18 Days and the 28th Nutbuster Trail

9:27 a.m. on May 7, 2013 (EDT)
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BACKPACKING
THE
BALD RIVER
UPPER BALD
AND
CITICO/SLICKROCK
WILDERNESS

Trip 144
April 12-29  2013

**  18 DAYS IN THE UNICOI MOUNTAINS

**  BACKPACKER EDDIE IN THE BALD RIVER WILDERNESS

**  LIGHTNING BOLTS ON THE WHIGG

**  KEN JONES AND THE CROSSCUT MOUNTAIN BOYS

**  MASSIVE RAIN AND WINDSTORM IN BARREL GAP

**  BMT HIKERS RED HAIR AND CAN'T TALK LONG

**  ELEVEN BOY SCOUTS ON THE BOB

**  MEETING CHRIS, KRISTEN AND STACY

**  AJ AND JON IN NAKED GROUND

**  DOING THE JENKINS MEADOW--NAKED GROUND TRAIL LOOP

**  FIR TREE CAMP ON THE BOB

**  BACKPACKING WITH BOB BUTTERFIELD

**  HELL SLOG UP THE NUTBUSTER TRAIL WITH BOB BUTTERFIELD

**  THE 28TH NUTBUSTER

**  WET AND COLD AND HYPOTHERMIC AT NAKED GROUND

**  42 HOUR RAINSTORM IN NAKED GROUND

**  BOB LEAVES NAKED GROUND IN A DOWNPOUR

TRAILS
Bald River entrance
Bald River
**Big Pine Camp**
Bald River
**Cascade Winter Camp**
Bald River
Holly Flats Roadwalk
Brookshire Creek
**Fern Camp**
Sugar Mt
Sycamore Creek
**Sycamore Camp**
Sycamore Creek
**Hobo Camp**
Sycamore Creek
**Whiggs Meadow(Little Whigg)**
Mud Gap
Skyway BMT
Beech Gap
Fodderstack
Cold Gap
Trail 149
**Barrel Gap**
Trail 149 Backtrack
**Cold Gap**
54A South
**Bob Bald Raven Camp**
Four Mile Ridge
Naked Ground
Haoe Lead
**Toad Camp**
Haoe Lead
Jenkins Meadow
Naked Ground Trail
**High Dog Camps**
Naked Ground Trail
Four Mile Ridge
**Bob Bald Fir Tree Camp**
54A North
**Snow Camp(2)**
BMT Fodderstack
Crowders
Big Stack Gap
Slickrock Creek
**Slicnic Camps Bee Camp**
28th Nutbuster Trail
**Naked Ground Landon Camp(2)**
Four Mile Ridge
Bob Bald
54A South
Fodderstack to Beech Gap and OUT



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Okay boys, I get Little Mitten and Zoe dog to drive me to Tellico River and up to the Bald River wilderness where we said our goodbyes as I lifed an obscenely heavy pack full of food and fuel and books to get me thru 18 days without dealing with civilians or non-backpackers.  Bald River is up as evidenced by this pic.  This is looking out from the top of the falls.


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Another trip begins with a pack in the 85 lb range as I stand on the Bald River trail by the Cow Camp trail jct.


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I set up the Hilleberg Keron in Big Pine Camp and get to use a brand new inner tent supplied by Hilleberg after I complained about the substandard (and stretched) elastic connectors on my old inner tent and so with the new tight elastic I now have a larger tent with a better bathtub floor and higher headroom.


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On the morning of Day 2 I'm packing up under blue skies when a backpacker named Eddie from Chattanooga pulls thru going north to camp and waiting for his 2 buddies behind.


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On Day 3 I leave the Bald River wilderness but before I do I pass by the Cascade waterfall for a reststop.  The water is up and loud.


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A couple miles later I'm at the Brookshire Creek trailhead and a mile after reach the crossing of the mighty Upper Bald River but first I check out the old tree bridge.  You'd be an idiot to attempt this thing with an 80 lb pack.


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Another 1.5 miles and I'm on the BMT at the Brookshire Creek crossing by the trailpost.  I end up camping on Brookshire Creek in Fern Camp.


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Day 4 begins after a night of rain but gives me sun so I shrink up the tent to pack and move.


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The forest service does a recent prescribed burn all over Sugar Mt and the rhodo get brown and maybe dead.  It sorta sucks.


