My first trip up Slickrock Creek.

9:11 p.m. on July 21, 2013 (EDT)
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My wife and I decided that this weekend we were going to head down to NC and make our way up the Slickrock Creek. We were planning to leave around 5:30 Friday afternoon, get there by 7pm and make it a two night, 17 mile round trip. From Ike Branch to Slickrock Creek, then to Big Stack Gap, to Fodderstick. Then down Stiffknee to the BMT, back to Ike Branch and out. Friday did not exactly go to plan.....we did not get to the trail head till almost 11pm. We were so tired on Saturday that we changed our plans to not include hiking up to crowder place that night, and instead to just go to Wildcat Falls and back. So we took off in the dark, on a trail we had never been on, to find a campsite we have never seen. In hindsight this might have been a little foolish but......it was fun. =)


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We walked the old road down a wide trail. It was pretty dark although we did have a waxing moon. We found the trail head for Ike Branch and climbed up a considerable amount and parked at the first piece of flat ground we found. It did take us about an hour up the trail before I found that flat piece of ground. I am not sure where this was specifically but it was about 3/4 of a mile north of the first actual campsite before the trail drops down toward Slickrock Creek. We got completely set up and ready for bed around 1:30 am. It had been a long week, and a long humid, muggy walk up the Ike Branch trail. 

While it was still dark outside, I was awakened by two hikers walking down the trail toward Calderwood Lake. We wanted to get a good start on the day and got up and moving. We made our way up the Ike Branch Trail toward Slickrock Creek, passing the trail heads for the Hangover lead and the Yellowhammer trail.


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Below is a nature shot going down the Ike Branch Trail:


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This is the junction to Slickrock Creek and the Ike Branch Trails. This is our first view of Slickrock Creek and we decided to just take it in for a bit.



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Below is the view from that campsite, and it's right at the junction:
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Right about this point, it starts raining......we quickly put on our ponchos and and pack covers just in time for our first crossing. We will cross the creek 8 times before making camp. Here's a crossing shot:


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This one was up to my knees! It was awesome though, and by far my favorite parts of the trip.  I really enjoy creek crossings and these were beautiful. The Slickrock Creek Trail was one of the most wonderful trails I have ever walked. Every time I looked around a bend in the river I was blown away by the beauty.


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Here is a butterfly family photo:
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After this, I didn't take a lot of pictures. I got tired of pulling my camera in and out of the plastic bag I kept in during all the crossings. We Made our way down the Slickrock Creek until, in the distance, we saw and soon heard Wildcat Falls!! We dropped our bags and jumped right in the the pool below the falls. It was cold water but perfect after a long hike. After our swim, we hiked up the top of the falls, where we met a nice young man and his dog who says a half mile up the trail there is a rattlesnake right in the middle of the trail. He was a bit freaked out, he even said it tried to bite his dog. We chatted for a bit, then he and his dog went down toward the bottom of the falls. There is a crossing right after the top of the falls, so we decided to camp just to the left, after crossing. At this campsite from the fire pit we can see the first dip in the falls and have access to some sun bathing rocks. I call this camp Sunrock Camp. I am kicking myself for not taking any pictures......after the swim we sun bathe on those awesome rocks enjoying our selves quite nicely, surrounded by all types on butterflies dancing in the sunlight. We take in the sun and the view until dinner time.  After dinner I look toward the Sunrocks and there is a man climbing up the falls! I was very impressed but not ready or willing to copy his performance. There will be no fire tonight, there has been too much rain. We are really feeling fatigue from a long work week and late night the previous night, and hit the hay.

On the way back we book it down the trail and make it back to the Slickrock/Ike Branch trail junction in a little over an hour and a half.

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Above is a BMT sign shot.

We go back out on the Ike Branch Trail. Here is a shot of the trail going north from Slickrock creek: 

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Parts of the trail going north are a bit steep. There is also some blown down trees to deal with, one that is particularly awful. 


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This is the campsite we probably should have stayed at friday night....lol. It is almost at the high point, and going north its all down hill from here!


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This is the sign we passed in the dark on Friday night, its looks nicer in the sunlight. This is the Slickrock/Ike Branch Junction close to the Choeah dam. We take a right here and follow the lake toward the car.


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Gotta have a pack and trailhead photo (above).



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Shot of the Cheoah Dam means its time to head back. This place will always be special to us from now on. It was a place where my grandfather and his brothers who were raised in Robbinsville played in as kids. My wife and I had a great time and I encourage you to go play in the Slickrock Creek sometime. Hope you enjoyed the photos.

9:22 p.m. on July 21, 2013 (EDT)
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Looks like a good trip with some nice crossings. 


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This shot of yours shows a favorite campsite on the top of the Ike Branch trail I call Wild Bird Camp.  I used to camp at this spot before the big oak tree fell down in the campsite, right where I used to put my tent.


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Here's the spot right after the tree fell.

5:21 a.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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nice report

10:08 a.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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Great report and pics. Glad to see you made the best out of a late start! I always seem to have the same problem when trying to get out for a weekend.

10:37 a.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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Great report. Love the shots of the creek. Wish you had got the falls..It looks awesome there...

