16 Days in March

1:22 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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March brings the opportunity to backpack thru the mountains of TN and NC and so I have several goals for the trip---

**  To complete the trailwork I started in November on the Deep Creek/Haoe Lead loop.

**  To pull Rocky Flats and the Mill Branch to see any new trailwork done by a SAWS crew.

For a full photo experience of this trip see---

http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpack-2014-Trips-152/16-Days-in-March/

BACKPACKING
THE
CITICO/SLICKROCK
WILDERNESS

TRIP 154
March 14-29 2014

TRIP HIGHLIGHTS
** CRANBERRIES TOM AND CHELSEA IN COLD SPRING GAP

** 16 DAYS IN MARCH

** BOB BUTTERFIELD JOINS ME ON BOB'S WALL

** AUDREY'S CRANBERRIES ON THE DEEP CREEK TRAIL

** TRAILWORK ON THE DEEP CREEK/HAOE LEAD LOOP (AGAIN)

** A NEW CAMP ON HAOE LEAD

** BACKPACKING BRUSH MT WITH MARK AND AUDREY

** SEEING RANGER ROB THOMAS IN WARDEN'S FIELD

** SITTING IN THE SUN IN WARDEN'S FIELD WITH MARK AND AUDREY

** THIRD MEETING WITH MARK AND AUDREY ON THE MILL BRANCH TRAIL

** SNOW AND COLD ON MILL BRANCH

** FIVE BACKPACKERS FROM PENSACOLA, FLORIDA

** PEG PULLING HELL WINDSTORM IN COLD GAP

** A TWO DAY EARLY BAIL WITH COY WILLIAMS

TRAILS
Entrance at Beech Gap
Fodderstack
54A South
**Mighty Oak Camp on 54A**
54A South
Bob Mt
Bob's Wall
**Tipi Gap Camp on Bob's Wall**
Four Mile Ridge
**Naked Ground Landon Camp**
Four Mile Ridge
**Hangover Mt Clearcut Camp**
Deep Creek
**Deep Creek Footbridge Camp**
Deep Creek
Haoe Lead
**Haul Water Camp on Haoe Lead**
Haoe Lead
**Toad Camp**
Haoe Lead
Four Mile Ridge
**Naked Ground Landon Camp**
Four Mile Ridge
Bob Mt
54A North
BMT Connector
**Barrel Gap**
Trail 149
Brush Mt
South Fork
North Fork
**Camp Two Second Crossing North Fork**
North Fork/South Fork
Warden's Field
Rocky Flats
**Chimney Site**
Rocky Flats
Mill Branch
**Quillen Camp(2)**
Fodderstack BMT South
**Glenn Gap**
Fodderstack BMT South
BMT Connector
Trail 149
**Cold Gap(2)** and OUT


TRIP-154-022.jpg

See, there's still some snow on my first day into the Citico wilderness of TN.


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I meet my first Cranberries from the Cranbrook School out for their 44th annual 10 day wilderness trek.  It's Katie and Chelsea and old Fungus.


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I find a new campsite on Bob's Wall at 5,400 feet and old buddy Bob Butterfield joins me with his REI tent.


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I meet  a second group of Berries on the Deep Creek trail at the footbridge.


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The group is led by Audrey, Will and Jeff as they make their way down the Deep Creek trail to Maple Springs.


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On the Deep Creek trail where there are many fine rock formations and the weather is perfect for extensive clipping and trailwork.


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After pulling the Deep Creek/Haoe Lead loop I swing off Bob Mt and tie into the Brush Mt trail where I find the father/daughter team of Mark and Audrey needing a little bit of help to negotiate this most rugged of the Citico trails.  We hike it down and stop for a break and to consult the map.  I hike them down to the South Fork Creek where they camp and I cross for a camp on the North Fork.


TRIP-154-240.jpg

The next day I leave my camp on the North Fork and swing into Warden's Field where I am surprised by the arrival of Mark and Audrey as they crossed the South Fork and swing thru the Fields on their way up the Pine Ridge trail.  We say our goodbyes as I head up the Rocky Flats trail.


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I finish the Rocky Flats and swing onto the steep Mill Branch and set up in Quillen Camp at the top of the Mill and get hit with my coldest night and some snow.


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Mill Branch puts me on Fodderstack Ridge south to Cold Gap where I run into the Southern Backpacker Mafia out of Pensacola, Florida out for a 5 day trip.


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On the last day I run into Coy Williams and it's a treat to hang out with him and hike out with him.

1:39 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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hey Tipi wecome back

sorry i missed you on this outing....

 

and here I thought I was the only backpacker from Pensacola (my original home town)...never heard of the Southern Backpacking mafia but those guys look much younger than me   :)

 

2:22 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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I always enjoy your reports and pics Tipi.

2:26 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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Very friendly guys and we talked about their route and I gave them a small paper map showing the BMT Connector and shortcut linking 149 to Cherry Log Gap which they didn't know about.  They were going to go up 54A South and take 54A North down to Cherry Log, a needless route.

