McNabb Creek to Laurel Branch

8:32 p.m. on March 11, 2014 (EDT)
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Took my little buddy over to do Mcnabb. Its been a while since I did this trail. It is still a sweet walk. 

[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/13716428@N03/13094313474/][img]https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7354/13094313474_5a3c4eb95b.jpg[/img][/url]
[url=https://www.flickr.com/photos/13716428@N03/13094313474/]IMG_3064[/url] by [url=https://www.flickr.com/people/13716428@N03/]hootyhoo2u[/url], on Flickr

Let me figure the picture thing out again and I will continue..thanks

8:35 p.m. on March 11, 2014 (EDT)
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Well , I'm sorry. I was gonna do a tr, but I cant find where I wrote the pic posting stuff at. 

8:39 p.m. on March 11, 2014 (EDT)
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Here is Rooty at a little crossing - he loves the Wilderness. 

9:38 p.m. on March 11, 2014 (EDT)
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Hey hooty...

Nice to meet ya up on the skyway...

I ended up doing this same loop the weekend after I met ya......

Coming up laurel branch was a nice workout...

11:58 p.m. on March 11, 2014 (EDT)
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It was a false alarm on the snowstorm scheduled to hit the Skyway the last time I saw you and so you went up the mountain and I went down to Long Branch and Indian Boundary lake and out.  The lake trail is awesome with many side creeks and big flat areas, and of course in the winter it is closed to cars.

I'm glad you're posting your trips here again and I'm glad you're doing the Brushy Ridge area, although I've never done the Laurel Branch trail.  Where does it come out on the Skyway?  I never noticed a trail on the opposite side of the Jeffrey Hell trailhead.

I know the McNabb fairly well and have found several campsites along its length.  Except for the "Poison Water" sign near the top it's a great trail to connect the Citico with Brushy Ridge.

Are you guys gonna be out in March? 

1:09 a.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Laurel branch trail comes out just east (I think it 0.1) from the bridge...

The one that comes out near Jeffrey hell is big Indian branch trail....it comes out just a touch west of Jeffery hell trailhead (west rattlesnake) if memory serves me right at this late and sleepy hour...

Looks like I'm done for the month of march....work has me working this Sunday and I'm in NYC the following two weekends for the Allman brothers...

Might do a day hike this Saturday though...

12:07 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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kevinumberger said:

Laurel branch trail comes out just east (I think it 0.1) from the bridge...

The one that comes out near Jeffrey hell is big Indian branch trail....it comes out just a touch west of Jeffery hell trailhead (west rattlesnake) if memory serves me right at this late and sleepy hour...

Looks like I'm done for the month of march....work has me working this Sunday and I'm in NYC the following two weekends for the Allman brothers...

Might do a day hike this Saturday though...

 I've hiked the Scarway many times and never noticed these two trailheads heading south into the Brushy Ridge area, but after looking at my topo I can see where Laurel comes out by the "million dollar bridge" and Indian comes out closer to Jeffrey Hell.

This new info may cause me to alter my trip plans and try to do some loops off Citico wilderness south using Indian and Laurel, etc.

I've done the other three many times:  Long Branch, Hemlock Creek and McNabb.  They are excellent ways to tie in the Citico with Bald River, Cow Camp, Henderson Top and the Upper Bald River/State Line/Kirkland/Brookshire backcountry.  You just have to do a little North River roadwalk/Tellico River roadwalk.

Looking at the map---I think it would be neat if the forest honchos ran a new connector trail off of the Long Branch trail and stayed in the woods paralleling North River road and coming out on Tellico River road at the main bridge where the Cow Camp trailhead begins over the guard rail.  Then a hiker could connect the Citico to Brushy Ridge and Bald River (Cow Camp/Henderson) without a single roadwalk.

1:44 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Enjoyed that photo stream hootyhoo! I recognized some of the obvious places like Brush Mountain (engine block), Bobs Bald, Rocky Flats chimney, etc...

Looks like you're eating well; rattlesnake, trout, morel mushrooms, and was that a shot of wintergreen?

