2002 Trips 6–10

TRIP 6  APRIL  2002

BACKPACKING THE CITICO WILDERNESS

April 14-15-16-17-18  2002

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP

  • The First Brush Mountain Hell Hike

TRAILS:

  • Warden’s Field
  • Pine Ridge
  • Fodderstack(south) To Hemlock Grove Camp
  • Fodderstack To Bob Bald(Raven Camp)
  • Bob To Cold Spring Gap
  • Trail 149
  • Brush Mountain
  • South Fork(Cable Camp)
  • South Fork To North Fork(First Crossing Camp On Ledge)
  • North Fork and Out

DAY ONE    I park at Warden’s Field and head up the Pine Ridge trail with a very heavy pack(the Kelty Ultra Tioga) and get to the Fodderstack/Benton MacKaye trail(B Mac), and turn right to eventually camp at the pretty Hemlock Grove site near Glenn Gap.

DAY TWO    I awake and go up the Fodderstack to Bob Bald and set up a good camp with water close by for hot meals.

DAY THREE    I go down from the bald to the Bob tee and head left towards Cold Spring Gap and take a break and then follow the Cold Spring Gap trail which I followed from the other direction on a previous trip when I was walking the North Fork of the Citico trail. I walk it until it merges with the Brush Mountain trail. This trail is beautiful but hard to follow and it becomes a pleasant hell ride to the South Fork of the Citico where I cross and go upstream a ways until I find a good site for the night.

DAY FOUR    I pack it up and head down the South Fork and cross over the footbridge up the North Fork and camp at a good spot across the creek.

DAY FIVE    I wake up and pack it in and head down and out.

NOTE:  Sorry, no fotogs for this trip.  The Brush Mountain trail is probably the wildest most rugged trail in the Citico wilderness, and getting down it was a struggle.  Later I find out that the forest service is taking the trail off the maps and it won’t get any maintanence.  Then, in 2009, a group of volunteer trail workers including Ken Jones decides to work with the forest service and reopen the trail, and it becomes one of the best trails in the southeast.

TRIP 7  JULY  2002

BACKPACKING THE CITICO WILDERNESS

July 23-24-25-26-27  2002

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP

  • Johnny Rupert’s First Citico Trip
  • Rain Deluge On The North Fork Trail

TRAILS:

  • Warden’s Field
  • North Fork(Camp Seven)
  • Upper North Fork(bad rain)
  • Fodderstack to Bob’s Bald(Raven Camp)
  • Bob to Fodderstack(north)to Crowder Camp
  • Crowder Branch
  • Doublecamp Road
  • Rocky Flats(Johnny’s Spur Camp)
  • Rocky Flats to Warden’s Field and Out

My old backpacking buddy and Pisgah brother arrives and unloads his gear for a trip into the Citico.

DAY ONE    My buddy Johnny B joins me on this trip as we drive my truck to Warden’s Field and park and head up the North Fork of the Citico and camp at the big spot on the left before the main climb after the 7th crossing. We have a good night and Johnny used his North Face tent, the Pebble.

DAY TWO    The morning brings cloudy skies as we hump up the North Fork past the two blue rocks and Old Goat Falls. Past the steep falls the rain comes and pours buckets as we scramble to cover our packs. Immediately our boots are soaked and the path becomes a river and the steep trail up to Cherry Log Gap kicks our butts. We break at the gap and start to chill so we hump up to the Bob tee and really take a break as the rain stops, then we go onto the Bob where we set up a good camp and let the gear dry.

DAY THREE    We pack it in and head down the Bob to the Fodderstack and off the mountain past Cherry Log Gap all the way to Pine Ridge junction for a big rest and then go down to Big Stack Gap and up to the Crowder Gap grassy area(now part of the B Mac trail). Here we set up a very good camp and cook up a meal and sleep.  Below are more shots of Johnny B’s arrival:

Johnny B is packed and ready to go. If you look closely you can see Johnny’s beloved dog, Kudra.  Johnny is using a big CampTrails pack and it’s fully loaded as usual.  My new Kelty Ultra Tioga pack is nearby.

Little Mitten wishes she can go with us but she has to stay home while we have our fun.

Johnny B and Tipi Walter ready to go. We first met in 1985 and thru the years did many backpacking trips into Pisgah and around the Boone area.  We lived in Tipis, we backpacked as homeless bums, we pulled hundreds of trips to Upper Creek in Pisgah and to Rainbow Gatherings around Shining Rock and dozens of Celo community trips. Celo community?  It’s a cool place in North Carolina where Joe Hollis had his Mountain Gardens set up and Johnny had a Tipi which he lived in for 5 years.

DAY FOUR    We pack and head down Crowders trail to Doublecamp road and down it(where we see a big copperhead)to Rocky Flats trail but before we get on it we swim in a nearby stream. It’s refreshing and we spend an hour there until gearing up and starting the steep ascent up Rocky Flats as daylight wanes. As we reach the old chimney site the light fades and we look for a decent tentsite but we are spooked by the old time homesite and find nothing so we get water and head up the valley into the ridges and finally find a small ridge finger big enough for 2 tents and 2 dogs where we camp and cook and sleep. I later call this camp the Johnny Spur.

