Event: North Georgia QRP Club / Adventure Radio Society
Flight of the Bumblebees Bartram
Date: Friday-Sunday, July 25-27, 2003.
Weather: From the low 60s F at night to low 80s F daytime
with mostly sunny skies and light breezes. Virtually
no flying insects. Excellent stargazing with
dark skies and good Milky Way views.
Base Camp Location: On
the Northeastern shoulder of Rabun Bald Mountain (4,696 feet) where the borders of the Warwoman Wildlife Management Area and the Chattooga National Wild and Scenic River Area meet
in eastern Rabun County, Georgia. Near the
intersection of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina borders where the movie Deliverance was filmed. Warwoman Road follows the Warwoman Creek along a
natural geologic shear.
Attractions of Base
Camps site: The altitude is only
about 2,440 feet above sea level, and about two+ hours drive Northeast of Atlanta,
yet the temperature is 10+ degrees F cooler than Atlanta.
The campsite is within earshot of a series of waterfalls of Holcomb Creek and
within 1/8 mile of the Holcomb Creek Trail on
which one may see the Ammons Creek Falls and Holcomb Creek Falls. This trail is mentioned in the August 2003 issue of
Southern Living magazine. Base camp site is within 2 miles of the Bartram Trail.
Base camp site is within 3.5 miles of Three
Forks Trail. This is a very electrically
quiet area. There are no power or telephone
lines above or below ground for about 4 miles in any direction. The area is considered a rain forest, receiving 60-80 inches of rain
annually. The highest city in the United
States east of the Mississippi River at 4, 118 feet is the resort town Highlands, NC, less
than 10 miles across the Georgia State border from our base camp.
Area History: The Cherokee Indians used the Warwoman Trail to
travel from Keowee Town (now under Lake Keowee, South Carolina) across the Chattooga River
(at Earls Ford) and to the Cherokee Middle Towns (present day Franklin, North
Carolina area) and Overhill Towns (around present day Nantahala River Gorge area in NC) .
In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto passed
through the area. Again in 1567, Spaniard Juan
Pardo made an expedition through the area. On May 19, 1775, Quaker naturalist William Bartram
crossed the Chattooga River and walked along the Warwoman Trail with his pack horse. In 1796, Benjamin Hawkins, the United States Agent
for Indian Affairs South of the Ohio River, also passed along this route nine times. The Cherokee Indian Reservation is less than 1
hours drive north of our base camp. Unfortunately,
the beautiful area in which we camped had a violent history.
In 1760, British South Carolina Rangers and Scottish Highlanders fought and lost
against the Cherokees. In 1761, the English
returned and defeated the Cherokees. The
English base was Fort Prince George across the river from Keowee Town. The fort site is now under Lake Keowee.
Directions: From U.S. Highway 441 in Clayton, Georgia, go east
on Warwoman Road (paved) 9 miles. Then, turn
left (north) on Hale Ridge Road (gravel) for 8 miles.
Hale Ridge Road is also called U.S. Forest Service Road 7. Base camp site is at intersection of Hale Ridge
Road and U.S. Forest Service Road 696 (gravel). A
four-wheel drive vehicle is helpful but not necessary in good weather.
Participants: Sam Billingsley, AE4GX from Atlanta; Mike
Boatright, KO4WX from Decatur; Pickett Cummins, AD4S from Lawrenceville; Scott Sikes,
KD4MSR from Athens; all Amateur Extra Class hams; and Sandy Sikes, K4WUF, a 2
year old male, blonde, American Cocker Spaniel. Mike,
KO4WX also operated as NoGA QRP Club callsign NQ4RP from the top of Rabun Bald Mountain at
4,696 feet, the second-highest point in Georgia, reachable via a steep 2-mile hiking trail
from Beegum Gap on Kelsey Mountain Road off Bald Mountain Road in Sky Valley, Georgia.
Rigs: Elecraft K1,
K2, Index Labs, Small Wonder Labs DSW 40, Radio Shack HTX10, various 2 meter mobile rigs
Antennae: 2 each
W3EDPs at 45 degrees to each other, Norcal Doublet with open
wire Popsicle sticks in feed line with balanced tuner, Portapole
vertical, MFJ 40 meter folded dipole, and various air-cooled dummy loads (handie-talkie antennas).
tents, 1 Coleman Fairlake pop-up camper, and 2 free-standing
screen rooms (1 for kitchen and 1 for base camp radio shack).
Cherokee Sport, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Tacoma Prerunner.
References: Some of the material above is taken from Brad
Sanders excellent book, Guide to William Bartrams Travels, following the trail of Americas first
great naturalist, Fevertree Press, Athens, Georgia, 2002. $19.95 at Borders bookstore. Do an Internet search for any key word, and
youll find many useful URLs.