1:51 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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I've hiked the Scarway many times and never noticed these two trailheads heading south into the Brushy Ridge area, but after looking at my topo I can see where Laurel comes out by the "million dollar bridge" and Indian comes out closer to Jeffrey Hell.

they are kinda hard to spot, in all honesty...

only a couple of them have the forest numbered signs----and the rest have just ribbon flagging...

the one by the bridge is on the east side, above the earthen hump.....

and yeah.....it would be real easy to make a connector trail especially now after they did a prescribed burn.....

i took me a few minutes at the beginning of each of the last trips to locate the trailheads, but found them via the ribbons....

the one (and i dont have my map in front of me right now) up by the BMT where it crosses the road was probably the hardest one to find....

2:46 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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That would be Sugar Cove?  I found it long ago but it looked impassable with the trailpost in a sea of briars.

2:59 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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yeah.....sugar cove...

best way to decribe how to find it is---the BMT starts on one end of the guardrail----sugar cove starts at the other end.....

i didnt see a sign at the guardrail for it......i just found red ribbon (this was a few weeks ago)...

and trail was in pretty decent shape......i had no problem going down it to make a loop......

and once i completed the loop and was walking the skyway back to car---thats where i ran into hooty....

3:17 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Here's the trailpost and it's located right across from the Unicoi Crest parking area and over the guard rail.

3:23 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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i dont think that was there when i went up....or if it was there, i didnt see it...

the lower end down by the river road (?) had it, i believe....

 

3:54 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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That sign has been there for the last 10 years, but like I said it's been covered by briars.  It is located not in Beech Gap but slightly east and across from the parking area---


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In this pic the trailpost is directly behind my dog and across the Scarway and a little to the left.


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Here is the Unicoi Crest parking area.  Sugar Cove trailhead is to the left of the road sign on the far left.

4:15 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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yeah.....that is the correct spot for the trailhead...

i really didnt look overtly too hard so it could be still there.....just not obvioius to my eyes but then again, once i got pack on, i wanted to move down trail kinda fast as the snow was coming in......

6:20 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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The sky that I had to hike under. Cold day, beautiful day.


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My winter pack. Not too heavy. Rooty's ancient Ruff Wear pack. The red part velcro's to the harness (that he is still wearing). Actually its a good design because if he is bushwhacking or being washed downstream and the pack hangs up, it will come off - prevents panic and drowning. 


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Not for everyone, but I love it. Its the 27 ul/ha.


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Dreaded road walk from McNabb to Laurel. Its all good.


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A bear canister? Yup. Had to get one last year and figured why not drag it out of the closet and take it for a hike. CONVENIENT. Great seat. Almost 3 lbs. I found that if you take any piece of webbing, or a credit card(type thing) and put it on the humps it makes opening the can a breeze. 

I'll finish later. Sorry for the awkard start to this thread. Inexperience is too blame.

6:27 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Nice to meet you too Kevin. 

Tipi. Laurel reminds me of so many parts of different trails. Ike camp comes to mind in one section - except the creek is on the other side of the trail. Camping is everywhere and great - except the last 3/4 mile. Man it is a sweet trail. The last part climbs a little, but the scenery is awsome. Then it climbs pretty good at the very last. First time I ever did it I came down from the top and slid (literally) down the upper. It can be horrible if its wet. 

I am doing Friday- Sunday hiking now. So I will be over there somewhere. I usually do not decide where I'm going until I pass the BP station.

6:32 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Patman -- Not wintergreen probably - but likely partridge berry - it has (can't remember exactly the name) the same stuff as aspirin so its great for aches and pains. That might be the picture you were talking about. 


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Did you mention baby lobsters? There are my favorite. 

7:43 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Great trail - Laurel B.


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Out of sequence. But there is my little camp at the bottom of Laurel. 


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7:59 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Tipi - at the back of that grassy 'half-bowl' parking area at the uphill side of the bridge is the the TH. If you come out on that TH and walk directly across the road and into the woods for about 200 feet you will be on the trail to Falls Branch - right turn and follow that to the Jeffrey Hell ect... you can stay off the road if you want.

