South Fork with the new guy...

12:14 p.m. on October 13, 2016 (EDT)
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With the beautiful weather that we've been enjoying and a free weekend coming up, I decided that it would be a good idea to make a break for the hills. After a few texts back and forth with my friend Jeremiah, it was decided that we should hike South Fork Citico Creek. There was a bear hunt going on in our area and the Citico Wilderness happens to be in a bear reserve. I have a rather large solid black German Shepherd Dog and it seemed prudent to avoid hunters who were after black bear and hogs.

Friday evening I met Jeremiah, his wife Sarah, and their 1yr old Titus (the new guy). After parking my vehicle at the Wardens Field campsite amongst many RVs we loaded up in Jeremiah's Jeep and headed up the Cherohala Skyway to Rattlesnake Rock.

We hiked down the Jeffery Hell trail to its junction with South Fork Citico trail and camped at a nice little spot about a tenth of a mile up the trail. We built up a nice fire for cooking and entertainment. After lounging around in our hammocks for a good while, it was time to retire for the evening.

After a good nights sleep beside the barely flowing sounds of the creek we finished out the lower end of the S. Fork trail. During the night we got a good soaking rain. No complaints there because we desperately needed it. I did, however, find that my old North Face tent is in need of seam sealing again. (Or better yet, replacement!)

This was a great trip with some good friends and perfect weather. As a bonus, Jeremiah and Sarah got to introduce little Titus to what will hopefully be a lifetime of outdoor adventures.

Jeremiah and Sarah as we work our way down the Jeffery Hell trail.

Titus taking it all in!

Me beside a wonderful old Yellow Buckeye rooted in a seep

Evening entertainment

Last trip for Mr. Leaky???

Getting ready to leave camp

Titus in the fore ground wondering why Heidi dog has such an unfashionable necklace:-)

One of the South Fork Citico's many pretty cascades

Wilderness wonderland

Some of Tipi Walter's handywork... Thank you kind sir!

Lunchtime with a happy boy. What's not to love?

The ever-present southern Appalachian rhododendron tunnel

Jeremiah and Sarah preparing to rock hop the ultra low Citico. (In late winter and early spring this crossing can be impassable)

Heideldog investigating an old dynamite shack left from the logging days

Nice picture to end on...

    Happy Trails


1:58 p.m. on October 13, 2016 (EDT)
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It definitely was a good trip, very glad we made it happen. Titus done great on his first overnight and between this trip and having him at the top of Mt Leconte in sub freezing weather at 6 months of age I think he has gotten a very good start to the Hiking life.

7:39 p.m. on October 13, 2016 (EDT)
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Thanks for the trip report.  Citico wilderness does not allow bear hunting any time of the year so you were safe.

Rattlesnake Rock has been recently disfigured by redneck idiocy---

This is just past where you parked at the Jeffrey Hell trailhead.

I've camped many times at that South Fork Creek spot and it's a good level camp with easy water access. 

What's really odd is back in 2009 I ran into several backpackers staying at your exact spot and get this, they also had a black dog!


9:29 p.m. on October 13, 2016 (EDT)
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Tipi, the bear reserve is definitely a good refuge from the hunting traffic. Speaking of traffic and the graffiti on the Skyway, RIDICULOUS! It was a literal racetrack this weekend as it is anytime the weather is nice. I wish the police presence was like it is on the Dragon! 

Nice  coincidence with your pic of the same camp and another solid black German Shepherd! I totally understand what you are talking about in your trip reports about the sawbriars in the mid section of the S Fork trail. Thank you for the maintenance that you do on all the trails you walk!

At some point, our paths are bound to cross. Until then, keep on keeping on! Keep the trip reports coming on Trail Journals too!

9:51 p.m. on October 13, 2016 (EDT)
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Finely put the pup to the dog thread...Nice looking hiking buddy..Great to see families hikng together...That side shot of the baby is precious...Great trip report...

5:00 a.m. on October 14, 2016 (EDT)
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Tipi, the family and I rode over to the wolf Laurel trailhead after leaving w rattlesnake. I saw the graffiti on the rock and although I couldn't read it in passing it is a true shame. Here are a few more pictures of the hike. 

You're off to Great Places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So... get on your way!-Dr Seuss






7:40 a.m. on October 14, 2016 (EDT)
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Thanks for the kind words!


I love the extra pics. Glad you decided to join Trailspace too... It's a great site with a wealth of knowledge. Also love the Dr. Suess quote(one of my favs).

