Choose To Isolate Outdoors This Weekend

Mike Rhodes | March 27, 2020

The past couple of weeks have been filled with plenty of chaos. Safe to say that I have never experienced anything quite like this in my 50 plus years. The sweeping pandemic has changed our daily lives. Quickly at that. Hand sanitizer, Lysol disinfected spray and Clorox wipes disappeared from shelves quicker than a chicken biscuit that just got put in my hand. Don’t even get me started on toilet paper situation. I think on March 14, 2020 it officially became a recognized currency in America.

Look I’m not a medical professional. I’ve never played one on TV. My son won’t even let me try to get a splinter out of his foot. I don’t blame him. But I don’t have to have an “MD” behind my name to heed advice. Every doctor on the internet and on TV is telling me the same thing. Self isolate, stay out of large groups and enjoy the newest pastime called social distancing. Sign me up!

For us sportsmen this is the kick in the shorts that we really didn’t even need. I’ll take it though. Here’s what I am hearing. We are supposed to hit the turkey woods or grab a rod or strap on the hiking boots or pack the tent in the truck. No really. It’s what we are supposed to do. It helps. Helps us not lose our minds. Helps us help others. With that in mind, this weekend is a great time to hit the trails. Here are some of my favorites from the last few months.

DeSoto Falls Trail – Just north of Cleveland, Georgia the full trail is about 2.25 mile out and back. It gives you two falls, the upper falls and a lower falls. Trailhead is located within the parking area just off Highway 129 in the DeSoto Falls Recreation Area. A wooden foot bridge leads you over the creek where the trail stops. Take a right to the upper falls and a left to the lower falls. The recently rebuilt platforms at the upper falls allows for great viewing. Both trails are moderate in my view with the lower being shorter but with a bit more elevation. Be prepared to drop a check or put some cash in the self-pay container. I think it’s $4 or $5.

Helton Creek Falls – This trail gives you two waterfalls for the effort of one. The trip in and back adds up to about a mile. You hit the first fall at about .20 miles. The next one is about another quarter mile down the trail. If you decide to ease out onto the boulders in the creek at the bottom of the falls be careful. We watched a dad show off for the kids by hopping from one to another. Then we watched his feet go skyward when he hit a slick spot.  We also encountered a yellow jackets nest just before the end of the trail. Be alert. You’ll find Helton Creek Road on Highway 129 just over a mile south of Vogel State park.

Blood Mountain – I haven’t ascended Blood Mountain from Vogel State Park yet but as of this writing the park is still open. The trail head is found by walking from the lake parking lot toward the campground. You’ll see it on the right side of the road. This route is about 7.5 mile out and back. I wrote a blog a few months ago when I took the Freeman Loop/Blood Mountain route. That one is just over 6 miles. No matter which way you ascend to the top your reward will be some amazing views and lots of fresh air.

I also loved my recent hikes up Yonah Mountain and out to Raven Cliffs Falls. Those are both currently showing closed because of the virus going around. Check online to be sure the trail you are looking to hike or the campground where you want to sleep haven’t been closed. I use the AllTrails app. It has good information from hikers.  At the time of this writing the notice on the Georgia State Parks Alerts page reads: All DNR-managed sites remain open with limited access to buildings. If you are headed to a state park you might want to check it out first.

Do your part this weekend. Take the family outside and get some fresh air. If you’re like our family the introduction of home schooling alone has been an eye opener! As I stated earlier, I’m not a doctor, but self isolating is one way we can all join in and help the cause. Help reduce the spread. Netflix will be there when you get home.

Share your pics with the GON Community on Social Media. Twitter @GONMagazine, Instagram #GeorgiaOutdoorNews, and Facebook @GeorgiaOutdoorNews. RemainSafe #IsolateOutdoors

As of 4:00 p.m EST on March 27 we’ve received notice that several trailhead facilities and other access points to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail within the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest have been temporarily close. Conditions could continue to change. You can find notices of closures on the USDA Forest Service website.


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