Leaf Report, Hwy 5 Meeting Update, Sports Car Routes, Eagle on Nottely, Hiking the Cherokee Guide

Temperatures were a bit milder this morning, about 55. Looking across the valleys, there’s some color out there, but I’ve seen more in other areas of the county. There’s probably more up in Tennessee, but chances are, it won’t be a great leaf season due to the drought.

Speaking of the drought, I had to go to Kelly Ridge Road to list a sweet little prow front yesterday, and I was really shocked by how much drier it is there than here. As in bone dry. And that can’t be six miles as the crow flies.

We called the DOT, and they said the meeting is from 4-8 on the 19th at West Fannin Elementary, and that the signs would be corrected. Everyone should go to this meeting. We’re talking about 168 residential displacements in Phase I alone. I believe 64 more on Fightingtown Creek if the bypass is built.

The folks at Stop the McCaysville Bypass have posted a map of their alternate plan on their Facebook page. It looks like a much better alternative. Three lanes down into McCaysville, three lanes (one way if necessary) on West Tennessee to a new bridge at the curve. Make the steel bridge into a pedestrian area and improve the downtown business district.

We were out doing our early morning dog walk and saw a guy polishing what looked like a brand new 911, so of course I had to stop to talk. And give him some advice on the area’s great drives. One is Morganton to Suches to Dahlonega on Hwy 60 south. You could navigate from Dahlonega to Amicalola Falls State Park – well worth a visit – and then back on 52 to Ellijay. Another is the famous Tail of the Dragon – 129 on the western end of the Smoky Mountains from Robbinsville to Vonore. That starts about an hour and a half from here, going up Spur 60 from Mineral Bluff to Murphy. From there, I’d probably navigate from Vonore to Madisonville and back on TN 68. But if you didn’t get enough of the dragon, could go back down and take the Cherolaha Skyway to Tellico Plains and then back on Hwy 68. But … as I told him, if you don’t start at the Tail at the crack of dawn, you’re probably not going to have any fun.

The Friends of the Library Booksale was especially good this year. I think we got out of there a little south of forty books … but at a buck a book for hardcovers, that’s not a disaster. Anyway, found a 1992 book that was new to me, Wilderness Trails of the Cherokee National Forest, by the Harvey Broome Chapter of the Sierra Club. It’s pretty great. Among other things, there’s a detailed and fascinating history of the efforts to designate and protect wilderness areas within the Cherokee. Looks like it hasn’t been revised, but there are copies available on Amazon for fifty cents plus 3.98 shipping, so you can still get it.

We saw a Bald Eagle on Lake Nottely yesterday, first marina on the left on 129 from Blairsville. They’re not unknown here, but it was still a bit of a thrill.



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