I think my April madness will be to do the north of Farr Gap system in the Tallassee Mt area.  I'm bringing trail ribbon to mark my route so I don't get hopelessly lost.

3:15 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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Ah Tallassee Mountain....both sides of my wife’s family have ties to Tallassee. My late father-in-law became the "man of the house" as a young boy when his father passed away and he had the shared responsibility of hunting for the family’s meat proteins as they couldn’t afford to buy much meat from the store. I’ve heard many tales of Tallassee Mountain and Citco hunting. There were apparently no trails to speak of back in that area based on the stories I’ve heard. Those guys were kids in the forties I think.  

Susan and I had a chance to buy the old homestead in Tallassee some years ago from her dad and declined. Now I wish we had.

3:37 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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I think my April madness will be to do the north of Farr Gap system in the Tallassee Mt area.  I'm bringing trail ribbon to mark my route so I don't get hopelessly lost.

sweet....

i had been wonderin where the old road at farr gap goes.....

that one has been on my mind lately....

keep us posted on that route as i may wind up down there sometime soon....

3:42 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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looking through the pictures now----that rocky wash on haeo lead trail is tricky......that's about the only place i really had trouble finding the trail when i did it a few months ago...

deep creek trail-----i really dug that trail......may have to go back there and explore around some more...

4:37 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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Here's a map of the trail system in the Tallasse Mountain area---

http://www.cherokeehikingclub.org/Tallassee%20Trail%20System.pdf

Many opportunities to get lost. 

5:07 p.m. on April 8, 2014 (EDT)
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yeah.....you sent me that link a while ago and ive been pondering it.......

real interested to hear and see what you find down that way.......

you may see me down that way (hey, gave ya a fair warning at least) not this weekend but next......

im itching to get back out but have been tied to the whipping post these last few weekends...

9:53 p.m. on April 9, 2014 (EDT)
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Hey Tipi. Glad you are using the map I made of the Tallassee area from the Cherokee Hiking Club website. Hope you have a great trip. Brenda will get you a dog if you are ready for one yet.

Rick Harris

12:02 a.m. on April 10, 2014 (EDT)
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Thanks Richard for the great map and I'll have a couple copies of it in the top lid of my pack when I head over to Farr Gap from Warden's Field.  Along with some survey ribbon.

Do you have any pointers or suggestions of the area??

3:37 p.m. on April 10, 2014 (EDT)
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As usual excellent report. I really enjoy reading about your exploits, excursions, and adventures Tipi. 

3:59 p.m. on April 10, 2014 (EDT)
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Thanks for the input.  Part of the fun of backpacking and being outside is keeping a journal and including the necessary photos, especially of the various people I meet with their packs and other stuff.

And then there's the night flash shots of my tent in a blizzard---a favorite activity.

4:08 p.m. on April 10, 2014 (EDT)
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Tipi,

It's humorus to see people looking at a map of brush Mtn; not much help there, especially if it's the Trails Illustrated version. You may have saved them from a stessful couple of days trying to get out of there.

4:29 p.m. on April 10, 2014 (EDT)
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Patman---

Yes, as I said in a smugmug pic, the Brush Mt trail is a jumbled mess and a map only provides a laugh. 

Once I found them on Brush Mt Ridge and off the trail---they dropped to the sound of my voice and we continued.  I sort of insisted I follow as the trail ahead gets even worse, especially the drop off "Satan's Teat" down to Bug Hollow Camp---and the Ike Peak dogleg descent to Brush Creek (or is it Ike Creek?) which is really confusing. 

It was fun following behind and seeing how and if they could find the trail.  They did pretty good and missed several faint markings keeping them on the right path but you know, once on or near the creek it's all downhill to the South Fork no matter how lost you get.

The first big rock ridge section though is often the easiest place to get lost.

8:56 a.m. on April 12, 2014 (EDT)
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"i had been wonderin where the old road at farr gap goes....."

I had wondered the same thing.  A few years ago my buddy David and I decided to find out.  We dropped off the mountain on that jeep trail in a cold rain.  The trail wound around, made a few switchbacks, and we were shocked to discover it came right back to Stiffknee trail well before you get to the saddle where the trail drops off down to Little Slickrock.

When we hit Stiffknee we immediately recognized where we were as we have hiked that trail more than any other in the entirety of the Citico-Joyce Kilmer-Slickrock wilderness system.  We were kind of disappointed.  Having set out to discover a new place and ending up right back in the most familiar of all places.

3:58 p.m. on April 14, 2014 (EDT)
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Hi - how heavy is your pack on this trip and how to you like the MR 7K?

10:38 a.m. on April 18, 2014 (EDT)
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Hi - I liked your blog post and noticed the pack you were using.  I was curious about how much it might had weighed for your trip.  Do you know?  And how do you like the Mystery Ranch pack?  

August 23, 2019
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