Monday, May 14, 2007

Hike for Discovery - Sweetwater Creek State Park

Steph & Lucy

On Saturday we hiked at Sweetwater Creek State Park just west of Atlanta. Steph and I had hiked here once before, so I knew it wasn't a challenging hike with relatively flat terrain. But it is pretty technical with lots of scrambling over rocks and roots. Since I'm a masochist I added an extra 5 pounds of weight (two 1 liter Nalgene bottles) to my pack in an effort to slow my pace and still get a good workout.

This was the first hike of the season that Steph joined me on. When we arrived at Sweetwater at 7:30 AM it was already extremely muggy due to the previous night's rain. Yuck!

As a team, we decided to hike the red trail to the white trail for 6 miles with an optional 3 mile extension on the yellow trail. Off we go!

The first part of the trail is pretty flat with a lot of rock outcroppings and roots littering the trail. Its a nice hike that follows along the river past the New Manchester Manufacturing Company textile factory ruins. The factory itself was destroyed during the civil war by Sherman during the Atlanta Campaign. Al that remains is part of the shell of the original building.
New Manchester Manufacturing
Company Ruins

The rain on Friday night made it a bit more difficult on this part of the trail, especially on the rocks that you hike over. Being the incredible klutz that I am I slipped on some of the rocks and fell. The trail is ~15' above the river at this point. When I fell and slid down the rocks I managed to grab hold of the rocks to prevent myself from sliding all the way into the river. Unfortunately, my right leg was hung up on a tree, so I had no leverage to life myself out of the predicament I was in! Steph and another hiker grabbed my hands and pack to lift me slightly, free my leg and get me back on the trail.

The rest of the hike was nice and uneventful, thankfully. Steph and Lucy enjoyed themselves greatly and tired themselves out. After the hike we came home and the ladies, Lucy and Steph, passed out. I don't think I have ever seen Lucy pass out so hard! Clearly she enjoyed herself, but I believe I wore her out. I'll have to keep this in mind for the next time I want Lucy to relax!
Sweetwater Creek Rapids

Next week we're headed to Vogel State Park for the Coosa Backcountry Trail. This is the toughest hike of the HFD season and one I did not complete last year. I'm looking forward to tackling this trail again and completing the entire trail without bailing out at the road crossing. I'm sure I'll have plenty of pictures to post from Coosa this time around!

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