3:29 p.m. on October 14, 2016 (EDT)
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That last photo is the favorite of both my wife and I! Thanks for sharing. Welcome to Trailspace Jeremiah.

4:59 p.m. on October 14, 2016 (EDT)
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Great pics everyone.  I should be camping at the Wolf Laurel trailhead very soon.  Let's home the creek nearby is flowing.

6:32 p.m. on October 14, 2016 (EDT)
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Phil, thanks. He is our first child and we are very partial to him lol. I have lurked around this sight and trail journals for several years. Picking up needed information. Just never joined but looking forward to being part of the community.

Tipi, I will be headed to the hangover via Wolf Laurel next Saturday and I too hope to find water if not at the hangover then at naked ground.

I will also be trying out a new tent that I ordered yesterday (Alps Mountaineering extreme 3-need more room now that we have "the new guy") so maybe I'll do my first review on it.

7:12 p.m. on October 14, 2016 (EDT)
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Supposed to say:  "Let's hope the creek nearby is flowing." 

Jeremiah:  We may see each other as I hope to pull the Five Trails of the Apocalypse:  Stratton Ridge, Naked Ground Trail, Deep Creek, Haoe Lead and Jenkins Meadow.

2:47 p.m. on October 15, 2016 (EDT)
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After looking at your pictures and Tippis...Am I looking at a Temperate rainforest? Looks as though it is,,,,Welcome Jeremiah...

7:52 p.m. on October 15, 2016 (EDT)
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our area of the southern Apps is most definitely considered a rainforest. In the mountains a normal year sees 85 plus inches of precipitation.

8:19 p.m. on October 15, 2016 (EDT)
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Green on map indicates temperate rainforest. We're the small patch :)

9:38 a.m. on October 26, 2016 (EDT)
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I was in Slickrock Creek just beside you during your trip. The bear season didn't start until Oct 17th, so I went with my coyote looking dog, but dressed her up in bright pink ribbons. We were the from the 13th to the 16th. Hiked from Big Fat to Naked Ground to Bob Bald and down Hangover to Big Fat again.

No water. You're right about needing the rain.

I remember one particular part of South Fork where it was just about impossible to pass due to growth, vines, and rocks. It was only about 50 feet, but it was amazingly difficult. I recently hiked from Beech Gap to North Fork and back up South Fork. Very different forests. If you want wild, Citico is the place to be.

Very nice review and pictures.

Happy Trails!


11:58 a.m. on October 27, 2016 (EDT)
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Great stuff, Jeremiah! 

It is so great that you're taking you wee son out backpacking, and he's a cute lil' guy. that last photo is priceless :)  My daughter is 19mo old, and we just took her camping last weekend for the first time. Sadly, my wife has a bum knee, so backpacking isn't much of an option until the little one is completely weened and will be up for a weekend with daddy in the trail. 

12:39 p.m. on October 27, 2016 (EDT)
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We were on the South Fork on Oct 7-8. It was bear season on the Tennessee side where we were, except for the fact that we were in the bear reserve where hunting isn't allowed. I was near your route on Sunday Oct 15 on the Hangover.  (check out my report on it under Hangover with no headache) Citico is definitely a place to escape to the wild! That is, barring Cherohala noise.

5:47 a.m. on November 17, 2016 (EST)
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  Thanks for the compliment on the boy, we agree but are probably partial but definitely Enjoy getting him out. We did commit a serious sin early spring and bought a 19' camper to aid in getting Titus outside more often. Said I'd never buy one, but it sure made week long Mountain stays easier for all of us. Sounds like you already have it planned out with your daughter and I wish you a lifetime of memories made with her on the trails. On your wife's knee, I'm no Dr. and I don't know her case But I have been putting off knee surgery for a couple years, (bad meniscus) it will flare up and hurt just from work quite often. But I have a "back on track" knee brace that I wear hiking and even with 60+lbs on my back my knee has always held up hiking. 

Happy Trails

4:42 p.m. on November 17, 2016 (EST)
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Jeremiah---I DID end up seeing you on the high ground and finished my 21 day trip on November 4th just before all these fires closed down both the Citico and the Slickrock. 

Someone will have to go out to the Kilmer side when allowed and take some pics of the devastation and let us see the mess with a view from the Naked Ground trail or the Haoe Lead or Deep Creek trails.

February 26, 2020
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