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Hiking During Hunting Season and How to Protect Yourself

by JP on Nov.29, 2008, under Camping, Cycling Trails, Environmental Issues, Hiking Trails

How many times have you been hiking or biking on a trail only to hear the unmistakable sound of gunfire?

At this moment, or hopefully before, you Immediately know you are hiking during dear, duck, or turkey season. Unfortunately for you, these seasons also tend to be the best season for hiking, biking, and camping (not too hot & not too cold).

At that sound, you immediately feel vulnerable to gunfire. A feeling that may be somewhat warranted.

While being injured by a hunter is very unlikely, we cannot look past the possibility while hiking through the woods.

Now contrary to popular belief by some opponents of hunting, hunters are not shooting everything that moves in the woods, and often follow all the proper rules of gun safety (I am one of these hunters myself).

The safety issue, does not come from hunter negligence, the safety issue, may, however, arise from those inopportune times when hunting is occurring near trails. This hunter/hiker interaction in inevitable as we all use nature around the same times.

As such, hikers, bikers, and hunters alike need to be aware of the other’s existence and perhaps take some extra precautions when preparing to go out.

Among the precautions taken should be the followed:

Hunters- know and understand the layout of where you are hunting and try to identify all potential trails that create “non-shooting” lanes. Nothing will ruin a good hunt like ambulances and police, not to mention accidentally shooting someone. Take the extra steps, if not to simply protect yourselves.

Hikers/Bikers – A great article on SectionHiker.com (called Hunting Season and Hikers)has recently been written regarding procedures you can take. I highly recommend checking this article out as it provides some great tips on safety during hunting season.

Let’s all enjoy nature, and keep safe this holiday season.

Happy Hunting  and Happy Hiking  from SouthernHiker.

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Disc Golf on St. Simons, GA – Gascoigne Park Disc Golf Course

by JP on Nov.28, 2008, under Georgia Disc Golf

On Saint Simons Island there is a very out of the way, small disc golf course. This course, however, is extremely well marked, and is unique in that it falls within what appears to be a very old live oak park (some of these trees ancestors are believed to have been used in building the historic USS Constitution (a.k.a. Old Ironsides)).

This Disc Golf Course is a 6 hole course located in Gascoigne Park. Finding the park is somewhat difficult, but once located it provides an enjoyable short game with numerous obstacles (large live oaks).

To park is located along the river, and sets aside Gascoigne Park, just south of Epworth by the Sea.

The first tee for the course is located near a newer looking pavillion and garden on the side of the park that is farthest from Epworth By the Sea.

Before starting, be sure to enjoy the views of the bluff from the viewing pier.

Hole 1: 219 ft. par 3.

The tee is marked with two pieces of wood, and the hole is found on a slight leftward arch amidst three live oak trees.

View of the Beginning Pavillion from Tee 1

View of the Beginning Pavillion from Tee 1

Each Tee/Hole is marked with a sign and two pieces of wood

Each Tee/Hole is marked with a sign and two pieces of wood

Hole 2: 285 ft. Par 3

Hole 2 is located just alongside the dirt road past hole 1. This course requires the player to make a choice between driving to the right or left around two live oaks in the center of the course.

Hole 3: 348 ft. Par 3

Hole 3 creates some confusion in this course. After playing the course, it appears that a mistake was made in numbering the actual baskets. As such, from the 3rd tee, you will be throwing at the basket marked with a number “4″.

This hole again requires the player to drive around live oaks in the center of the course.

Actually Hole 3's Basket

Actually Hole 3

Hole 4: 170 ft. Par 3

The basket for hole 4, like hole three appears to be mislabeled.  At the 4th tee, you will be throwing at the basket marked with a “3″. As can be seen from the second picture, there is a huge live oak tree very close to the first tee, which makes for an entertaining first drive.

This is the basket for Hole 4

This is the basket for Hole 4

Hole 5: 284 ft. Par 3

Hole 5 is a little difficult to locate leaving Hole 4. To find it, look back towards the dirt road that runs parallel with the park. This hole marker can be seen just below some shrubbery before the dirt road. This hole may be the easiest of the course. It is nearly a complete straight shot.

Hole 6: 256 ft. Par 3

The final hole of this course is a long drive, followed by an approach that must hug the side of a live oak. The final basket sets just behind and to the left of another live oak.

After the final basket, the player ends up back at the parking area near the pavilion.

Alternatives:

In addition to the well marked tees, there are a number of alternative tees located throughout the park. These tees are typically marked with a number to indicate which basket to throw at, or are close enough to the marked tee that the basket number is apparent.

