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Okay boys---here's a recent January 2014 trip report in the TN and NC mountains.
ALTERNATE TRIP TITLES
** Pleasure and Pain in the Garden of Eating.
** Two Grapes for Sister Sara.
** Is That Peanut Butter I See or Are You Just Glad to See Me?
You can access abbreviated reports here---
The trip begins on December 28 in the Bald River wilderness of East TN. The pack is just around 100 lbs.
Almost six miles later on Bald River at the Cascades.
I hike thru the Bald River backcountry and connect to the Kirkland trail which takes me up to Sandy Gap and the State Line trail where I look left and see my eventual destination on Whiggs Meadow and the Citico wilderness. It's a cold windy walk.
State Line Ridge takes me to Rocky Top Mt and I descend Brookshire Creek trail to the bottom to prepare for the Polar Rectum which is forecasted to hit so I spend 3 days here on the Brookshire trail having fun with subzero temps---around -8F on Tuesday morning, January 7. COLD!
This is why we carry Hilleberg tents.
On the morning of Jan 8 I somehow pack up the crap and have two butt cold creek crossings to do at around 0F---not fun as I was barefoot in crocs and had to go slow as there's ice all around the banks. "Denali Gangrene" comes to mind.
I head up the Upper Bald watershed to the top of Sugar Mt and bail down the mt to Sycamore Creek trail which takes me 3,000 feet in 7 miles to Whiggs Meadow at 5,000 feet. On January 11 a major deluge-hurricane hits the mountain with 60mph winds and it's a severe test for the tent. Ground water was bad---but it's why we carry Hillebergs, etc.
I leave the Whigg and hike to Mud Gap and 3 miles to Beech Gap where I run into the only backpackers I see in 24 days---a group of 5 guys from Florida who had a rough night down on the South Fork Citico trail and are bailing out to their car.
I get to Bob Mt and then bail off on Fodderstack Ridge and down the Pine Ridge trail into Citico and over to the Flats Mt trailhead and up it 4,000 feet to the top where I get hit with my last snowstorm at around 12F. This is getting old.
I leave the Flats and hook onto the Long Branch trail as shown here. My trip ends eventually back at Bald River Falls.