Here I am wearing the official "America's
Roof" T-Shirt at the summit.
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I climbed Brasstown Bald on July 26, 1998.
Brasstown is unique among the state highpoints in the southern Appalachians in that it actually stands out and is instantly recognizable from a distance (even poor Mt. Mitchell, NC, the East's highest is obscured by nearby comparably high peaks). Brasstown rises up from Lake Chatuge and Hiwassee to dominate the skyline. Its tourist tower makes it easy to identify. Further, being a "bald" means that there is actually a panorama unobstructed by trees (although down the hill a ways is Georgia's only rain forest!).
The rising from the Lake is particularly
poignant in that the mountain is the ending spot of a Cherokee version
of Noah and the flood. The flood killed everyone except those who arrived
there in a Great Canoe.
Inside the summit museum automatons tell the story of the mountain. One robot represents Ranger Kingfish Arthur Woody, a legendary local from the early 1900's who helped establish the management of wildlife in the area. The other automaton is a contemporary ranger. It's your guess as what sex that creature is.
The other thing peculiar about the
summit is that the USGS marker -- the bread and butter talisman for highpointers
-- is locked behind a door. The rangers will unlock it. On this day when
lots of highpointers were coming over from a Convention, the rangers were
Northern Georgia was the site of a
"the Gold Rush of 1829" centered near Brasstown at Blairsville. At its
peak, more than 300 ounces of gold a day was coming out of the area. Limited
mining continues to this day (as do nearby tourist meccas offering chances
to hunt for rubies). There is enough gold in them thar hills that the residents
were able to sheath the state capitol dome in Atlanta in 1959 with Georgia
We approached the summit after bagging
Carolina's Sassafras Mountain (about two hours summit to summit) and then
following U.S. 76, crossing the Chattooga River (the "Deliverance" river).
This area is highly concentrated with dramatic waterfalls and national
Signs warned folks to be careful with
bears. Another signed noted that it was a half mile climb with a 500 foot
vertical ascent to the summit. For $2 you could take the van shuttle. The
trail was steep enough to be interesting but switchbacked enough to make
it into a mini super highway. The folks behind us pushed up a baby carriage.
The automaton representing legendary ranger Arthur Woody who made Brasstown Bald into the monument it is, gives a tour at the summit.