Chattooga River, an Aerial View

Hey everyone! If you subscribe to our email newsletter you’ll have already heard the news that we’ve added a Mavic Pro drone to our camera equipment collection to get some really cool shots of places that we explore! If you haven’t subscribed yet you can at the top of this page or click here! Email is how we get in contact with all of our readers about new content, upcoming posts, and adventures! In the last email, I let everyone know of plans to check out the snorkel hole at the Conasauga River, camp out for the weekend, and get some of the first shots in the mountains with the new drone. Sadly, as Georgia weather is as unpredictable as always, the trip got rained out. We were going to spend the whole weekend there, but it stormed all weekend. So that promise got postponed, and for that, I apologize. Because that was the only weekend that work and other obligations have allowed for the whole weekend to be spent in the woods, we took a day trip to the Chattooga River this past Saturday where we’ve been backpacking many, many times.   The Drone The Mavic Pro. It was …

The Fundamentals of Outdoor Safety

The Fundamentals of Outdoor Safety Staying safe in the woods to me is one of the most important things to plan for when preparing for a trip to the woods. Whether you’re camping, fishing, rock climbing, alone or in a group, you name it, it’s always important to have a plan just in case disaster strikes. The most common issue that I’ve ever run into while camping is cuts, bruises, and scrapes. These are pretty much unavoidable if you ever plan on camping, but that doesn’t mean to be careless. Thankfully I’ve never been alone when these things have happened so I’ve always had help getting my hands on a first aid kit and someone to help me bandage a wound up if it’s bad enough. The second most common issue (per my experience) are encounters with wildlife. Jacks River Falls is my go-to weekend backpacking spot. At Jacks River alone I’ve seen three different species of snakes, wild boar, and foxes all on the same trip. Thankfully I’ve never had an encounter with a bear, but I know they’re out there.   Being Prepared First off, let me say that you can never be too prepared, because you never …

Keep On Keepin’ On; Brown and Wild Rainbow Trout

Okay guys, sappy post time! Last Saturday the weather was forecasted to be nice, so what is there to do other than fish? I wanted to try a new place, but I was having a hard time deciding where to go. I have a book called “Fly Fisher’s Guide to North Carolina and Georgia” (click to find it on Amazon) so I decided to browse through it and see what I could find. I had the set intentions of catching a native brook trout or a brown trout as I’ve never caught either of these before. I wasn’t sure where to go other than the Chattooga (where I watch a good friend catch a beautiful brookie), but I only had the one day to spend, and it’s about a mile and a half hike to the best spots to fish there. I kept looking and looking and it seemed like Coopers Creek was going to be my best option, but I was dead wrong. I got to Coopers Creek around 6:45 AM, and it was nothing like I’d expected. It was wider than most of the small streams in Georgia that I’ve experienced, and with all the rain we’ve had …

Leave No Trace, Do Your Part!

Pack In, Pack out! Leave No Trace, in my opinion, is one of the simplest concepts to understand, and it should be extremely important to anyone and everyone who is stepping out of the world to enjoy nature. Leave no trace (also known as “Pack in, pack out”) simply means that when you get off the trail or leave one site to go to another, there should be no evidence that you were ever there other than some footprints and fresh ashes where you put out your fire. One thing to consider is that leave no trace doesn’t only mean take your trash with you when you leave, it means to be considerate of what’s around you. Take care when hanging hammocks or slacklines to make sure that you don’t damage the trees, choosing a clear spot for tents and not disrupting undergrowth, and respecting wildlife are major factors. Food   Something that many people don’t think about is packing out extra food or food scraps. When you make a dinner and have leftovers, pack the extra with you. The food we eat is not intended for animals and can make them sick. If it’s a natural food such as …

Backpacking Tips, Tricks, and Hacks for the Beginning Backpacker

In our most previous post, we talked about preparing for your first backpacking trip. We covered basics of clothing (layering and protection from the elements), choosing a basic shelter setup, sleeping bags, ground pads, and several other backpacking basics. Our goal for this post is to provide a little bit more in-depth explanations and “how-to’s” on basic backpacking skills. Some of the areas that we’ll cover in this post are; packing efficiently, starting a fire in wet conditions, keeping you and your gear dry, a simple first-aid packing list, and a handful of little shortcuts that will make your trip a little bit easier and less expensive if you don’t already have all of the latest greatest gadgets. If you have any added tips or suggestions please leave them in the comment section below! Packing   Knowing how to pack correctly is critical, especially when it’s a long trip or a multi-day trip. Properly packing will both save space, and reduce the weight of your pack, making the physical stress of carrying your gear a little bit easier. The good thing about saving space is that you’ll have room in your pack, so your gear isn’t ripping the zippers. Also if …