11:03 a.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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Great report. Love the shots of the creek. Wish you had got the falls..It looks awesome there...

 yea kicking myself for not getting pics of the falls......It was pretty and I got lazy.....kept thinking....Ill do it latter...lol

11:05 a.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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Tipi Walter said:

Looks like a good trip with some nice crossings. 


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This shot of yours shows a favorite campsite on the top of the Ike Branch trail I call Wild Bird Camp.  I used to camp at this spot before the big oak tree fell down in the campsite, right where I used to put my tent.


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Here's the spot right after the tree fell.

 I really wish that we had made it up here for night one...The spot we were in was only kind of level....this looked like a much nicer camp. 

12:35 p.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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Shyne, nice trip report and pics. Glad you two had a good trip.

Tipi, is the campsite you call Wild Bird camp the one that has no water? 

I seem to remember a campsite coming up the Ike Branch trail and there was no water anywhere. I think Sgt Rock had it listed as a dry campsite.

2:27 p.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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Ewker, not to answer for others, but I camped there a few weeks ago and had to back track down Ike branch about 10 minutes to get water.

Tipi may know of some super secret seep that you fight the boar for access to, though. :)

2:45 p.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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There used to be a higher water source down from camp going towards the regular creek source.  It was in a little draw only a hundred feet away from camp and on the right when going down. It may be flowing now with all this rain but I doubt it.

Otherwise it's a short walk as Patman says down to the creek you passed on the way up.  Knowing this, backpackers who want to camp at Wild Bird need to fill up on the way, otherwise you just set up camp and hike 10 minutes down.

4:09 p.m. on July 22, 2013 (EDT)
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thanks to both of you for answering my question. I will look through my pictures from that trip to see if I took a picture of it.

2:21 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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hey tipi....

on yer last trip, did you happened to go by North Fork and take a look at that bridge i was telling you about?

 

 

 

Shyne-----glad you had a good time........

 

i think it was the wise choice to go to the waterfall in this heat.......you woulda been bummed if you passed there and couldnt take a dip....

3:30 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Agreed, Kevin.....I could have spent 2 days there if I didn't have to get back to the radio station. We were both just too worn out from the week (70 hour week) to do the whole 17 miles we planned. So we cut down the millage and focused more on having fun. 

4:05 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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that's the way to do it.....take yer time and enjoy one's self....

 

and if you dont mind me asking----what radio station do ya work for?

 

 

5:38 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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Kevin---Funny you should ask about the NF footbridge.  I was headed down there for a big NF/SF loop to meet Patman when I got caught in the 96 hour July 4th rainstorm which caught me doing trailwork on Trail 149 to the North Fork and I set up high below Cherry Log Gap.

The rain didn't stop and I knew the NF crossings would've been hairy so I skipped it and went up to the Bob instead.  NEXT TIME . . . . .

5:53 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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cool.......

im debating about going up there this weekend or go somewhere else.....

 

another question for ya........is there any campsites down near falls branch falls?    or on the old road bed that will lead out to the bridge?  

 

i know.......i know....its a wilderness and i can camp anywhere but just looking for an established site...

7:39 p.m. on July 23, 2013 (EDT)
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kevinumberger said:

that's the way to do it.....take yer time and enjoy one's self....

 

and if you dont mind me asking----what radio station do ya work for?

 

 

 I work at 850 AM. Do you live in Knoxville?

12:39 a.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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Yeah.....live in knoxville.....and work at a television station...

6:23 a.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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well that's a lot cooler than a AM talk station. Even though it used to be a 100k watt FM ....now that was cool. What TV station?

10:29 a.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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im at WBIR Channel Ten...

 

Its not as cool as it may seem on paper   :P

 

but, it allows me to get outdoors on most weekends.....

11:05 a.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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Nice! I work on our morning show which allows me too get out on the weekend. I love working in media...... most of the time lol

11:42 a.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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chew getting out this weekend?

4:11 p.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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kevinumberger said:


another question for ya........is there any campsites down near falls branch falls?    or on the old road bed that will lead out to the bridge?  

 

i know.......i know....its a wilderness and i can camp anywhere but just looking for an established site...

 There is a little campsite right at the bottom of the falls and it's okay but a little tilted.

Were you the one who told me they bushwacked from the Falls all the way down to the South Fork?  They said it was hellish.

5:59 p.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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noooooooo.....

havent been down to the falls just yet.....

and doubt id do a bushwack like that.....

i'll probably go down to the falls.......camp sorta in that area...

and come out on the old road bed to hit bridge and do a road walk back up....

any campsites on the old roadbed?

and hopefully do the bridge on north fork soon.....

i havent done a canoe trip this year so north fork may wait a bit...

10:56 p.m. on July 24, 2013 (EDT)
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We're out in Colorado and that looked like a nice hike. Never been hiking in NC but this makes me think about a possible trip to the east coast. Know some folks out there, may have to impose our will someday. Thanks for sharing and all the good pics!

2:14 p.m. on July 25, 2013 (EDT)
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We did a hike along Slickrock Creek in 2004 and found a rattlesnake in about the same area you did.  Guess rattlesnakes are common in this area:

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Great write-up.  I enjoyed the photos and seeing that this area hasn’t changed a bit since our trip.

October 24, 2014
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