White County High Point Trip Report

Date: September 26, 1999
Author: Ron Tagliapietra

Editor's note: White County and Habersham County share a common highpoint. The text here refers to Habersham and also applies to White.

Route: We parked on GA 17-75 at Unicoi Gap (Appalachian Trail crossing) to enjoy a longer hike instead of driving the long gravel road. From here the AT climbs Rocky Mtn. (big campsite on top and first of several views south to Yonah Mtn. just beyond), descends to Indian Grave Gap (mi. 2.7), climbs to Tray Gap (mi. 4.3), and then to the summit of Tray Mtn. (mi. 5.2). At the last campsite before Tray Gap, you can see the entire ridgeline of Tray running from northwest (left, high summit) across a small bump in the middle (hardest to see through trees) to southeast (right, broad bump not necessarily any higher than the middle bump).

Main summit: We found the benchmark and great views (south is Yonah Mtn., north is Standing Indian, northwest is Brasstown Bald with its distinctive lookout tower, and in the far west is Blood Mtn.). I also used a clinometer to measure a four degree declination to the broad southeastern ridge confirming finally that the main summit is much higher than the other two points (just as it appeared from below) and is the summit of White County.

Middle peak: Since Habersham county does not touch the main summit, the other two bumps had to be explored. We walked maybe five minutes on the AT northbound descending a dip and ascending the next bump. The summit is five paces left of the trail in brush and about 10 yards before the first campsite northbound (campsite on right). This top is a few inches higher than the trail and I consider the AT to summit.

Third peak: A small unmaintained trail departs the AT along the right side of the campsite mentioned above. The trail descends gently and then ascends to the third bump in a heath bald. It is worth following the trail beyond this bump. You will find a remote campsite off of the AT here and a bit further a beautiful overlook east to Rabun Bald. From the overlook the ridge descends steeply.

Fourth peak: It should be noted that beyond the small campsite, the AT loses 200 feet in almost a mile to a plateau area on the north shoulder of Tray near the Montray Shelter, many campsites, and a nearby cliff along the AT. This shoulder is the fourth summit bump, but it is fully 200 feet lower than the other bumps (see topo).

Habersham conclusion: Habersham is important since it is needed for a GA county, an AT county, and a twofer. I think the second bump (alongside AT) is the higher of the two possible highest contours for Habersham HP. I am purist enough to repeat peaks that I know I did not get (such as LA state HP when I learned that HP was on second hill instead of first) and I agree that HPers should do things the best they can as they visit new ones BUT for five paces and a few vertical inches I do not think an AT hiker should have to return here (if that were required some Mt. Lemmon claims need to be cut for sure). Future visitors should be sure to take in the both Habersham spots and the extra few yards to the view.