The road we use was a freight road for wagons in the post civil war era. They had a sort of winch at the top of the steep sections, and you unhooked your mules , then they pulled you up with the winch. This was not free of course, and the road was called a "turn pike" because you had to pay the toll. My side of the mountain range is steep, but the other side is really impressively steep. Big trucks today can't use the road because they burn out their brakes and go off the cliffs. That happened about 3 weeks ago, as it does periodically. Years ago a school bus from Florida tried to come down that stretch, burnt out the brakes, careened off the road and hit an oak tree. Ended badly.
We use it because it's the shortest way to her house, saves about 20 miles over going through the next pass over.
There are plenty of pull over's along this road, so you can let your brakes cool. We took this picture while we were waiting.
We took this photo on the other side of the summit. On a clear day with no smoke in the air you can see Atlanta from here.
You can't tell it, but just a few feet behind M is a cliff. Ever so often, people will pull over here at night, walk over to look at the lights, and go right over the cliff.
I don't know why they don't at least put a sign or rails, something.
This steep road crosses it at the summit. There's a trail head there where you can park if you want to do a day hike, or if you are coming from Springer Mountain and plan to hike to this gap, then quit and head home. Not a good idea though, since the vehicles get vandalized or broken into on a routine basis.
If you saw the movie "Into the Woods", this is the Appalachian Trail way station where Robert Redford and Gary Busey were walking through the stone building. It's perched right on the summit, at Neal's Gap, Georgia on Blood Mountain.
When we came back home, we came this way. It's actually out of our way a bit, but the road is much better and you don't have to smell brake smoke all the way down the mountain.
North Georgia is popular with people who think Big Foot is lurking in the national forest. A couple of years ago, a deputy sheriff driving down the road at night in White county, Ga got some dash cam footage that is pretty hair raising, over near Helen, Ga,.
I don't know if Big Foot is out there or not but I don't meander around the woods anymore. Hogzilla certainly was real and those guys are probably more dangerous than Big Foot if he is really out there.
The famous Neal's Gap Gato. Everybody has to have their picture taken with him. I think he should put up a sign and charge $5.00 like the Indians do along the highway in the Southwest.
This is the overlook at Neal's Gap. They have a nice, shaded picnic area there, with tables.
The Appalachian trail runs through the overlook, up a long flight of stone steps, and then on off into the woods.
This picture doesn't do the view justice. You can see way down into the "flatland" from up there.
The Hiking Center at Neal's Gap sells all sorts of camping supplies, hiking gear, books on the trail and the mountains, maps, food , you name it. They also have a service where they will mail extra gear you don't want to hump over the mountains anymore back home for you. We always go in the center and look at the offerings when we go this way, but we only use this road perhaps two or three times a year.
The trip to my mother in law's house took us through Helen, Clarkesville, Cornelia, Toccoa, Duluth, Gainesville, Cleveland and all points in between. We took back roads all the way. There were many, many little houses like this one, flying the Confederate flag, and lots of businesses. I saw many Confederate flag bumper stickers, and a lot of pickups with a pole mounted in the bed and the flag flying from that. It made me feel better. Things are not so grim as the talking heads would like everyone to think. In the country side, the appreciation of Southern heritage is strong.
I used the movie "Gettysburg" to show clips to my 5th graders when we studied the Civil War. It's a good , historically accurate movie. It's also ok for kids about 12 and up, I would say.
Among other recent events, somebody broke into the kid's Jeep up there where they live, and stole the new $200 phone I just bought my daughter. It was insured, but what a goat rope it has been trying to settle all that. AT&T are the worst people in the world about trying to nickel and dime you to death when you have to make adjustments to the account. They are charging me a $20.00 activation fee to let the replacement phone use the account. AT&T reeks. I have been looking for a better service, but I am limited by the fact that only Verizon and AT&T have any coverage here where I live.
Cell phones are largely line of sight propagation. In the mountains, you can pretty well forget about reliable connections.