Southern Appalachian trips to share

6:31 p.m. on March 27, 2017 (EDT)
Patman
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Hello all,

Here are a few pictures from the last 5 short trips this year, shared just for fun and at my whim: (These may not be the best photos and I may or may not have an accompanying story to tell...)

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February 17-19 Bob Mtn out and back in Nantahala National Forest

2 nights, 22 miles, mostly rainy


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View from the Mountain on Friday night before the weather hit. (Hey John Starnes if you read this, this was the night you planned to be at the same place but had to cancel, just FYI)

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February 23-25 Three Forks!

2 nights, 20 miles (5 off trail)

This was a very special trip for me that was a long time coming. Three Forks is a classic off trail hike in the Smokies known for difficulty of access, remote beauty and excellent trout fishing. I think much of the allure dates back to Ken Wise describing it as "mystical" in one of his early guides as well as this article much later. Also author Greg Hoover stated that National Geographic once called Three Forks the prettiest place in the Smokies but I could not find that on-line. Regardless, for area off-trail hikers this is a must-do trip.

I chose to follow McGee spring down to Right Fork and wade the creek 1 mile to Big Pool (the confluence of three branches that form Raven Fork). I sort of followed the old manway across Breakneck Ridge on the way back but pretty much had to find my own route. Anyway here a couple shots:


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Getting ready to leave McGee Springs and follow the run-off straight down the mountain behind me.


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My creek wading outfit for 40 degree weather: rain jacket, underwear, wool socks and crocs. :)


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The Big Pool showing Left Fork



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Big Pool middle and Right Fork (sort of visible)


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Soaking up the sun while fishing.


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The classic Enloe Creek Shot is too tempting not to share.

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March 3-5 Dry Sluice Hughes Loop

2 nights, 27 miles


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A nice way to start the trip.


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But those clear skies entailed 15F weather. Puffy jacket is on and all layers a go.


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I like this.


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One of my favorite lunch spots. Over the years have spent countless hours laying on ccf pad or dangling legs over the edge while soaking up the solitude and views.


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Yep, still cold.

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March 10-12 Bote Mtn, Greenbrier loop, snow camp

2 nights, 27 miles

Finally got a snow-camp on the year, however brief!


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Went to bed with just a dusting...


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Woke up with a nice little fall. Was actually only 4 inches but drifts on the tent look nice.


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Snowy trail in the morning sunlight is always delightful.


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yay for me!


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March 24-26, Chestnut, Balsam, Baxter Loop

2 nights, 36 miles

This was really an exercise trip just for the workout but still a very fun pack trip.


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The heavenly pine on Mt Cammerrer


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Stormy skies over NC seen from Mt Sterling Fire Tower

Happy Trails Friends!

7:56 p.m. on March 27, 2017 (EDT)
John Starnes
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Rub it in will ya. LOL dang I hate I missed it.looks like your the only one having any fun right now. I'm not holding my breath but hope to be able to run up that way in a few weeks from now. This week gotta run to Kentucky with the relatives. 

Can't wait to get up there I'm getting fat stuck here. awesome trips. I'll let you know if I'm able to make it up.

9:10 a.m. on March 28, 2017 (EDT)
FlipNC
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Nice! With 4 trips under my belt this year, I actually had a thought at one point that I might be on a Patrick-like pace...should have known better!

10:08 a.m. on March 28, 2017 (EDT)
Patman
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John, totally not rubbing it in, rather just enticing you to make the trip. :)

 

Phil,

lol, thanks. yeah I'm still on a overall good pace but have backed off the miles this year as we have some domestic projects that I need to spend some time on. I've been trying to make it home by noon on Sundays so my loops and sections are shorter. As the projects heat up I will have to sacrifice some complete weekends; but we do what we gotta do!

I'm still really pleased with the results from quitting running. The legs are feeling better than they have in several years. Last weekend on that exercise loop I did a 22 mile day on Saturday and had only the normal soreness one might expect, which is great news...

10:10 a.m. on March 28, 2017 (EDT)
ppine
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Well done Patrick.  I love to get out this time of year after such a long wet winter in the West.  The southern Sierra was lovely.

11:12 a.m. on March 28, 2017 (EDT)
FlipNC
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That's awesome Patrick...glad the legs have improved. I am always jealous of folks who can keep up a running regime in their mid life...my joints are beat up and couldn't do it but a combo of walking and an elliptical keeps me in shape for the hills. A knee wrap at times and pain reliever seem to keep me going...

3:27 p.m. on March 28, 2017 (EDT)
Patman
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Thanks ppine, man the Sierra is unbeatable. I have a few more places to go befor eI start repeating my western trips but I still feel the call of the Sierra. that place is magical in my opinion

 

Phil,

yeah me too. The psychology of not being able to run and push things like I used to is the hardest part. But I've found the same thing to be true: you can still keep in shape without intense running every day. But I am envious of those folks like Big Red that can seemingly run their whole lives with no concessions.

 

8:55 p.m. on March 28, 2017 (EDT)
John Starnes
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Patman said:

John, totally not rubbing it in, rather just enticing you to make the trip. :)

 Black Balsom Knob already did that when I found it. Space and more Space wow!

LOL- no need to worry about that you guys did that along time ago. I'm just wondering when I'm finally able to get back on trail regularly (when I finish or get rid of this house) how long it's gonna take me to get back in shape to keep up with you guys. I'll probably have to hire porters to carry me LOL. You guys impress the heck out of the rest of us. 22 a day makes me groan at the thought. Heck I thought 20 to springer and back over 2 day with a full pack coming off a bum knee was good, I can see now id better get back on the wheaties plan.you fellas might just walk a guy in the ground LOL

10:51 a.m. on March 29, 2017 (EDT)
ppine
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Speaking of being in shape, I have a friend that is 60 that recently climbed Mt Whitney in a day. That is not that unusual except that he had just rehabbed a knee about two months before. His college age kids cannot keep up with him when backpacking.

2:18 p.m. on March 29, 2017 (EDT)
Patman
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John,

hey no worries about that. I do all kinds of trips. I only do 20 mile days when I want a workout and usually only do that in places I know well. when I go somewhere new I usually don't plan more than 10 a day if possible. or even much less if I'm fishing or exploring off trail, etc...I guess a thru hike might put me in a different mindset.

Places like Three Forks are a good example: it took me three hours to go 1.5 miles in the creek.

 

ppine,

Wow, that's strong! I met a fellow finishing up his Smokies map once and he was long since retired. I can't remember how old he said he was but I'm guessing late 60ies. I could not keep up with him (and I really tried because he had great stories). Granted he was on a long day hike (like 25 miles) and I had a full pack, but even so, it was humbling. You really can't tell much from appearances. 

 

May 30, 2020
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