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Okay, I just got back from an 11 day backpacking trip in the mountains of Tennessee and spent 8 days of the trip on the Benton MacKaye trail as it winds thru the Citico and Brushy Ridge wilderness. Here's some pics(April 16-26 2010):
The North Fork is a rugged trail and steep in places, but as you reach the top at around 4,000 feet you get out of the rhodo and reach this nice little green open bowl. I always like to take a break here and hang out.
I give a big thumbs up after pulling the 3,000 foot climb with an 80lb pack. Why so large? Cuz I'm planning on doing a 20 day trip and still have most of my winter gear(including around 4 books). Yikes.
Climbing the North Fork trail put me on the BMT where I camped and backpacked for the next 8 days. On Day 3 of the trip I run into Superman. He started at Springer and will pull the BMT to Davenport Gap and then continue on the AT until he's finished sometime in October. This would be his second thruhike of the Appalachian Trail(BMT).
As I backpack down the BMT and go south on Day 4, I run into three-time repeat thruhiker named Mssnglnk(Regina)and we jaw for 30 minutes along the trail. She has her trip reports on Trail Journals.com.
Sunrise on the Whigg is always nice. This fotog is looking southwest and shows the lower mountains and the far distant BMT as it moves south over State Line Ridge, Waucheesi Mt, and linking up with the old John Muir trail along the Hiwassee River.
On my way off the Whigg I run into Tru(Trudy?)who has an interesting story. She started on the Pinhoti trail in Alabama and pulled the whole thing, and then swung down to Springer to start the BMT. I found her on the Sycamore Creek section and we conversed for a good 30 minutes. She's with her dog Timber.
On Day 9 of the trip a big storm comes thru and since Barrel Camp is at 4,4000 feet and the storm is bringing in high wind and lightning, I decide to bail down to lower ground on the South Fork Citico trail. I'm not the only one. I find these three guys from Tampa also leaving the high ground for safety. We all go down the South Fork together.
Here's the safe camp I bailed too and it's located in the upper valley of the South Fork Citico. I call it Iron Camp. Thru the night I got walloped with rain and lightning and a little wind but nothing like it would've been up high. On my little radio I heard the storm killed 10 or 15 people in the Southeast.
My camp on Bob Bald and it's in the protection of some trees. I call Little Mitten while out in the open bald and she has some sad news which cuts my trip short after a mere 11 days. She finds out that one of her friends was killed in a car wreck during the storm and so we plan an emergency pickup four miles away. I make it back for the funeral.
I usually don't backpack in a butt cold rain but due to the circumstances I have to hoof it out and wait for Little Mitten to pick me up. So ends another great backpacking trip in the mountains of TN and NC.