#17  Brasstown Bald, Georgia (4,784 ft.)

Once upon a time the now-defunct Tour of Georgia, a professional cycling race, ended a stage by climbing Brasstown Bald. I did my own little climb up the mountainto the parking lot and thence to the summitbut I have no plans to go back and repeat it on Frankenbike, the vintage Ciele that I ride (on extended loan from my father-in-law) back home in Connecticut, the Land of Steady Habits. I'll take the heights on foot, thank you, and leave the bike for the flats.


Brasstown Bald is one of the highpoints for which I am, regrettably, media poor: few pictures, most of them bad, and some shaky video. Surely I must have taken the video through a coin-operated viewfinder (I can't quite remember), which at least gives it a little character. The explanation for this paucity in the visual record is the fact that I was traveling with my father, who in fact does not enjoy traveling all that much, certainly not hiking, and who probably goaded me into haste. C'est la famille. In case you don't know and were wondering, the USGS benchmark you'll see in the slideshow beside my Hi-Tec boot is hidden in a stairwell of the tower, above. To access it, you have to ask one of the nice rangers to open the door for you; the one I encountered was happy to do so.

Dolley Shot: Flight of the Bumblebee (Coin-operated Vista)

The Brasstown Bald summit tower, because of its observation turret and cedar shakes, resembles a strange hybrid of an airport control center and a deck on Fire Island. Inside the visitor's center, which is quite nice, you get a little history of the mountain, as you might expect, including the fact that local families once took wagons to the summit and held little hootenannies on the grassy "bald." You are also treated to a short orientation movie whose soundtrack features the theme song to "The Beverly Hillbillies." In all the wonderful history and sonic glory that is country music, they couldn't do better than Jerry Scoggins' and Flat and Sruggs's ersatz "Ballad of Jed Clampett"? Black gold and Texas tea do not a Georgian highpoint make.

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