Tray Mountain – A Winter Hike

IMG_1407I started at the Unicoi Gap trailhead hiking north on the AT to Tray Mountain. The day was sunny under a bluebird sky and mild temperatures. I wanted to hike slow and stretch the afternoon as long as I could before reaching where I would camp.


IMG_1290View of Mount Yonah

IMG_1295Trail north of Indian Grave Gap

IMG_1303Empty house at the Cheese Factory campsite

IMG_1306Moon rising over Tray Mountain

IMG_1321View from Tray Mountain summit, on the horizon is the Atlanta skyline some 80 or so air miles away.

IMG_1377My MLD Solomid home for the night

IMG_1346Tray Mountain is known for shifting wind and cold temperatures during the winter months, this night held true. Tucked in for the night, at 2:30 AM it was 24.6°F, I was warm and comfortable all night…with the exception of having to leave the tent at 2:30A…brrrrrr!

IMG_1375Sunrise through cuben fiber


IMG_1380Finder’s keepers


IMG_1392Filling up at the Cheese Factory spring

IMG_1405Taking a break and donning the puffies for warmth

IMG_1395Great winter hike, looking forward to next week!





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16 thoughts on “Tray Mountain – A Winter Hike

    • I didn’t need the hoody and wrapped my pillow with it, I used the Turtle Fur neck gaiter over my face, much more versatile, I will be cutting a nose and mouth hole in it making it easier to breathe. I was very warm all night in a 32° WM Summerlite down bag, wearing Capilene 2 base layers and down jacket, had to unzip the jacket after awhile in the bag.

  1. Jerm, I know you may not believe this, but I’m 100% certain that Kershaw knife you found is the one I lost there about 6 months ago !! I lost it on tray mtn. earlier this year and searched for over 1hr for it. I usually head there from atlanta a couple times/yr to camp. I normally camp at the site just below the ‘ski slope’ summit ascent, tucked in the woods to protect from wind, though i have also hammocked at the site 1/2 way up the final ascent, and even camped once in 18degrees at the summit. I use a GG murmur and my shelter is usually the gatewood cape. I’m not holding out for generosity here, but it sure would be sweet to see my knife again as it was a gift. It’s a ken onion and has served well over 100s of trail miles in the southern Appalachians.

  2. Not sure exactly when you were up there, but we did Neel’s Gap to Unicoi Gap last Sunday thru Tuesday and the snow was gorgeous! I’m so glad to see reports of trails in Georgia! Thanks for transforming my morning with your beautiful photos!

  3. this makes for a great story. i was the one who gave elliott the ken onion leek knife, and was with him on tray when he lost it. when i saw this article as part of gossamer gear’s email, i was shocked to see my buddy’s knife. fantastic! thank you for posting the picture. maybe someone should start a lost and found site for the woods…

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