Event:  North Georgia QRP Club / Adventure Radio Society “Flight of the Bumblebees” Bartram Trail-Warwoman DXpedition.


Date:  Friday-Sunday, July 25-27, 2003. 


Weather:  From the low 60s F at night to low 80s F daytime with mostly sunny skies and light breezes.  Virtually no flying insects.  Excellent stargazing with dark skies and good Milky Way views.


Base Camp Location:  On the Northeastern shoulder of Rabun Bald Mountain (4,696 feet) where the borders of the Warwoman Wildlife Management Area and the Chattooga National Wild and Scenic River Area meet in eastern Rabun County, Georgia.  Near the intersection of Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina borders where the movie Deliverance was filmed.  Warwoman Road follows the Warwoman Creek along a natural geologic shear. 


Attractions of Base Camp’s site:  The altitude is only about 2,440 feet above sea level, and about two+ hour’s drive Northeast of Atlanta, yet the temperature is 10+ degrees F cooler than Atlanta.  The campsite is within earshot of a series of waterfalls of Holcomb Creek and within 1/8 mile of the Holcomb Creek Trail on which one may see the Ammons Creek Falls and Holcomb Creek Falls.  This trail is mentioned in the August 2003 issue of Southern Living magazine.  Base camp site is within 2 miles of the Bartram Trail.  Base camp site is within 3.5 miles of Three Forks Trail.  This is a very electrically quiet area.  There are no power or telephone lines above or below ground for about 4 miles in any direction.  The area is considered a rain forest, receiving 60-80 inches of rain annually.  The highest city in the United States east of the Mississippi River at 4, 118 feet is the resort town Highlands, NC, less than 10 miles across the Georgia State border from our base camp.


Area History:  The Cherokee Indians used the Warwoman Trail to travel from Keowee Town (now under Lake Keowee, South Carolina) across the Chattooga River (at Earl’s Ford) and to the Cherokee Middle Towns (present day Franklin, North Carolina area) and Overhill Towns (around present day Nantahala River Gorge area in NC) .  In 1540, Spanish explorer Hernando DeSoto passed through the area.  Again in 1567, Spaniard Juan Pardo made an expedition through the area.  On May 19, 1775, Quaker naturalist William Bartram crossed the Chattooga River and walked along the Warwoman Trail with his pack horse.  In 1796, Benjamin Hawkins, the United States Agent for Indian Affairs South of the Ohio River, also passed along this route nine times.  The Cherokee Indian Reservation is less than 1 hour’s drive north of our base camp.  Unfortunately, the beautiful area in which we camped had a violent history.  In 1760, British South Carolina Rangers and Scottish Highlanders fought and lost against the Cherokees.  In 1761, the English returned and defeated the Cherokees.  The English base was Fort Prince George across the river from Keowee Town.  The fort site is now under Lake Keowee.  


Directions:  From U.S. Highway 441 in Clayton, Georgia, go east on Warwoman Road (paved) 9 miles.  Then, turn left (north) on Hale Ridge Road (gravel) for 8 miles.  Hale Ridge Road is also called U.S. Forest Service Road 7.  Base camp site is at intersection of Hale Ridge Road and U.S. Forest Service Road 696 (gravel).  A four-wheel drive vehicle is helpful but not necessary in good weather.


Participants:  Sam Billingsley, AE4GX from Atlanta; Mike Boatright, KO4WX from Decatur; Pickett Cummins, AD4S from Lawrenceville; Scott Sikes, KD4MSR from Athens; all Amateur Extra Class hams; and Sandy Sikes, “K4WUF,” a 2 year old male, blonde, American Cocker Spaniel.  Mike, KO4WX also operated as NoGA QRP Club callsign NQ4RP from the top of Rabun Bald Mountain at 4,696 feet, the second-highest point in Georgia, reachable via a steep 2-mile hiking trail from Beegum Gap on Kelsey Mountain Road off Bald Mountain Road in Sky Valley, Georgia.



Rigs:  Elecraft K1, K2, Index Labs, Small Wonder Labs DSW 40, Radio Shack HTX10, various 2 meter mobile rigs and handie-talkies.

Antennae:  2 each W3EDPs at 45 degrees to each other, Norcal Doublet with open wire Popsicle sticks in feed line with balanced tuner, Portapole vertical, MFJ 40 meter folded dipole, and various air-cooled dummy loads (handie-talkie antennas).

Tents/shelters:  2 tents, 1 Coleman Fairlake pop-up camper, and 2 free-standing screen rooms (1 for kitchen and 1 for base camp radio shack).

Vehicles:  Jeep Cherokee Sport, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Tacoma Prerunner.


References:  Some of the material above is taken from Brad Sanders’ excellent book, Guide to William Bartram’s Travels, following the trail of America’s first great naturalist, Fevertree Press, Athens, Georgia, 2002.  $19.95 at Borders bookstore.  Do an Internet search for any key word, and you’ll find many useful URLs.