Day 217, Year 6 Island in the Clouds
Date: Sunday, May 29, 2011
Weather: Another Beautiful, Sunny Day
Location: “Down the Road” Cabin near Blue Ridge, Georgia

Today we walked the 0.5 mile Summit Trail to the tippy top of Brasstown Bald. We climbed the last 500 feet of the 4, 784 foot mountain in that half-mile and emerged at the Visitor Center at the top. The name Brasstown Bald comes from a bit of language confusion. It originated from the Cherokee word ‘itse-ye’ meaning ‘new green place.’ But this got confused in the translations with the Cherokee word ‘untsaiyi’ which means ‘brass.’ The mountain is also a ‘bald’, made that way through logging and being used as pasture land, thus the term Brasstown Bald. The paved trail to the top wound through thickets of a kind of rhododendron locally called Catawba Rosebay (Rhododendron catawbiense) and Mountain Laurel (Kalmia latifolia)-both in full bloom. Catawba Rosebay flowers from May to June, and the rose, lilac-purple, and pink flowers were hanging in clusters of up to 20 individual flowers. The blooms of the Mountain Laurel are cup-shaped and are a delicate white with purple markings on the inside of the cup. It was a beautiful hike up the mountain and the 360-degree view was fabulous. We watched a video that called the Bald an ‘island in the clouds’ and it does sit right up. They say you can see the city of Atlanta on a clear day (100 miles to the south), but today was a little hazy, probably the more normal condition for this time of year.

Before our drive to Brasstown Bald, we went to the arts and crafts fair in Blue Ridge. We had great fun walking around looking at all the goodies. I was especially impressed with one nature photographer and admired the results of the potters and woodworkers. Lee and Mary Ellen found a great detailed map of the area, so it was a successful stop.

This evening we all played pool again. Last evening the women beat the men – twice! They dunked the 8 ball both times. Tonight we switched teams around so everyone had a chance to win (even the guys)?

Tomorrow’s adventures include a walk across a swinging bridge and another waterfall. Then on Tuesday morning, we head back to the Carolinas with wonderful memories of our North Georgia mountain excursion.

110529 Day 217 North Georgia–Brasstown Bald