Hale Ridge Letterbox LbNA # 22190
|Placed Date||Apr 2 2006|
|Found By||Scout MOM|
|Last Found||Jul 13 2013|
Note: I checked on this box 9/2007, and the fields are no longer a smooth grassy spot for a picnic! Looks like they've been planted to provide foodstuff for wildlife. This does not affect the box or the clue, but it does make the walk a little more rough. In the fall, I advise you to wear a bright color and sing or talk so that wildlife and any hunters can see and hear you coming. It's a nice spot, and the box is in great shape! Many thanks to all who have found it so far! Enjoy!
* * *
I live in the lands surrounding Hale Ridge Rd. (FS Rd #7) in North Georgia, near North Carolina. To follow the directions exactly you will have to drive North on Hale Ridge (a gravel road) from Warwoman Rd. The sign at Warwoman says “Hale Ridge Cemetery”.
Welcome to my home, human. We do not mind you visiting, but please clean up after yourselves and don’t damage the area. This place belongs to wildlife now- to birds, insects, deer, rabbits, wild boar, bears like myself and a whole host of other creatures. Even if you don’t see us while you’re here, rest assured that we are not far away. In fact you will probably notice signs of our habitation- perhaps you’ll see the dug up ground and hoofprints from the wild boars. Or a scrape on a tree from a buck, an owl pellet coughed up in the grass or a recent pile of “scat” (which is what you hiker types call animal poop). You can learn a lot about who lives here now, and you can also see signs of the people that lived here almost a century ago. Some of these are obvious, such as the road itself and Mt. Zion Baptist Church Cemetery. But some you have to look for, and many have disappeared entirely.
Soon (0.3 mi) after you pass Mt. Zion Baptist Church Cemetery, there is a road that angles off to the left. A white sign there says “Road Closed” but there is a yellow sign on the tree that says foot traffic is fine. You’ll want to walk a short way down that dirt road to find my favorite fields.
This land was part of 165 acres owned by Logan Hamby. He and his family lived and farmed here for many years, before selling the land in the late 1930’s for 50 cents per acre. These fields were used to grow corn, and across the road was pasture for the cows. There were several families farming out here on Hale Ridge Rd, though the only access to the rest of the world was out by Scaly Mountain.
Even at that time, some of my kind lived in these parts. Here there are good berries, grubs and grasses to eat, and even the occasional small game or carrion feast. These fields are a perfect spot for you to have a picnic and to relax and play. Just be careful to pack all your trash and food scraps out of my habitat. We bears particularly enjoy garbage and other human food, but it’s not good for bears to eat human food. If a bear associates people with food, the bear could become dangerous. So even though I like to eat garbage, it’s very important that I stick to my natural diet.
Anyway, to find my box den walk Southwest across the field toward the creek. Cross the little land bridge to enter the 2nd field. Stroll along the edge of the 2nd field, keeping the forest at your right hand and the creek across the field to your left. You will pass a brushy area that was planted to separate the 2nd and 3rd fields. Wild turkeys like this kind of cover. Continue along, now in the 3rd field. Look toward the creek and notice the trees growing all in a line- they are a sign that this was once a farm, because they are very precisely and evenly planted. There was probably a farm road there once- you can walk along it’s remains under those trees if you like.
At the end of the 3rd field you will find a broad path that heads Southeast into the woods. Take approximately 17 paces along the path (you may notice there is old barbed wire fencing in the woods around here- be careful!) And stop. Sight 220 degrees and look for a small brush pile in a little clump of trees, approximately 15 paces from the path. There is my box home.
Stamp in, and please take extra special care to rehide the box well. We bears generally prefer to stay out of sight, and it’s better that way. Thank you for visiting my den- I hope you enjoyed my fields!
* * *
Once back at your car, if you wish you can continue on Hale Ridge Rd into North Carolina. The road will dead end, and you will have to turn left to continue on Hale Ridge Rd (Right is Overflow Creek Rd). A fair ways on you will see the Bartram hiking trail (there a large sign), and then the road becomes paved. You will begin seeing private homes along the road- keep an eye out on the left for a lovely home with a gated driveway. Standing on a rolling green hill are four tall classic columns- it’s a startling sight there in the grass. My research turned up a few different stories about the origin of those columns, but the most reliable tale says the columns used to belong to the Old Peachtree Hotel in Atlanta. The hotel was to be demolished, and the then-owner of this property bought four columns and set them up in his yard. He was an artist, and I guess he just liked the way they looked. Supposedly when he died, he was buried by his columns- though later when his widow sold the home, his remains were moved to a new location. So here is an interesting little bit of Atlanta history standing incongruously in the North GA mountains!
Hale Ridge Rd. will turn right again (left is Bald Mtn Rd); continue on until Hale Ridge dead ends into NC 106.