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Day 5 begins by following Sycamore Creek trail up to a favorite camp on the 3rd switchback.


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I reach Hobo Camp which is a perfect camp because it has no bugs and is right next to the high headwaters of Sycamore Creek.


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It's time to leave old Hobo Camp on Day 6 and I pull the last hump up the old road to Whiggs Meadow.


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I make it to the Whigg at 5,000 feet for the night.


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Day 7 begins in a 5,000 foot mountain windstorm so I pack up the tent and have to use rocks to keep it from blowing away or snapping a pole.  1.5 miles later I make it to Mud Gap and beyond on the Skyway BMT to this very neat rock covered in rock tripe.


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The Crosscut Mountain Boys are doing trailwork on the BMT north of Cold Gap and I find the group and see old friend Ken Jones and his wife.


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Day 8 finds me in Barrel Gap with a massive wind and rain storm so I bolt down the tent and sit tight.  But it's time to move so I reach Cold Gap as above and pull a night.


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Near dusk 2 backpackers on the BMT pass by camp on their very first day of a trip.  I tried to talk but they barely gave me 60 seconds before wanting to move on so I didn't get their names or their pic.

MORE TO COME

9:39 a.m. on May 7, 2013 (EDT)
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DAY 9

 



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Day 9 begins with a butt cold wind across Cold Gap and temps in the 20F's.  Just as I gear up and throw on the pack 11 boy scouts pass thru and we backpack together up to Bob Bald.


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One of the scout leaders has this old Lowe pack called the Cascade.  Neato.


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The Bob is a busy place but it's never too busy to meet these fine backpackers from Chattanooga---Chris, Kristen and Stacy.


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The scouts build a fire on the Bob.


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On the morning of Day 10 I hike down to say goodbye to the scouts and catch a couple making breakfast.


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I leave the Bob and take Four Mile Ridge to Naked Ground gap where I run into old friend AJ and Jon.

GOTTA DO SOME HOUSEWORK---MORE TO COME

10:18 a.m. on May 7, 2013 (EDT)
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walter,

Looks like a good trip.  Can you describe your mental outlook and morale as you got past a week or 10 days on the trail?  I always find a huge lift after becoming calmer and forgetting about my regular life.

8:15 a.m. on May 8, 2013 (EDT)
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ppine---I have various stages.  The first day is probably the best feeling of the trip as I take a first step into the woods with everything I need for the next 18-20 days.  Despite the weight, it's a very good feeling.

By Day 10 all the books are burned and half of the food eaten and the fuel used so the pack becomes more manageable and I can do longer miles.  Near the end of the trip I start to worry more about home concerns, etc, but I take a cell phone with an extra battery which allows me to make frequent calls home (when able) which helps alleviate worries.

8:57 a.m. on May 8, 2013 (EDT)
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Back to Day 10

 



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I leave AJ and Jon in Naked Ground Gap and take the Haoe Lead trail to the Jenkins Meadow jct and descend to Little Santeetlah creek and the start of the Naked Ground trail which loops me back up a nutbuster trail to Naked Ground Gap.  Along the way I run into this healthy patch of golden ragwort.  Not edible.


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By Day 12 I reach the Bob but it's too hot to set up the tent cuz the trees have no leaves so I head into the fragrant fir trees near the South Col Camps and set up for the night.


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It's Day 13 and time to get off the windy Bob.


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As I leave the 5,300 foot Bob I get a glimpse of the Cherohala Skyway collapse landslide which happened during the rains of January.


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I lose several hundred feet and make it into Snow Camp for the night.  I'm back on the BMT.


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Day 14 is my first zero day so I can be properly positioned for the TN Wild backpacking group out for a 3 day arduous trip from Beech Gap to Crowders---Big Stack---Slickrock Creek and the Nutbuster to Naked Ground and beyond to the Bob and then out to Beech, an ambitious 23 mile hump.  So I stay in Snow Camp an extra day as it's on their first day route.


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BOB BUTTERFIELD---TNWild bails on me but backpacking buddy Bob Butterfield (from Trip 142) shows up and we stay on the entire route TNWild promised but cancelled.


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We leave Snow Camp and hike the Fodderstack/BMT north to Crowder Camp and have to climb the mini nutbuster from Mill Gap to the top of the Little Big Horn---the place where the white man in you is killed.


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In the distance is Hangover Mountain.


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We reach Crowder Camp and descend 2 miles on the Big Stack trail to cross Big Stack Creek.