DAY FIVE    We pack it in and hike out along pretty Abbey Branch and finish Rocky Flats trail down to the Citico creek where we jump into the water and then head home.

Here’s a good view of what Crowder Camp looks like and the place Johnny and I camped on Day 3.

TRIP 8   AUGUST  2002

BACKPACKING THE BALD RIVER WILDERNESS

August 6-7-8-9  2002

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP

  • First Kirkland Trail Trip
  • Sandy Gap and I’m Lost

TRAILS:

  • Bald River(Cascade Camp)
  • Holly Flats Road
  • Kirkland Creek
  • Sandy Gap(Gravel road down into North Carolina)
  • Kirkland Creek(Branch Camp)
  • Bald River
  • Big Pine Camp and Out

As I pass thru the Bald River wilderness I reach this final series of waterfalls which I call the Cascades.  I found a nearby campsite upriver in a tiny little spot in the trees by the bank of the mighty Bald.

DAY ONE    I park up on the Tellico River at Baby Falls and walk into the Bald River Gorge all the way to the Cascades where I find a small tent site nearby. (This was a one-time camp and later I found a much more level camp further from the Cascades but very nice).

DAY TWO    I wake up and walk out to forest service road 126(and past Holly Flats campground) and turn left and walk a little less than a mile to the Kirkland Branch trail which crosses the Bald River and goes up towards the state line and Sandy Gap. This was a long hard day of disorientation and creek crossings. After I finally hit Sandy Gap I thought I was on the Waucheesi Mountain dirt road(!) and so I walked down it but was in fact walking down a long steep descending road into North Carolina. After finding out my mistake I hauled butt back up a thousand feet to Sandy Gap and retraced my steps down Kirkland trail to a campsite somewhere along the creek I just passed much earlier in the day. This became the second most difficult day in the woods in my 24 years of backpacking.  Don’t ask me why.

DAY THREE    I left the Kirkland creek site and headed down the trail back to road 126 and turned left and passed the Holly Flats campground and went into the Bald River wilderness. I walked to the midway big pine campsite and set up the tent for the night.

DAY FOUR    I packed up the gear and walked out.

On the way back thru Bald River I pass by the Cascades again and sit to take a break.  This rock juts out over the river and you get a great view of the Cascades tumbling down around you.

TRIP 9  AUGUST   2002

BACKPACKING THE BALD RIVER WILDERNESS

August 23-24-25-26  2002

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE TRIP

  • Bald River Trip With John Rupert, Little Mitten and Her Son Blade

TRAILS:

  • Bald River
  • Big Pine Camp
  • Bald River and Out

Little Mitten and her son Blade stands at the trailhead to the Bald River wilderness as we begin our trip.  Mitten is wearing her standard Kelty and Blade has on my old North Face BackMagic pack.

DAY ONE    I park at Baby Falls and hike thru the Bald River Gorge with Little Mitten and her son Blade in full backpacking gear. She has her new Kelty Tioga pack and Blade has my old North Face BackMagic external and I have the new Kelty Ultra Tioga. We hike hard over the gorge ridge and down into the wilderness and finally camp midway at the open site past Papaw Cove creek which I refer to as the Panama creek. We have the big yellow tent and my Muir Trail tent.

DAY TWO    It’s a perfect campsite as we settle in and explore the area. I go up Papaw Cove and find a remarkable campsite and further up a remarkable cove. Coming out to the main trail next to the Panama creek who do I find resting and waiting but Johnny B and his dog, Kudra. We talk and he has a new Jansport pack so we hike into camp and all is good. He sets up his other North Face tent next to ours, a Lenticular.

DAY THREE    We spend all day at the same spot and we walk Mitten and Blade out to the parking area and say goodbye. We pick up some stuff at John’s car and head back in. After we arrive at camp we dayhike up to the Cascades and look at the falls.

DAY FOUR    We pack it in and head back to the car.

Here I am with Little Mitten and Shunka dog at the Bald River trailhead.  On the early trips I was wearing the Limmer boots which I got at Footslogger’s in Boone, NC.

Old Pisgah brother Johnny B comes into the wilderness and joins us with his North Face Lenticular tent.  Check out his nice Jansport pack

 

TRIP 10  SEPTEMBER 2002

BACKPACKING THE BALD RIVER WILDERNESS

September 5-10 2002

BALD RIVER BASECAMPING TRIP
DAY ONE TO DAY FIVE    I parked at Baby Falls and walked into Bald River Gorge and set up the tent in a semipermanent basecamp mode fashion at the rock site by the Cow Camp trail junction where Little Mitten and I camped before on Trip #5. Here I stayed for the next 5 days exploring everywhere around both sides of the river and found many interesting things. I waded the creek and crisscrossed the valley and found old homesteads and crumbled chimney sites.

 

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