Bartram Trail 23M Run - Georgia From Warwoman Dell to Sandy Ford (out and back) Thursday, November 19, 2021
Another beautiful day to explore the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia. With a late start at 0830 from Warwoman Dell, three miles east of Clayton, the temperature was 34 and crisp in the north shadows of the rising sun. The trail drops quickly to a picnic area at 1950' before climbing the three miles of leafy trails to summit Rainy Mountain at 2936'. The oak leaves were deep in some places and slippery along hillsides where the trail was not graded; rarely did I see the ground or any roots and rocks on the trail, so I moved along carefully to manage any unexpected footing. I moved up the trail with strength and was sweaty long before the top, despite the cool dry morning air.
The low morning sun coming through what remains of the colored leaves had me pulling out my camera again and again, even though I have a thousand pictures just like them. From atop the ridges as they undulated from col to col the views both north and south of the Blue Ridge were inspiring. I felt good and was elated to be exploring new trails. The blazing sometimes left something to be desired. Several times I had to stop and figure out directional changes at unmarked crossroads of fire trails and old logging roads. And there were times when there were no blazes for too long, making me question whether I was even on the right trail. With all the trail finding and discovery I still managed to get lost several times, adding more than two miles to my day. Getting lost is all part of the fun, however.
After Rainy Mountain the trail tilts downhill to the east toward the Chatooga River, crossing Pool Creek Road and Sandy Ford Road along the way. The running was easy and I made good time in reaching Sandy Ford before turning around. The only reliable water on the section was a leaf-covered spring at 3M+ from Warwoman Dell.
The climbs coming back were long, but my legs were strong, so I rarely walked. Temps rose to the mid 50's in the sun, but remained cool on the north side in the shadows. Getting lost and stopping to trailfind and eat stretched the day out a bit, but I was in no hurry - just happy to be healthy again and moving with ease on new trails. No soreness on the day after reflects well on my fitness, and my knee continues to improve, so all is good.