So, I ended up on the coosa backcountry trail, going solo. I did get another friend to join me Sunday morning at a road crossing to finish it out with.
The CBT is a great 13 mile loop, with more strenuous than moderate sections. It begins in Vogel state park, the oldest in GA. It's perfect for an overnight weekend hike, or a dayhike if you're in thruhiker or trail runner shape. I'm not.
I took the loop counter-clockwise because that was the advice I found. I think that when I do it again, I'll do it clockwise for a couple of reasons. First, if you do the trail counter-clockwise, there's no water or wet campsites after the halfway point for the next 5 miles. If you camp past the halfway, you're going to have to dry camp and have enough for the next day too. I don't mind dry camping, but tend to use about 3 quarts of water in camp, and could use even more in the summer. That's all the water I have capacity for, and if my friend had not come in the morning, I would have had a very thirsty hike Sunday, or alternately had to ration my water more in camp if I had been wise enough to plan for it. The first half of the loop had plenty of water, I could have easily only carried one bottle.
Secondly, I kind of like to get the hard part done with first and if you go counter clockwise, it's moderate followed by strenuous, where clockwise it's the opposite. Either way, I would seriously consider making a water cache at hwy 180 or thereabouts. I'm 40 lbs overweight and sweat alot, so I drink gallons in the summer. I also had to share my water with Trixie the wonder feist.
Ticks were abundant. I pulled 3 off myself before they bit, and I stopped counting at 7 for Trixie. I only found one that had bit her when I got home, but it was a deer tick, so I'll watch her for signs of Lyme.
Some gear notes about this trip. Pack weight was ~25# with 2 days food and 3 liters of water. 45* sleeping bag, 10x10 tarp and tyvek ground cloth. POE 2/3 length self inflating sleeping pad and a cut down blue pad to sit on, Starlyte & fancee feast stoves, 6 oz of fuel and heinepot with bayou billy's steel mug and skidsteer coffemaker. Brought my radio for luxury and caught a great station out of Asheville, WCQS. Saturday night brought a prairie home companion followed by several hours of local Appalachian mountain music and then Jazz and blues. BBC news in the AM. My old Gregory pack was too big and heavy but supportive and overkill for the trip. I have in the past, always filtered, boiled or brought all my water. My wife had "put away" (more likely thrown away) my sqeeze bottle filter. So I ran to walmart and picked up tablets. I used iodine/vitamin c tablets for the first time, and boy was I impressed, they had no taste (maybe a slight vit. C tang) or color. I was expecting the worst, after all they only cost 6$. Potable Aqua "with PA plus" iodine and ascorbic acid kit in two bottles. Highly recommended.
I didn't take the chance to stop at MC because I didn't need a pack and there was a traffic jam from a motor cycle rider that went splat. It's fairly common to see a wreck up there on the weekend, the roads are all twisties with switchbacks and curves galore. Bikers and car clubs love it, and it's only about an hour and a half up from Atlanta, so there's TONS of them on a summer weekend. There's lots of going over the double yellow line, even though that could easily get you or the oncoming car or bike killed. Also lots of going too fast, ending up in going over on the high side or losing your rear end in the gravel. It's not the place for inexperienced riders to go fast, yet it draws them like flies.