Sunday Hikes: Tray Mountain

About a month ago I was at work, halfway through my shift when I got a text from a friend saying; “want to go camping this weekend?”. I said yes and I got off work at 5pm and we left at 6pm. We drove into north Georgia and followed a dirt road far into the woods that dead ended at the Appalachian Trail. We got to our backcountry site off the side of the dirt road well after dark to find that the site’s previous occupants had left us a surprise. The fire pit was filled with trash, empty and full beer cans, whole liters of coke, multiple loaves of bread, and a ripped in half trash bag. We also found multiple pairs of socks strewn about the site as well as vomit on a tree. Needless to say this wasn’t the best example of Leave No Trace. It was probably 10pm when we started cleaning up the trash and an hour later we had stuffed it all in the car and cleaned the site up as good as new. We made food and coffee and called it a night after hanging out by the fire for a while. 
The next day We decided to hike a small bit of the AT. We took the 1.5mile connector trail that took us to where Tray Gap and Addis Gap meet. We hadn’t planned which way to go and ended up going towards Tray Mountain. Tray is the second tallest mountain on the AT in Georgia and is only a few feet shorter than the tallest, Blood Mountain. The first point of interest we hit was the Swag of the Blue Ridge sign and took our picture by it. 

There were a lot of long steep stretches that took us over a couple mountains. And at some point we took a side trail to fill up on water. We reached the bottom of Tray and sat down in a little grassy knoll to eat some granola before the steep hike to the top. I could have easily fallen asleep on that comfy patch of grass. We didn’t sleep though and forced ourselves upwards towards Tray’s peak. The trek was long and steep but all of the sudden we found ourselves walk out into the small open granite area on top of the mountain. The views were great from the top and we were both excited to reach the top and began to take pictures and admire the views. There were a couple of AT thru-hikers that had reached the top at the same time as us and we chatted with them for a bit before having another snack and heading back. We hiked back as far as the Swag of the Blue Ridge with two other hikers that we got to talk to about hiking gear, mountain lions, travel, and probably more stuff I don’t remember. We left them behind and headed back over two more small mountains before taking our side trail back to the campsite where we made lunch and chilled the rest of the day. We did the math later and we did somewhere around twenty miles of hiking that day without planning to. Spontaneous trips like this one are some of my favorite things to do and can be so relaxing. 

Thanks for reading! – Josh

Also sorry about the lack of pictures. 

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