Trail Running Close To Helen GA

Have you ever had the opportunity to run up a mountain trail in an early morning fog while the spring leaves and flowers are budding? Traversing the mountain ridge you feel the chilled air in your lungs as you breathe deep within your chest.  As your feet gently glide across the rocks and leaves you realize that this is like no other experience.  One of my favorite places to trail run is in the mountains above Helen Ga.

Trail Running Is Like No Other

I have found that the air is clean and the trails are smooth.  This type of running is very different from pounding the pavement not only because of the scenery, but also because it tests your focus and strength in a whole other level.  Looking out for roots and rocks in the path is very important and it forces you to stay present on the few steps in front of you instead of looking way out in front and getting sidetracked.

This sport is very challenging because the downhill sections of the run can be just as difficult as the uphill.  The feeling of passing closely by trees and ducking under limbs while navigating the trail keeps you on your toes.  The random log jump can be a blast as well.  There is always a new obstacle or wild animal to encounter!

The Rush Of Adrenaline

I will never forget running up a mountain ridge only to crest the other side with full grown black bear feeding only fifty feet down the slope.  I quickly traversed back down the ridge with an intense adrenaline rush.  My goal was the reach the top and now that I had been “spooked” if you will, I was quickly bounding down the path towards safety.  Then the thought came to my mind that I might spook a mountain lion as I was literally letting my body float down then mountain path just by lifting the front of my feet slightly and letting my knees brace my fall.

This was an adventure I will never forget and the trail run is always different every time I go.  There is something very special about running under a canopy of hardwoods with all of the green foliage and planting each step on the soft soil underfoot.  One trail in particular that reminds me of this setting is Blood Mountain.Helen Georgia

Running Up Blood Mt.

The sight of an incredible view will motivate many to trail run up a steep climb and this is exactly what drives me to the top of Blood Mt.  It is the tallest peak on the Georgia section of the Appalachain trail and not far from Helen Ga.  To be in the type of shape that it takes to run uphill for several miles is exhilarating.  The best section to run in my opinion in from Neel Gap.

It is about two miles from this location to the top of Blood Mt.  It helps that there are many switchbacks on this steep terrain and allows one to catch his or her breath while advancing up this climb. There are quite a few sections where rock covers the trail and you have to hike up over challenging surface.  Even though this trail is rugged and demanding the endorphins and view at the top are totally worth the effort.  Make sure to book a nice night at one of the many Ga cabin rentals that includes a hot tub to soak in after an intense trail run like this.

Trail Running Essentials

It is also very important to run with plenty of water because there are few places to fill up on this route.  A light jacket tied around your waist is a very smart idea as the temperature is sure to drop with the higher elevation and you never know when a storm is soon to roll in.  Trail shoes are a must and I prefer Soloman’s as they have solid sole with great grip even on slick rock and mud.  I would also suggest getting gore-tex for your trail shoes.

I know some people who insist on using gaiters that keep rocks and other debris from getting into your shoes while running.   It is a water proof and breathable lining within the shoe that keeps water out, but still allows your feet to get air.  A good hat that is breathable and keeps the water off is another essential.  Most of all before you head out for an epic trail run make sure that you are in shape Trail Run Georgiaenough to make the climb.

Conditioning is key and the last road block you want to encounter is fatigue.  Enjoyment is part of the game even when it is very challenging.  Know yourself and your limits before your set your sights too high.  Your shoes are a very important component and make sure that you have spent enough time in them before you go after a long climb because your feet will undoubtedly pay the price afterwards if not.

Socks are key too and my favorites are smartwool socks.  Especially for a grueling hike like Blood Mt. I would not suggest running alone.  It will be much for fun with someone else and safety should always come first when striving for this type of accomplishment.

Have you planned your next trail run to the North Georgia Mountains?

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Image #2 sourced from (louisvilleky.com)

Image #3 sourced from (haymarkethappenings.blogspot.com)