Google+ Georgia On My Mind: Sundown on a Bald Mountain

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sundown on a Bald Mountain

Over a week ago my husband and I were out riding in the North Georgia mountains. He suddenly got a wild hair to visit Brasstown Bald and climb from the visitor’s center up to the summit tower…..a distance of six tenths of a mile. The summit tower is seen in the picture to the left.

Two things need to be noted with a chuckle at this point……

First, that the husband got a wild hair since that patch on top of his head is mainly skin these days, and the fact that I was attempting to climb a trail virtually straight up in the air. My idea of a good walk is through Lenox Mall or through the streets of Atlantic Station, not communing with a steep trail and the possibility of a close encounter with a big old bear.

But….the husband wanted to see the sunset from the summit of Georgia’s highest peak……a mere 4,784 feet, and I have been in a cooperative mood of late, so off we went.

There were lots of stops along the way for me to gain control of my heaving chest and to contain the heart attack that felt so imminent. It’s a great trail, but I did wish we had gotten there before 5:30 in the evening so we could ride the shuttle to the summit…..oh well.

The name Brasstown Bald arrives in our current vernacular from the Cherokee Indians who used to inhabit the area prior to their rather rude removal at the hands of the United States government. They referred to the mountain as Enotah and it was named for a former Cherokee village…..Brasstown. White settlers actually misinterpreted a Cherokee word as they were prone to do and the name stuck.

So as I huffed and puffed to the summit I had to wonder……where in the heck does the Bald come into play? All I could see on both sides of the trail were rocks and trees, more trees, and even more trees. There is nothing bald about Brasstown Bald, at all.

Cherokee legend though tells of a story involving a flood….a great flood. This supports the facts every anthropology teacher and professor I’ve ever had who drummed it into me that every major civilization has a flood story to support their ancient history, and the Cherokees are no different. The legend goes that a great flood came to the area and the Cherokees who managed to get to their canoes survived and ran aground on the summit of a bald mountain where they remained farming the cleared land until such time the water receded. That mountain was Georgia’s Brasstown Bald.

Geographers use the term “bald” today to refer to any mountain where you can see the surrounding countryside in a 360 degree panorama. Here are some of the views:

I survived the climb and the husband did get his sunset picture at the summit……:) It was lovely and worth the huffing and puffing.


Susan said...

Hey we were there on the 10th. You were real close to where I live! Now see if you walked it once a month that woyuld have seemed like an easy hike.... Ok I lied that up hill hike is never easy but there are many nice waterfall hikes nearby that are. Let me know next time ya'll take a drive in the mountains!
Susan :)

smellyrhinostudio said...


lillinda said...

I have been visiting that area since I was a child. I have climbed Brasstown Bald at least 10 times and only had a clear view once ! I love North Georgia !

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