21 Days in the Snow

9:43 a.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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Okay boys, here's my last trip report from February 7-27 2014 with these trip highlights---

To see this trip in full---

http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpack-2014-Trips-152/21-Days-in-the-Snow/i-8rBxgmK

BACKPACKING
FLATS MT
AND
CITICO WILDERNESS

Trip 153
February 7--27  2014

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

**  21 DAYS IN THE SNOW

**  21 DAYS WITH THE G7000 PACK

**  WITH BOB BUTTERFIELD ON FLATS MOUNTAIN

**  CAMPING WITH BOB AND PATMAN ON FLATS MOUNTAIN

**  HIKING WITH BOB TO THE SOUTH FORK

**  THREE DAYS ON THE ROCKY FLATS TRAIL

**  SNOWSTORM ON THE ROCKY FLATS TRAIL

**  BACK AT THE CHIMNEY SITE AFTER 12 YEARS

**  HIKING IN THE SNOW TO MILL BRANCH

**  A STEEP HELLSLOG UP MILL BRANCH TRAIL

**  SNOWSTORM IN QUILLEN CAMP

**  FOUR DAYS ON THE MILL BRANCH TRAIL

**  THE TERRIBLE SHAPE OF THE STIFFKNEE TRAIL

**  I CLEARED THE YELLOWHAMMER TRAIL

**  I CLEARED THE NICHOLS COVE TRAIL

**  DELAYED IN BUCKEYE CAMP BY FLOODING HANGOVER CREEK

**  34TH CLIMB OF THE NUTBUSTER TRAIL

**  OAK RIDGE BOY SCOUTS ON THE BOB

**  SEEING HOOTYHOO ON THE SCARWAY

**  ON THE INDIAN LAKE TRAIL

TRAILS
Entrance at Flats Mt
**Camp Hope**
Flats Mt
**Flathead Camp**
Flats Mt
Beehouse Roadwalk
South Fork (Clemmer Detour for Bobg)
**White Rock Camp**
South Fork
Warden's Field
**Log Gate Camp**
Rocky Flats
**Ed Abbey Camp**
Rocky Flats
**Chimney Site**
Rocky Flats
Doublecamp Goat Trail
Mill Branch
**Mill Branch Camp**
Mill Branch
**Quillen Camp(2)**
Mill Branch to Mill Gap
Fodderstack Ridge
**Crowders**
Fodderstack Ridge
Farr Gap
Stiffknee
Slickrock Creek
**Slisgah Camp**
Ike Branch
Yellowhammer Trail
Nichols Cove
**Dog Hat Camp**
Nichols Cove to Windy Gap
Down Nichols Cove
Slickrock Creek
**Nutbuster Low Camp**  Nut Gate Camp
Nutbuster Trail
**Buckeye Camp**
Nutbuster 34th Time
**Landon Camp Naked Ground**
Four Mile Ridge
**Raven Camp Bob Mt**
54A South
South Fork
**Jeffrey Hell Trailpost Camp**
Jeffrey Hell
Scarway Roadwalk
Flats Mt
**Flats First Bald Camp**
Flats Mt
Scarway Roadwalk
Long Branch
**Turkey Feather Camp**
Long Branch
Scarway Roadwalk
Indian Boundary Roadwalk
Indian Lake Trail
**Flats Mt Foothill Camp**
Lake Trail
Indian Boundary Roadwalk and OUT




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My trip begins in some ice on Flats Mt at 4,000 feet in Tennessee.


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Tired of trying to cram a long trip into a 6000 cubic inch pack, I upgraded to the G7000 after I learned Mystery Ranch is discontinuing their G series packs.


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My backpacking buddy Bob Butterfield joins me on Day 2 atop Flats Mt.


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And then Patman shows up after an intricate loop thru the Citico wilderness.


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I leave Flats Mt and the boys and head down into the Citico and get on the Rocky Flats trail and pass by the chimney where I camp in a snowstorm.


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After the night time snowstorm I go out and prepare to strike camp and leave Rocky Flats to connect to Mill Branch.


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At the top of Mill Branch I get hit with another snowstorm so I pull a zero day and wait it out.


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These Kahtoola microspikes saved my butt on repeated trails, especially the Stiffknee going down to Slickrock Creek.


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I make it to Crowder Camp and check out a neat sunrise.


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After pulling several tough trails (like the Upper Slickrock nutbuster), I pass over Bob Mt and head down the steep South Fork and find this wonderful sight---a broken hiking pole.  Not mine!  I laughed hard at this for some reason.


