A 15 Day December Decompression

12:27 p.m. on December 22, 2012 (EST)
225 reviewer rep
1,192 forum posts

BACKPACKING
THE
CITICO/SLICKROCK
WILDERNESS

Trip 140

December 3-17  2012

**  15 DAYS IN A DECEMBER DECOMPRESSION

**  WITH RANDY "CADENZA" ON BOB BALD

**  25 HUNTERS AND 2 DEAD PIGS IN BIG FAT GAP

**  BUTT COLD CAMPS

**  HOOTYHOO NO SHOW

**  5 DAYS ON FOUR MILE RIDGE

**  WITH PATMAN ON THE BOB

**  HELLSTORM ON THE BOB AND A 32 HOUR RAINSTORM


Okay boys, a whole month goes by since my last trip and the length is determined by moving from a doublewide fema trailer into a rural home in the land of Little Mitten's people at a place called Riceville, TN.  After attending to the endless emasculating details of such a move I get a break and a window of opportunity to square the winter kit away and go on another backpacking trip into the old haunts of the Citico/Slickrock.

Since Riceville is closer to the Big Frog/Cohuttas I could've done this December trip there but after the move my peanut size brain's in a jumble and I need to decompress and what better place than old stomping grounds.


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Beech Gap is once again my drop off point as Little Mitten and the mighty Zoe Dog leave me with a big pack by the Cherokee NF sign.


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Zoe Dog wants to go with me but she cannot, she can only be held in a final hug.


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After a 3+ mile climb of 1,000 feet I reach Bob Bald at 5,300 feet where I set up in the usual windy spot.


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Cadenza is a backpacker out of Nashville who's been doing Citico trips since 1984 and we link up and camp together on the Bob.


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Cadenza's camp is a hammock and he has an old style candle lantern, barely visible.


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FOUR MILE RIDGE---On Day 2 I leave the Bob and follow the ridge to the high gap at Naked Ground and along the way pass these pretty rocks.


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My camp in Naked Ground soon gets pelted with a cold December rain but it's nothing much.


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On Day 3 I throw out everything and get ready to follow Four Mile Ridge to Hangover Mt.  The rolled paper are my internet books of which I brought 10.


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There are 4 hills on Four Mile Ridge and then you reach this high point on Haoe Peak.  Then it's downhill to Hangover Mt.


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I wake up on Day 4 to an all-night and all morning rain so I sit put and write an essay on Birthing the Elusive Turtlehead.  The tent keeps me dry at 5,000 feet.


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The rain finally lets up and I pack and fall off Hangover Mt on a treacherous trail called the Hangover Lead South trail.  Not far down I take this shot in the heath and rocks.


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A 1,000 feet below the mountain I reach another favorite camp I call Elysium Fields because it's like heaven and beautiful.  There's even a creek nearby if you know where to look and enjoy a moderate bushwack.


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The first day of the trip I climbed a 1,000 feet and stayed put for the next several days at 5,000 feet.  On Day 4 I dropped off Hangover Mt and lost a 1,000 feet, so on Day 5 here I am dropping another 1,000 feet on the South Lead trail.


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I make it to Big Fat Gap and take a break near the Windy Gap trailhead.  Behind me is the South Lead trail coming off Hangover Mt.


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I luckily find water at the Windy Gap spring but it's low and my filter is almost completely clogged but a couple liters are filtered for the night's camp on the Windy Gap trail.  The filter will have to be cleaned when I reach Nichols Creek).

12:53 p.m. on December 22, 2012 (EST)
225 reviewer rep
1,192 forum posts
Re: A 15 Day December Decompression Trip


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I find a brand new camp where the Windy Gap trail gets off an old logging cut and it's right in the shadow of the big knob of Hangover Mt.


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From camp I can see the high knob of where I came from on Hangover Mt.


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I complete the Windy Gap trail on Day 6 and follow it down to where it jcts with the Yellowhammer trail and leave my buddy Hootyhoo a couple stick arrows to point my route.


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Dog Hat Camp on the Nichols Cove trail.


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KEVINUMBERGER---He comes in from Big Fat Gap and stops to say hello and says he knows me from our discussions on BP magazine forum threads and I remember him from posts about the NC mountains and the Citico/Slickrock.  I take his pic and he leaves down Nichols Cove to camp on Slickrock Creek.


