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  1. #1
    Registered User GaryM's Avatar
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    Default Trail condition in N. Georgia post Irma?

    Originally we were starting at Springer on the 9th but that pesky hurricane really screwed things up for us. We are now looking at a week long hike starting at Springer beginning on the 16th (Sep). So, any idea how the trail is?

  2. #2

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    Stone1984 was out during the weather event but he was at Neel Gap last post I saw. Not sure if he continued north or went home before it got bad. He might have some insight though.
    AT Miles: 182.8 NOBO 13.9 SOBO :-)
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  3. #3
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    Might be good to read this notice from Laurie P:

    https://www.whiteblaze.net/forum/sho...-damaged-trees

    We are STRONGLY encouraging folks to stay off roads, trails and backcountry areas of the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests today. Down and damaged trees are everywhere, and pose a serious, life-threatening risk to visitors. Most roads and trails are blocked, and trees continue to fall. We have crews assisting trapped visitors, sawing out roads, and assessing damage. WE NEED YOU to keep yourself and our personnel safe by making smart choices and avoiding the national forest at this time.


    There is extensive damage on the national forest. The list of known site closures on the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests continues to expand as we assess the impacts of Tropical Storm #Irma. We will update and share this post as changes occur...

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    Saw someplace on Facebook that FS 42 was shut down. The post didn't say why, but assume it's due to storm damage?

  5. #5
    North Georgia Wanderer soumodeler's Avatar
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    Its got to be rough if the main roads are any indication. I have seen trees down everywhere and a few posts on facebook about lots of blowdowns on the trail as well.

  6. #6

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    I drove up through neels gap today and there were a lot of trees down for miles around. Ron Brown reported a lot of trees on the FS roads and across the trail. I would try to figure out how far north the damage goes and get above it if it were me.

  7. #7
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    Trails are still being assessed but USFS is urging everyone to stay off the trails. Numerous forest roads are blocked. Numerous reports of blowdowns, in many cases blocking the trails. There is still a danger of additional trees falling. I know how disappointing it will be to not start at Springer but please consider hiking somewhere north of Bly Gap for at least the near term. I haven't heard anything about the Benton MacKaye yet but I would expect it to be in the same condition in Georgia.

  8. #8
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    Why not simply go lil farther north? Personally I much prefer NC,TN,VA on Ga on the AT. How long and how far you plan to go?


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  9. #9
    Registered User GaryM's Avatar
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    Looks like further north is now on the list. Where would be a good section for a week long hike? One person driving in from Missouri, and one from Florida.

  10. #10

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    While looking for alternatives to Georgia, note that Standling Indian Campground in the Nantahala National Forest is still closed (located close to the Trail at mile 85-90). This would be an indication of the level of damage sustained in the area. The Trail, which is at much higher elevations than the campground, is likely to have more blowdowns. The US Forest Service office in North Carolina posted yesterday:

    "Damage assessments are ongoing following Hurricane Irma. Some areas and roads were impacted heavily and will remain temporarily closed until they can be safely reopened. Visitors should continue to take precautions. Be aware of the potential for rising water and falling trees and limbs."

    The Great Smoky Mountains National Park was expecting some damage at high elevations but trail assessments for the A.T. have not yet been completed. The Newfound Gap Road and Clingmans Dome Road were closed, with trees down across the road. The roads have reopened but all it takes is one big tree across the Trail on a really steep slope to make conditions treacherous.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
    Looks like further north is now on the list. Where would be a good section for a week long hike? One person driving in from Missouri, and one from Florida.
    Can't beat MR and Grayson Highlands...I'm going back late October for a repeat...hope this area wasn't hit...


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  12. #12

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    While sectioning one year there was small hurricane that unexpectedly came in and sat over Franklin NC (just north of the GA border). The Nantahala NF was closed entirely, we headed down to GA and there was some storm damage but not severe. We were slacking so we carried some hand saws to cut trees but the volunteers were already out doing the big stuff in less than 48 hours. The biggest damage was the access roads, many were washed out. 4 or 5 days later we headed up to NC and the Standing Indian area was closed by NF order, they would not allow us to do the Standing Indian section but did allow us to take the blue blaze from Deep Gap to the campground. Deep Gap road was heavily washed out in multiple places. We hiked north to NOC and the trail was in reasonable condition but there were a couple of relocations due to areas of side hilling washed out. Many of the side roads we were using to access the trail were partially washed out. The FS policy is that they don't want people in the backcountry if the roads they may need to rescue folks are closed. Overall the trail was in pretty good shape due to really good design but plenty of widow makers lurking up in the canopy.

    I expect it may be similar conditions this time around.

  13. #13

    Default Recent reports from Georgia

    Here are reports from a shuttle driver in Georgia I spoke with today who passed on info he received from a Georgia A.T. Club member and some hikers:

    from GATC member:
    Between Wood Gap and Henry Gap (4 mile stretch) - 80 blowdowns
    Lance creek campsites covered in blowdowns

    from hikers:
    Between Hawk Mountain and Hightower Gap (1/2 mile stretch) - 3 large blowdowns, have to crawl under/around

    The shuttle driver also noted that there are still road closures on paved roads.

    The road closures have hampered the ability of trail maintainers to access the trail to clear blowdowns or even conduct assessments.