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After Big Stack comes the main crossing on Slickrock Creek which is cold.  I watch Bob cross after my crossing.


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We set up camp after a 13 mile day (for Bob---8 miles for me) on Slickrock Creek near the Nichols Cove/Big Fat trail jcts.


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Bob decides to build a fire and we wait for the incoming rainstorm and the Nutbuster trail.


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Day 16 begins in the rain on Slickrock Creek and Bob is ready to hike the Nutbuster trail by 8 in the morning.


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There are 10 legs to the Nutbuster trail and here I am on leg 2 hugging a big tree.  After an all-night rain, it stops long enough to get us to leg 5 without getting drenched. Then the fun begins.


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Leg 3 of the trail is a 3 switchback old logging cut and Bob takes a break.


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Bob and I take a water and food break at the beginning of leg 5 in the Open Cove but the rain starts up again here and the rest of the trail is a living hell.  You just have to hike it to believe it.


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At the end of leg 6 (the worst) I start getting chilled so I tell Bob I'm going on ahead to set up camp and get warm in Naked Ground.  It's a very cold and windy and wet gap but somehow I get the tent set up with me in it.  Bob arrives 40 minutes later and it never stops raining.


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Bob gets squared away in Naked Ground and during a lull in the rain I go to check him out.  He's trying to get warm and stay dry.


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It's a wet Sunday but Bob has to hike 5 miles in a pouring rain to Beech Gap and out so he's says goodbye at 10 in the morning.  I stay put for a zero as I don't have to be out until Monday.


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Monday dawns clear and cool so I am happy I don't have to exit in the rain.  I leave Naked Ground and reach Bob's Wall on a 5 mile evac hike.


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The end of the trip comes in Beech Gap where I wait for my ride home.  It's a great day to end a trip.

4:46 p.m. on May 8, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi, another good trip report. I like how you list the trails you hiked on this trip. I like to follow your routes but wish I knew where the campsites you have named are...lol

6:30 p.m. on May 8, 2013 (EDT)
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TW,

Sorry I missed you on the last outing. And especially so since Bob showed up. that would have been big fun!

10:21 p.m. on May 8, 2013 (EDT)
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Hey Tipi, I was so glad Jon and I saw you was and spent about a half day with you. I wondered where you camped that night. We did a day trip over to Bobs Bald the next day. What an enchanted trail and forest. I look forward to seeing you again in the future. Two nights at the hangover were just what our souls needed.

11:56 p.m. on May 8, 2013 (EDT)
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Hey AJ---It was good seeing you guys in the high gap and following you to Haoe Peak.  I went down to "Toad Camp" in the level Jenkins Meadow area and the next day took Jenkins trail down to the bottom of Little Santeetlah valley for a loop back up to Naked Ground.

I hope to see you guys out there again.

8:52 p.m. on May 9, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi,

 

It was a pleasure talking with you at Naked Ground. We had an open ended schedule doing what we felt like after the first night out. It was refreshing having all the time in the world to hang out and hike with you. The ramps were therapeutic on the trail. Three more went in my soup that evening. I look forward to returning and hope we cross paths again.

8:43 a.m. on May 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Thanks for joining in on the conversation.  My next trip will be spent mostly on the Nutbuster trail (again) but this time doing some needed trailwork.  I hope to see you out and about in the coming months.

5:56 p.m. on May 10, 2013 (EDT)
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Looks like a very sweet trip. Always enjoy reading your posts.

11:32 a.m. on May 11, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi, looks as though Hille took care of ya on the new inner. 

Ya had a few wet days on the tail end of your trip. I am headed out for about a week here in a few days and it looks like it is going to be a complete wash-out(rain almost everyday from what I am seeing.)

Oh well, I will be packing my ducky raft, snorkel, goggles, flippers, and water wings on this one.

As always nice TR. The areas that you, Pat, and Gonz(as well as others) has sparked my curiosity.

Maybe in the next year or so I may just have to make my way down there for a few days.    

1:05 p.m. on May 29, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi,

Thanks for letting hang out with you for a couple of days.  That climb up Slickrock Creek Trail is one I won't forget for awhile.  You were great company, look forward to seeing you on an upcoming backpack.

The weather didn't improve much more in the month of May.  I made a couple of last minute weekend trips to Citco Creek/Slockrock areas both were just long, dreary walks in the pouring rain.

December 22, 2014
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