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I leave the Citico and do some roadwalking and reach Indian Lake for a reststop.


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My trip ends by the Lake and yet the trip started on the mountain behind the lake---Flats Mountain.

10:06 a.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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nice...

i also ran into hooty on the skyway on one of the last weekends.....

10:41 a.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
GUIDE/OUTFITTER TOP 25 REVIEWER REVIEW CORPS
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Thanks, Mr. Tipi! Quick question, how do you like your OR pack cover? I am needing an upgrade soon...

10:48 a.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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Nice pics and report Tipi.  I really like the sunrise pic from inside the tent.  Beautiful!!

Props to Bozeman too, being I am an MSU-Bozeman grad. ;-)

10:51 a.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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did a look through the pictures-----and yeah, i found the "original" or other trailhead to south fork earlier this summer and did the crossing....

coming down south fork i found a path off to the right and could see warden fields so i figured id check it out......and saw the trailhead....

figured trailhead was moved to the road to avoid the crossing.....

12:03 p.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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Hey Walter,

How do you like the new pack?

I bought the Mystery Ranch NICE 6500.  There's a lot of weight just in that frame.  I can't help but wonder if I would have preferred the G6000 or G7000.

Enjoyed seeing your smugbug gallery.  Lots of familiar places from this last trip.

1:09 p.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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Kevin and Tipi,

Funny I only learned of the 105 road trailhead this last summer....I've always used the "hidden" trailhead at the crossing and thought it was the primary until recently.

1:14 p.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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And BTW, I love this picture from the gallery:

 

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1:18 p.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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Sean Van Cleve (MO) said:

Thanks, Mr. Tipi! Quick question, how do you like your OR pack cover? I am needing an upgrade soon...

 The OR pack cover is the only one on the market I think that will fit a 7000 cubic inch pack---if you get the X Large.  I go thru these pack covers about one every two years so they are sort of disposable items, like boots.

1:26 p.m. on March 3, 2014 (EST)
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Cadenza said:

Hey Walter,

How do you like the new pack?

I bought the Mystery Ranch NICE 6500.  There's a lot of weight just in that frame.  I can't help but wonder if I would have preferred the G6000 or G7000.

Enjoyed seeing your smugbug gallery.  Lots of familiar places from this last trip.

 Knowing that my trips would get longer and into the 3 week range, I should've gotten the G7000 years ago and saved myself the aggravation of trying to stuff everything into a "smaller" 6000 cu in pack. 

And as I said before, the honchos at Mystery Ranch say they are discontinuing the G series and so I'm not sure they will have a 7000 cu in load hauler that isn't 10 or 11 lbs empty like their NICE 6500 at 9 lbs 8 oz or NICE 7500 at 9 lbs 11 oz or their Tactiplane at 9 lbs 10 oz or the Carson Mt pack at 10 lbs 8 oz.

The G7000 is 8 lbs 4 oz.

7:26 p.m. on March 4, 2014 (EST)
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Tipi,

Nice report, as are your others I have read.  

Congratulations on the new G7000 pack.  Mystery Ranch is one of the best and I'm sure you are enjoying your new pack.  I have their SATL assault pack, which is smaller (60 liters) but still excellent.  Meanwhile, I have a Kifaru EMR pack (~123 liters) that still needs to be tested on a backpacking trip so I should probably get down to your area some time as a good excuse for using it.  Despite their weight, these military packs are super tough and durable.

I look forward to reading more of your reports - keep up the good work!

5:14 p.m. on April 11, 2014 (EDT)
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So 2 self inflatables and a 4 season tent strapped to the outside of the bag and you still filled a 7000 c.i behemoth.Dear god how heavy was this rig? A 3 weeks long backpacking trip must have been an adventure to remember. I enjoyed your pic gallery

5:25 p.m. on April 11, 2014 (EDT)
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Oh and something else i noticed.It's the first time i see a backpacker having a pruning shears with him.Did you happen to use it alot? Wouldn't the Corona folding saw and a blade suffice? For which exact purpose did you use it in this trip if i may ask and do you take it with you all of the time? Thank you for your time and hopefully your answer

2:23 a.m. on April 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Hey Tipi, Is that tent of yours a Stephenson Warmlite?

9:23 a.m. on April 14, 2014 (EDT)
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Walter might be out for another hike. He's using a Hilleberg Keron3, I believe.

December 18, 2014
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