    Here are excerpts from an updated post from the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forests Facebook page:

    UPDATED 9/15 10:30am - several rec areas and roads reopened
    There is extensive damage on the national forest. The list of known site closures on the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests continues to expand as we assess the impacts of Tropical Storm #Irma. We will update and share this post as changes occur.

    Roads Update (**this is NOT a comprehensive list, as assessments are still ongoing and likely will be for many days):

    Chattooga River Ranger District:
    Most roads are blocked by fallen trees, including Poplar Stump Road, FSR86C, Warwoman Road, and access through Sandy Ford Road, among many others. Tallulah River Road has been cleared for passenger vehicles, but low hanging trees and power lines limit access with trailers and RVs. Overflow, Willis Knob, Curahee, Patterson Gap, Darnell Creek, Wildcat and Hale Ridge were cleared on 9/13. Tray Mountain Road FSR79 is cleared up to the AT.


    Blue Ridge Ranger District:
    Many roads, especially along ridgelines, are also blocked. Dicks Creek Road and Montgomery Creek are among the blocked routes. Sawyers have cleared Mulky Gap Road, Hwy 180, FSR 77 and FSR 80 from Ranger Camp to Cooper Gap. FSR42 is cleared to Springer Mountain. FSR 58 Three Forks is open.

    We are working hard to assess road conditions and saw-out as we are able. Please be patient as it may take weeks to completely reopen parts of the forest.
    We are strongly encouraging folks to stay off roads, trails and backcountry areas of the Chattahoochee and Oconee National Forests and give crews time to do their work. Down and damaged trees are everywhere, and pose a serious, life-threatening risk to visitors. Along with many roads, most trails are blocked, and trees continue to fall. We have crews assisting trapped visitors, sawing out roads, and assessing damage. We need you to keep yourself and our personnel safe by making smart choices and avoiding the national forest at this time.

    We will continue to post updates about hazards and closures here on Facebook and twitter @ChattOconeeNF and on our website at www.fs.usda.gov/conf.

  14. #14

    Default 600+ blowdowns on the A.T. in Georgia

    The Trail Supervisor for the Georgia A.T. Club just reported more than 600 blowdowns (fallen trees) from Hurricane Irma along their 75-mile A.T. section. Approximately half of the GATC's section is in designated Wilderness, which means that chainsaws cannot be used.

    Please be patient while volunteers complete their work.

    Only those with current A.T. chainsaw or cross-cut saw certifications are authorized to use these tools to perform volunteer work on the A.T.

    Laurie P.
    ATC

  15. #15
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    Yo! Folks!
    Wait until you get an All Clear from the folks in charge.
    There are other places to hike.
    Wayne


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  16. #16
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    I can now provide more details on north of Dicks Creek Gap. There are 50 blowdowns just from DCG to Blue Ridge Gap, a 5.6 mile stretch. I ran into a flipflopping SOBO who said the 20 miles north of the Georgia border are even worse.

  17. #17

    Default Trail conditions--Woody Gap to Neel's Gap

    Quote Originally Posted by GaryM View Post
    Originally we were starting at Springer on the 9th but that pesky hurricane really screwed things up for us. We are now looking at a week long hike starting at Springer beginning on the 16th (Sep). So, any idea how the trail is?
    I just returned from hiking the stretch between Woody Gap and Neel's Gap. I had intended to stay out two weeks, but twothis days was all I could make. I have to say I've never seen anything like it. The trail itself is covered with thick blanket of leaves, branches, acorns, as is the forest floor. So it is difficult to make out the trail. You have to watch yourself to make sure you stay on the trail. And the blowdowns? My God. So many. And huge. I've hiked through ice downs in early spring, but present conditions are orders of magnitude greater. Blowdowns every two or three hundred feet. Small, medium size, huge. Lance Creek? Find it if you can. It, the creek, the trail, the small wooden bridge, the campsites are totally and completely buried under a mountain of fallen hardwoods. Unrecognizable. The first day I intended to make it from Woody to top of Blood. I got to Lance Creek. My question is, with blowdowns so huge and numerous, does anyone have any idea when the trail will be clear again? How long will it take to clean this up?

  18. #18

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    Very dissapointing to hear this Straich as myself and a hiking partner were set to hit the trail at Woody Gap next Sunday (one week). Sounds like we should second guess that decision. Thanks for the update everyone.
    JC

  19. #19
    Registered User Venchka's Avatar
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    More importantly, are there any fatalities under all of those trees?
    Obviously, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee aren't fit for hiking until further notice. Has anyone tried southern Virginia?
    Wyoming, Colorado and New Mexico were gorgeous last weekend.
    Montana got a nice snowfall and the fires might be out.
    Wayne


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  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by Straich View Post
    And the blowdowns? My God. So many. And huge. I've hiked through ice downs in early spring, but present conditions are orders of magnitude greater. Blowdowns every two or three hundred feet.
    blowdowns every 2 or three hundred feet would be a mild annoyance.

    Theres a current section of CT that has them every 10-50 feet feet...that gets to you after a dozen or so. All going uphill of course (or downhill depending on your direction). But its thankfully only a mile or so.

    same issue...wilderness...cant get chainsaw approval, so its been that way .....a while

    I chipped a tooth on a blowdown once across trail at head height. I was looking at trail tread, my hat bill obscured it from me, next thing I knew I was on my arse and spitting out piece of tooth. Ive actually been knocked on my arse several times by such trees..
    Last edited by MuddyWaters; 09-16-2017 at 10:23.

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