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I take another backpacking trip into the Citico/Slickrock wilderness of TN and NC and here are the fotogs(Trip 111, June 3-18 2010).
Little Mitten drives me and Shunka dog up into the Citico wilderness and drops us off for another backpacking trip. I leave a two BearVault food cache nearby hidden by a fallen tree(mostly dog food as I now have to carry all of Shunka's food since his stroke), and also an emergency Thermarest in case mine blows out.
THE DONNER CAMPS: We camped at a place I call the Donner Camps and on Sunday morning Hootyhoo packs up and is ready to go. We say our goodbyes and he heads to the South Fork trailhead and I head up the South Fork and deeper into the wilderness.
I didn't camp on the Bob but instead went another 1.5 miles to the high gap at Naked Ground and run into NC forest supervisor Dewayne and Christy Ralston. Christy is leading a group of 6 college students from the Student Conservation Association out of Asheville to do trailwork in NC for 5 months.
The next day I decide to retrace my steps and head back up to Bob Bald for the night. I stay on Four Mile Ridge, the trail that goes from the Hangover to the Bob and beyond. It stays around 5,000 feet the whole time.
I first met Coy Williams during an early 2003 backpacking trip to the Hangover. I see him again on this trip and it's a good surprise. He loves the outdoors and as I am writing this today, he's out in Slickrock backpacking up the dreaded Nutbuster trail. Yes, the upper Slickrock Creek trail as it ascends to Naked Ground.
Coy is joined by his friend Karen who came up the steep Naked Ground trail to do some solo backpacking on her own. We all hobnob and decide to do a dayhike together over to the Hangover, about a 3 mile round trip.
In order to get over to my food cache and Shunka's dog food, I have a long day of hot backpacking in the Kingdom of the Gnats. It becomes a 14 mile day of sweat but along the way I see this pretty Thistle flower.
On my last day I pack up and leave down the North Fork trail. My goal is to climb back up the steep and sweaty Grassy Branch trail to Grassy Gap and wait for my ride. I also need to extract my cache items. The gnats are so bad I decide to buy a headnet when I get back home.
BEARVAULT 1, BEAR 0. And finally the last fotog of the trip shows one of my BearVaults chewed. He rolled them about a hundred feet down a weedy hillside and I found them by the big trail he made. I felt like it was a great end to a perfect trip.