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I figured today would be a good time to share my last backpacking trip with you guys as it's Christmas and there's snow on the ground. The trip was in the Citico wilderness of Tennessee and went from December 11 to Dec 20, 2010. Here are the highlights:
10 Days With O Canada
The Hell Slog of Trip 117: Coming Down 54A
10 Days and 5 Camps
O Canada Kicks My Butt
Even the snowman looked cold. We talked and he told me to go back to the tent and get warm.
The winter storm of mid-December comes in from O Canada and here's some of the proof. It's impossible to backpack in the southeast in heavy snow. Why? Because all the trails are blocked by "snowdowns": when rhodo and brush hangs over the trail where you have to belly crawl to get thru. On Day 3 I pull my Hell Slog of the trip.
In the middle of Day 3 I hear on my little weather radio that even more snow and more cold is headed my way so I bail off the mountain and drop two thousand feet onto the South Fork Citico trail. To get there was a mean and nasty experience in deep snow and terrible snowdowns. The rain jacket saved my butt.
I got this Sangean radio just for the trip and dang it but I dropped it in the snow on Day 1 and the Lock feature kicked on shutting me out. I held it over a candle flame and got it dry but nearly melted the side off. It worked eventually.
Wouldn't you know it but as soon as I got to Cold Gap the sky opened up again but this time it came as an all night sleet storm. Hunker in and don't worry about it. To paraphrase arctic explorer Mike Horn, "If you worry, you die. If you don't worry, you die. So why worry?"
Flats Mountain trail is awful nice and so I set up on the first bald and find a few patches of snow for my water. While scouting I manage to get a little tear on my nice down pants, sob. Ran into a devil's walking stick type plant.