Restore your state of mind

Leap Day at Leatherwood Creek Loop, Toccoa, GA.

It’s Leap Day! Not that it’s anything special honestly and it’s not why I decided to go on a hike. It’s been a while and Godfrey and I needed to get back outside on the trails. It was a brisk morning around 40 degrees. The trail, part of the Chattahoochee National Forest, began with an odd mix-up in directions on my map. Alltrails seemed to change the navigation view from the last time I used it. It’s something I’ll have to get used to I suppose or dig into the settings. Maybe there is a way to get it to navigate like it used to.

The Forest Service road was blocked for cars, which is nice. The trail led me through a variety of landscapes, from flat roads to gradual inclines and showcased the forest’s seasonal changes.

My dog Godfrey, being a Labrador Retriever, has a knack for finding and eating things he shouldn’t. Today was no exception. The Frady Branch Trails, near Toccoa, Georgia, is where the Leatherwood Loop trail is located. The forest service road offered a calm start, ideal for getting back into hiking after a short hiatus.

The trail passed through a diverse environment, a mix of Forest Service roads and actual trails. The weather transitioned from chilly to a perfect late winter day, with the high thin clouds painting a picturesque sky.

Navigating with the AllTrails app had its quirks, especially with recent changes. The app’s constant shade pop-ups and fixed north-pointing navigation was a bit of a pain. However, we pressed on, enjoying the simplicity of the walk through pine forests. Please note, if you’re planning to come to this trail there is plenty of horse poop to avoid.

Amidst the serene pine forest, Godfrey’s escapades and my attempts at staging photos added a touch of humor to the hike. That is, if you like a dog launching full-on at you right after you snap a pic. The trek included encounters with streams, rocky outcroppings, and a surprise find—a historical cemetery named Ferabrew Cemetery.

The Ferabrew Cemetery is named for Alias Ferabrew (or Farabrew because both spellings are on the sign that designates the cemetery) who died in the area while visiting. There is a large grave that might be his. It’s hard to tell because I could not find his name anywhere. There are two marked graves at the site for James Dean Brady and Mahula Brown Brady. Both died in 1902. There was no other information about them at the site. The rest are aged stones and unmarked graves.

We returned to the Forest Service road and noticed the sounds of spring. Birds were beginning to become active and their songs were echoing through the forest.

All-in, the two-hour hike covered 6.02 miles and a moderate elevation gain. The trail may not have had waterfalls or challenging inclines, but it served its purpose. The hike was a reminder that even the easiest trails can offer moments of serendipity.

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