This mountain would easily be the tallest height we’ve ever hiked before.
After a mini little pep talk between us, we set off determined to reach the top. We struggled at times and got turned around where the trail had been moved from the original path, which caused us to turn in circles for a few minutes. We probably stopped a total of three times during our climb: once for a rest/water and the other times to take pictures of the valley opening up below us. The area around the trail was absolutely stunning. The trees were a vibrant green of spring, birds sung wonderful songs and fluttered through the trees, and the rain from the previous day had moved on and left us with a bright sun shining down on us.
After about two hours of hiking I finally spied the stone shelter that marks the summit of the mountain. We made it! Making this climb was psychologically significant for us to complete to give us confidence in our ability to be able to ascend mountains. Its great feeling to achieve any goal you set forth, especially one that challenges you mentally and physically. We basked in our achievement as we sat atop a giant rock, dubbed picnic rock, eating our snacks and snapping pictures. All told we probably spent about 30 minutes eating and resting. We would have spent more time, but the dark clouds started rolling back in, so we hopped off picnic rock and started our descent.