Directions:

1. Take the FJ Torras Causeway on to St. Simons Island.

2. Take the left fork onto Demere Road

3. Take the next left on to Sea Island Road.

4. Take the next left on to Hamilton Road

5. At Hamilton Road, you will be facing Epworth By the Sea on the right, and the park is on the left.

6. Turn left on to Arthur J. Moore Road and follow the road to the parking area near the pavilion.

St. Simons Disc Golf Course from the final basket

St. Simons Disc Golf Course from the final basket

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Jekyll Island Biking – Part 2

by JP on Nov.25, 2008, under Hiking Trails

As promised in my last article on Biking on Jekyll Island, I am going to write about another biking/hiking trail on Jekyll Island. Although this trail is short, the ride to it and back also provides some enjoyment as you ride around the island.


This trail is found on the northern end of the island, just prior to the Clam Creek area. The trail is very short (less than 100 yards), but leads to a very remote beach area that is surrounded with some interesting scenery containing  downed trees and driftwood. From the beach, the lighthouse on St. Simon’s Island can be seen across the ocean.

Directions:

1. Ride North along BeachView Drive.

2. As the road leaves the homes along the road and begins to curve around there is a small parking area and a dirt trail.

3. Follow this trail to beach. For a map check out: The Jekyll Experience

While on the North end of the island, follow the bike path up to Clam Creek Picnic Area for additional views of St. Simons, Clam Creek, and if you are lucky, a dolphin or two.

25 Bicycle Tours in Coastal Georgia and the Carolina Low Country – Check out Bicycle Tours in Coastal Georgia for other Great Rides.

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Biking Jekyll Island, GA

by JP on Nov.24, 2008, under Hiking Trails

Jekyll Island, Georgia is one of the few cities in the south that can be said to have completely embraced bicycling as a means of transportation. With just over 20 miles of bike paths, exploring the entire island via two wheels is in many ways preferable to automobile.

The paths in Jekyll are well defined, and while not entirely paved, are more than sufficient for even the most basic bicycle rider.

The varying bike routes on Jekyll also provide eclectic experience.


If dealing with limited time, or you only desire to ride a short distance, I recommend one of two rides.

Ben Fortson Parkway-Jekyll Island Club Loop

This loop begins in the free parking area just to the right of the Ben Fortson Parkway as enters the island. Cross the parkway on the designated crossing area. From there, follow the clearly marked bicycle path northeast.

This bike path continues onto a service road for a short time, before continuing onto a smooth gravel/dirt road.

Be sure to enjoy the views of the Marshes and Ponds along this trail.

Don’t Forget to Watchout for the Wildlife Too

This trail soon ends on the road running alongside the Historic Jekyll Club.

While in the area, check out Millionaire’s Row and the Jekyll Wharf

Circle around the Historic District and cross the same road that was crossed entering the historic district, only this time closer to the beach. This crossing is near the Sea Turtle Conservation Center (a great stop by the way, with bike parking on the side). Follow this path alongside one of Jekyll Island’s golf courses. This path comes out on the main beach road near the mini golf course. From here, a concrete path will continue back towards the parking lot where the loop began.

I will post another biking trail tomorrow.


For a map of biking routes on Jekyll Island check out : The Jekyll Experience Bike Map

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Sweetgum Lodge Loop Trail – Red Top Mountain, Georgia

by JP on Nov.19, 2008, under Georgia Hiking Trails

Length: 3.5 mile loop

Difficulty: Easy to Very Easy – Follow the Red Blaze

The Sweetgum Lodge Loop Trail is a trail that begins at the parking lot near the Red Top Mountain Visitor’s Center, and continues in a loop from the Visitor’s Center to the Red Top Mountain Lodge, camping area, and back to the Visitor’s Center.

The trail takes hikers through the forest of Red Top Mountain with minimal elevation changes. The hike is an extremely easy, but pleasant hike for those short on time, but wanting to take a brisk walk through the woods.The hike also provides a brief walk near the shores of Allatoona Lake, although, its current level of water is somewhat low due to the Georgia drought.

Notes:

There may be some confusion in the area where the trail reaches the lodge. The trail DOES NOT continue to right (that is Lakeside Trail). The trail continues on the other side of the Lodge parking lot.

Cross this parking lot, trail continues on other side

Cross this parking lot, trail continues on other side

After the parking lot, follow the sign back into the trail, but be sure to notice where the white tail diverges to the right, and the Sweet Gum Continues to the left and then crosses over lodge road. This turn is marked by a double red blaze.

Double Red Blaze where White Tail and Sweet Gum Diverge

Double Red Blaze where White Tail and Sweet Gum Diverge

Nearby Trails:

Homestead Trail – 5.5 mile loop

Visitor’s Center Loop Trail – 0.75 mile Loop

Iron Hill Bike Trail – 3.9 mile loop

Lake Trail – 0.75 Mile loop

Directions to Red Top Mountain State Park

From Atlanta:

1. Take I-75 North past Allatoona Lake to exit # 285

2. Turn Right and follow the signs into the Park. The visitors center and parking lot is on the main entrance road.

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