Preparing For Your First Backpacking Trip

Per my experience, you can never be 100% prepared for your first trip. There’s always going to be that one thing you forgot, that one thing you didn’t prepare for, or the one thing you didn’t even know that you would need. I remember my very first backpacking trip to the Chattooga River Trail. It was a bit of a crazy trip, to say the least. It was three of my close friends and me, all at the age of sixteen. I wasn’t sure what I needed to pack, or how to pack light. I hiked the 6-mile trail with an overly heavy sleeping bag (for “car camping”) that my parent’s handed down to me from years before, I wore a pair of heavy work boots, a 60L pack that was so full I had to start hanging things off of the back of it, and way more food (and not substantial food), all for a two-day summer trip. I swear for a week my entire body ached in ways that I never knew it could. This all being said, don’t misunderstand me and think that you have to go out and spend a fortune on gear, especially on your …

Smith Creek, Unicoi State Park

This past weekend we decided to hit up Smith Creek in Unicoi State Park, one of our favorite small streams to fish! About Smith Creek Smith Creek is a great stream to fish when you’re looking for somewhere with relatively easy access that’s not a terribly far drive from Atlanta. It’s located off Unicoi Bottoms Rd just a few miles outside of Helen, Ga. Smith Creek is a heavily stocked stream where you will find many spots filled with rainbow trout that range in size anywhere from 8 inches to 16 inches in length. It’s a very well known stream, so be sure to arrive early to get to the better spots. Gear Smith Creek is a bit of a small stream, so there’s not a whole lot of room for fly casting. Hannah and I took this trip and both used 9 foot 5 weight rods and had no issues, but it was a bit of a challenge in certain spots to not get hung up in trees and brush. If available I would highly recommend a 6-7 foot 3-5 weight rod. Amazon has several good deals for getting started such as this Wild Water 5wt 9’ Rod 7 Piece …

Jacks River Falls, Cohutta Wilderness

Our Experience on the Trail & Terrain Jacks River Falls is hands down one of my favorite trails to hike, as it can be one of the most fun trails in Georgia, as well as one of the most challenging. The first time that I hiked Jacks River Falls was around a year and a half ago and I honestly had no idea what I was getting into. River crossings, several steep inclines, rocky trails, lots of wildlife, and some of the most beautiful stargazing that I’ve ever seen. All in all, this trail gives you the best experience on Georgia trails that you can get, at least as far as trails that I’ve hiked. Jacks River Falls trail has a wide variety of terrain, but it’s not for the faint of heart. It’s about a 10 mile hike to the falls from the trail head, and you must cross the river 22 times in order to get to the falls. The rocks in the riverbed are a bit of a challenge to cross without falling to say the least. **If you have an old pair of hiking boots that are still usable, glue felt onto the bottom of the …

The Wild and Scenic River, Chattooga River Trail

 Our Experience on the Trail Per my experience, I’ve hiked in around 7 miles to a wide section of the river with an amazing campsite directly on the river bank. Just upstream of the campsite are nice wading waters that don’t get much more than waist deep but mostly stays around knee deep. Just downstream is a nice deep section with large rocks on the bank. The deep section is amazing for swimming, and the large rocks make an excellent spot for stargazing after sunset. I would highly recommend the Chattooga River Trail to anyone looking for a moderate hike for a weekend, as the hike is not too hard, and only takes 3 to 4 hours depending on pace and experience. It’s a great trail if you’re looking to spend the majority of your time relaxing at camp and hanging out by the river. Across the river directly from where I usually camp is the Chattooga River Raft put-in section, as well as a few more campsites if you ever feel adventurous enough to cross the river with your gear. I actually did this about a year ago, and keeping your balance in the river with all of your …

How to get amazing photos on the trail, without carrying a huge camera setup…

Over the years I’ve always struggled with getting good photos of my backpacking and camping trips. I’ve had a Canon DSLR (I have the Rebel XS) for years with several different lenses that takes phenomenal photos, but it got to the point that I just didn’t want to fool around with having to put it all in dry bags, or even worse deal with the weight of the camera itself.  Although the camera isn’t that heavy, it still took its toll on long trips, and I had to sacrifice a lot of room for it. I’ve always seen people using GoPros in surfing videos, travel videos, out on boats… you get the point. With seeing these videos over and over for who knows how long, I finally decided to take the step and give the GoPro a try. Conveniently I made this decision shortly after the Hero 5 Black was released. The first time I took it out on the trail with me I realized what an amazing decision I had made. It’s small, lightweight, easy to pack (or even put in your pocket), waterproof, and there are so many accessories that you can get for it. Out of all of …