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DAY 7---Since a big rainstorm is coming and I haven't seen my buddy Hootyhoo yet I decide to backtrack a mile and reclimb up to Windy Gap where I leave him clear sign of my direction and fall down the other part of the Nichols Cove trail to Slickrock Creek where there's a jct of 4 trails and set up camp after leaving the appropriate stick arrows.


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Little West Camp is on the west side of Slickrock Creek and gives me an exit point on Big Stack Gap trail in case the rainstorm brings high water.  It's supposed to hit at midnight.


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As predicted Day 8 starts in a cold December rain so I sit put and cook oatmeal and stay like a turtle in his shell for the day, my first zero day of the trip.  It's a good place to hang out as I left ample sign for Hootyhoo to find me if he decides to hike in the rain.

A lull in the storm gets me to do a recon dayhike around the area and to watch the creek rise.


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Day 9 turns wet and cold but I gotta move and it starts with crossing a cold Slickrock Creek and pulling the 1,000 foot climb to Big Fat Gap where I find 2 brothers of the forest shot and killed for being Pigs.  My tough climb is repayed with death.


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I retrace my steps from Day 6 and get water at Windy Gap spring and set up camp again at Cul De Sac Camp as I decide to backtrack all the way up to Hangover Mt for the weekend.  I have 4 days to get there and it's a 3,000 foot climb.


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Day 10 begins by leaving my camp on the Windy Gap trail and passing thru another day's clot of hunters as they stand up in a skirmish line and wait for their dogs to push pigs in their direction.  They call it hunting.  I can't get away from them fast enough and pass thru Big Fat Gap to start my day's 2,000 foot climb to Hangover Mt.

Somewhere along the way I take this pic of Fodderstack Ridge showing Cherry Log Gap on the left and Glenn Gap on the right.


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I make it to Hangover Mt and set up at the same place I was on Day 5.  In the distance is the Snowbird backcountry and the mts of NC.

1:10 p.m. on December 22, 2012 (EST)
225 reviewer rep
1,192 forum posts


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The coldest night of my trip happens on the morning of Day 11 when the tent gets coated in frost.


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Since this is a decompression trip to lower the stress of moving I decide to spend the rest of the trip on Four Mile ridge and set up camp 1.5 miles away at Naked Ground.  Day 12 dawns cold and pretty so I decide to sit put and wait for Hooty and pull another zero and then the school shootings come on the radio and it is sad news.

On Day 13 I pack up in a very light rain and pass by the NG trailpost as above.


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Patman and I plan a meetup and so he comes in at Beech Gap and I meet him on Four Mile Ridge.  He shows me his new Mt Hardwear down mittens so get the credit cards out, folks.


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Backpacking buddies in the wilderness.


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Patman and I set up on the Bob and here's his camp.


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Patman comes in my tent for dinner and to get out of the cold wind.


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Patman whips out his two glow sticks and it's a first ever event for me.


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A big rain and windstorm hits by midnight on Day 13/14 and keeps me awake for several hours as the tent shakes in torment.  See Patman's Trailspace trip report for more info.


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Patman packs and leaves the mountain at 7 in the morning and he has a walk in the rain but only has about 3 miles to go.  I pack in a lull but unpack when the storm gets worse with lightning bolts.  The storm keeps me pinned and Day 14 looks to be a zero.


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I'm up at 8 on the morning of Day 15 and go out to survey camp and take a foggy photo of the Bob after the storm.


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I make it off the mountain and reach Beech Gap and wait for my ride out.


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I find Patman's hat on the ground in the gap and so ends a December trip.

7:15 p.m. on December 22, 2012 (EST)
REVIEW CORPS
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1,258 forum posts

Ah, nice report! So up next is Big Frog or the Piz?

11:02 p.m. on December 22, 2012 (EST)
225 reviewer rep
1,192 forum posts

I've been to Big Frog twice but Cohutta only once so it looks like I'll be heading down to Big Frog after Christmas and I'm half-way excited.  For me the best entrance is from Thunder Rock campground on the Ocoee River.

2:43 p.m. on December 23, 2012 (EST)
52 reviewer rep
312 forum posts

In enjoyed this, especially the photos where you can see the mountains in NC behind your tent.

You guys must have some great photos through the tent door (there is a tumblr that collects those types of shot, I think). Good to see that the B.A. tent of Patman's can take a battering - from the design I wouldn't have expected it to.

Shame about the wild pig thing. I hope they actually use those for food?

Thanks for posting, guys.

Jon

Edit: yep, here it is: View from the Tent Door

September 1, 2014
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