9:46 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Thanks Hootyhoo for the directions.  BTW, you know where you parked on the Skyway below the Long Branch trailhead?  There's a forest service bar gate there.  Where does that trail go?  Down to Long Branch?

GRAND PLAN OR GRAND IDIOCY?

Here's a possible route I am considering.  I'd like to start high and ideally head down on this route---

** Park and go down Sugar Cove.  Roadwalk a short distance on North River.

**  Go up Big Indian trail (anybody done it?)

**  Roadwalk Skyway to Laurel Branch and down to North River.

**  Long roadwalk to McNabb Creek and up to Skyway (Grassy Gap) and up roadwalk to Hemlock Creek.

**  Down Hemlock Creek to Long Branch.

**  Up Long Branch to Skyway and roadwalk up to Flats Mt to take it into the Citico.

10:04 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Yeah.....I did big Indian trail as part of the loop...

Easy to follow--couple of blowdowns but nothing to worry about...

Sounds like you wanna make the zig zag and do all 6 of the brushy ridge trails before heading over to Citico.....

I've did all of the three loops over separate weekends...

All nice trails---didnt see anyone til I hit the roads...

On big Indian though, I made the mistake of camping at the campsite that is just a few hundred yards from the road..

As I explained to hooty---had a visit by the locals that, in my state of mind that night, kinda freaked me out...

One of only two times in 15 years of hiking that I wished I had a gun..

Nothing happened but it freaked me out a touch...

10:10 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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Past that gate the trail drops down to another gate - short distance. Water is right there. I've camped there on a night that was so cold I almost threw up when I was pitching my tent - my hands still hurt. Trail forks there. Right fork comes out way down on Cherohala - close to the old bait and tackle store (now abandoned). Go to the left it goes out and and a left turn takes you to Long Branch - its obscure - tree has been scared with an axe at the turn. Several great flat grassy spots with good water right close. Keep on going past the left turn for LB and it goes out for about a mile and half to an open field that is small. There is an obvious old road and it goes down for a really long way (not sure how far) passes water many times, some small tight camps, lots of blowdowns and growth, hard to follow for a while, and then it pops out way down on the power line trail toward the end of North River Road. Could be used as an easy shot to Cow Camp if it was cleared up. I'll never clear it. But I might walk it again someday in the winter when the bad stuff is dead.

I like your plan. I'll be on one of those this weekend, maybe. I gotta go up into Brush Mtn area and get some stuff that I left up there this winter. I might do it this weekend and then head up to the top, do Indian (never done it), then up McNabb to Grassy, South Fork, car. Maybe. 

10:12 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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My series of loops is a winter-only plan as the Scarway motorcyclists would drive me nuts the rest of the year.  Can't stand useless Harley roars.

So Kevin, what happened with the locals?  Did they see you?

10:35 p.m. on March 12, 2014 (EDT)
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yeah.....like i said---i was camped about a hundred or so yards off the road....where theres a campsite...

my tent was not in view of the road however i did have a fire going and a pretty decent fire as well.......that's how they spotted me...

before dark, a few cars had passed by, and one had stopped and just checked me out and went up the road.....

after dark, and fire was roaring.......one truck went by, im guessing saw fire, and continued up the road...

about fifteen minutes later, a car passed by, stopped for a second, then went up road.....

after a few minutes, i could see the lights of the car coming back down road (as road goes uphill after the trailhead there, so i could see the lights snaking its way down)......

car comes by, passes by, i thought i was in the clear, and they back up....

and just hang out at trailhead, before they start shouting....

i had no idea what they were shouting and really didnt want to find out at that hour...

and the only way they spotted me was with the fire......there was no way of seeing me tent....

as i was alone, i didnt want to confront them or anything like that.....they never got outta car and came up trail, thankfully...

it kinda freaked me out a touch.....and it kinda threw me off for the rest of the night......i didnt get much sleep that night as a result........

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