"Planning on heading out to the Georgia Overland Trail in a couple weeks, leave Friday morning return Sunday. Interested?"
It's not every day that you receive an email like this, but a few weeks ago it’s exactly the email I received from my good friend Izzy, a man whose sense of adventure is beyond description. While I had concern that my now almost 27 year old truck could even make a trip of such distance, the desire to challenge myself prevailed, so I ultimately accepted the invitation... go big or go home, right?
My schedule at work combined with preparation for the trip and other family obligations had me scrambling until the last minute, 9pm on Thursday I finally got everything packed up and ready to go:
It was an early start the next morning:
I connected with Izzy about three hours later and we continued the route west together to our starting point near Lake Jocassee at the northwest border of South Carolina and Georgia which we reached around 1:30pm:
The afternoon led to a number of interesting roads:
We tracked 30 miles until it got dark, then settled in for the night at a wonderfully remote campsite that Izzy had plotted:
We broke camp and got a fairly early start the next morning, following fairly smooth service roads and a few paved connectors which were equally as enjoyable thanks to the brilliant scenery:
The route led us to a spot where we could top off our tanks and grab an extra cup of coffee:
Tanks filled, we continued on our route through lunch, with several instances where the radio exchange went something like:"The road on the left isn’t on the map, wanna check it out?"
Mid-afternoon we encountered our first road block… quite literally. Wild fires had been roaring throughout the area, so the original route Izzy had mapped out was closed:
Quick on his feet, Izzy came up with an alternate route on the fly, a route which was filled all sorts of spectacular surprises along the way:
We eventually ended reconnecting with the originally planned route, and at the start of a road where the signs painted a good picture of what was to come:
The road had a fairly easy start, but got progressively more rough and difficult as it wound its way along, culminating in a section which ranks up as one of the more demanding bit of driving I’ve personally ever done:
As the sun began to set we had a brief, friendly encounter with a group of locals who were just gearing up for a night of excess, while they extended a kind offer to stay and get #%%@-ed up (which I may have misheard as "stay and we’ll #^$%% you up") we chose to politely pass and find our way to an epic site where we settled in again for the night:
Day three got off to a more leisurely start. While we got our coffee brewed and ate breakfast, I took the opportunity to really soak in what an incredible spot we had landed in for our brief stay:
With a long return trip home inevitably waiting for us we considered some different routes for the morning which ultimately took us back down the same challenging road that we had driven the day before which also allowed us to witness the aftermath of the locals’ night out:
The trip down felt almost more challenging than the trip up, with stellar moments like this that Izzy managed to capture of me as I teetered on three wheels wondering why on Earth I hadn’t lobbied for taking the "just dirt road" option a half hour before:
The morning led us through some new experiences:
And ultimately to what would be the end of our off-road journey for the trip:
After stopping for gas and airing our tires back up, we stayed paired up for a few hours heading back east:
Shortly after parting ways, and dreading the final few hours of my journey alone I was blessed by nature with one last surprise:
A wondrous sight which fueled my spirit for the last hundred miles home. "Planning on heading out to the Georgia Overland Trail in a couple weeks, leave Friday morning return Sunday. Interested?"
Next time, Izzy, you don’t even need to ask, the answer is already "yes".
I wish everyone the very best on whatever adventures present themselves to you!!