Here in Georgia we don’t have many opportunities to ride in the snow, but this weekend we did! On Sunday, a small group of diverse vehicles met at Nimblewill Church in Dahlonega, Ga to prepare for a easy mountain ride, little did we know snowy conditions awaited us. We piled into our trucks, turned our CBs (the original group chat) to Ch. 7 and headed left on Nimblewill Creek Road en route to Hawk Mountain. Steven of Sawtooth Bound led to convoy in his Jeep as he was very familiar with Hawk mountain. The mountain roads en route to Hawk did not disappoint, and as we climbed higher it became apparent we were in for some snow! Finally arriving at the base of the Hawk Mountain trail, we stopped to engage 4 Wheel Drive and began the ascent up the snowy, rocky trail.
Slowly traversing up the mountain, the snowy got heavier the trail got slicker, and we really started to have a good time! Reaching the top of the trail we had two routes to go up a pile of slick boulders or be precautionary and go around. We choose the latter on the ascent, and made it to the snow covered peak of Hawk Mountain. Once we had sufficient coverage for the gram, we started back down. With my Trooper’s stock suspension, and the length of the Wes‘ Dodge Ram we opted to go back down the same route, but Steven, Ron, and Eric chose the large boulders for the descent. Steven’s Jeep was up first, slowly flexing its way down the slippery rocks, followed by Ron’s FJ Cruiser, and Eric’s beast of an Amigo making it look easy. Once down the trail we started the journey to Flatland Road for the more technical part of our journey, only stopping for gas and to be distracted by a deeper than it looked mud puddle.
With all the recent rain we had in the previous week, and the fact that 3 of the 5 of us had never done Flatland Road we decided to go down the trail instead of up, and boy we were not disappointed. The trail leading in has some fun parts with hills and small water crossings, but it doesn’t quite prepare you for Flat lands itself. There comes a point on Flatland where there’s no turning back, and that point is the top of the trail leading in. Following Eric of Classic City Overland‘s lead we began down the technical section of the trail one by one. The first parts is fairly tame, but the addition of descending the trail adds an extra level of caution. Getting through the first section unscathed we reached the towering walls Flatland is famous for.
Assessing the ruts ahead, Eric walked us through the art of tackling this beast without total vehicle destruction. Watching Eric run his beast down through the ruts, I hesitantly folded the Trooper’s mirrors in and started down the path. Getting within literal centimeters of the wall, and being almost completely on my side at times, Steven, Eric, and Ron, guided me down the gauntlet. Coming out completely unscathed, I parked the Trooper and headed back up the mountain to help the rest of the crew down. One at a time, the Ram, FJ, and Jeep powered their way down the throat of the beast.
With one more sketchy portion of the trail to go Kelli, my wife, wanted to give off road driving a try so she hopped behind the steering wheel of the Trooper and off she went. Having literally no experience off road, she jumped right into one of the more difficult parts of the trail, and cruised through with relative ease. Needless to say it won’t be her last time behind the wheel while on the dirt!
The last section of Flatland Road is arguably the best, dodge low branches, logs to the left and right, and finishing with a series of really fun water crossings. Fun fact: Jeep fenders do seem to be secured with Dollar Store quality connectors and will come unattached. But with enough will and determination you can wade through the muck and find that fender sticking up like a Georgia Loch Ness Monster.
Not wanting to end our day quite yet, we headed to the Toccoa River Swinging Bridge which we bypassed earlier in the day. Again we were not disappointed by this stop. With camping, fishing, hiking and awesome scenery, this bridge was a perfect end to our day long adventure.
Huge Thanks to Steven, Ron, Wes, Eric, and Kelli for being a part of this ride and compiling pics for this post!!