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There are times when I wish I could give up the cares of the world and just stay in the mountains for good, you know, be a real mountain man. Then again I don't want to die broke either. So for now I just visit a few times a year and make the most of it!
This trip was my annual trek through the beautiful Hiwassee Rivershed in Cherokee National Forest located in the extreme Southeastern corner of Tennessee. I was accompanied by my brother in law Randall W.
Our planned route was to follow the Hiwassee segment of the John Muir trail from Reliance TN to the Appalachia Powerhouse about 18 miles upstream and then back to the Quin Springs campground where we parked. This section of the John Muir Trail follows the river for about 19.5 miles. For more info on John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and author of several books including A Thousand Mile Walk to the Gulf, try the Sierra Club website.
Quin Springs is also the trailhead for the 5 mile Oswald Dome trail, elevation gain is 2750'. I hiked it round trip in 3 hrs. 43 min. with one 15 minute break. A good warm up hike for our first day there.
We spent the rest of that day driving the forest road to make sure our route was clear and taking a few pictures. All the shots of me in the slideshow were taken the first day. The second day we backpacked up to the first bend in the river and fished some. We made camp after eating supper and hiking a couple more miles.
The next day we got up, had a good breakfast And I decided to wade some before heading further upstream to Cane Island. I like to look for gold and stuff when the water is low. While wading about 50' from the bank, I noticed a silver flash in the corner of my eye, thinking it was a rise (fish feeding on the surface) I paid it no mind. Then again, but much closer and much larger I saw something in the water, it was big! All I could see through the fog was a big head and serpintine body coming through the water at me. Annaconda? I'm thinking nervously. No, wrong part of the world. What is it? Well after jumping up on a higher rock (to get a better view) I realized it was a huge river otter. Scared the crap out of me, just 10' or 15' feet from me before I could ID the animal. He looked at me for a second and swam away like it was nothing. After spending some more time wading and looking for gold and arrowheads we took lunch.
It was then that I noticed my camera was acting funny. I had a good bit of moisture in the battery compartment and it just beeped when I tried to turn it on. This was the last time it functioned on this trip. All the photos in the slide show were shot in the first two days and I didn't get any real backpacking photos which I had planned to do on the return trip. We had planned to get fishing photos on the way upstream and backpacking photos on the way back, in hind sight that was backwards.
The weather was great except for a real nasty front with lightning and high winds that rolled through on Friday our third day there. That is to be expected in this area, all in all we got lucky.
After making it to the powerhouse it took us a day and a half to backpack back to the Quin Springs Campground where we parked. We had no injuries or incidents except for the otter sighting and camera malfunction. Randall noted that the same thing (camera) had happened to Les Stroud a couple of times but Les had backups. Hmmm.
I'm going to post a link to my Picasa site, be sure to hit the slide show button this is the best way to see the photos. The link may not be posted for a few minutes after this post.