6 Days With Little Mitten

9:10 p.m. on April 14, 2010 (EDT)
Tipi Walter
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Little Mitten and I decide to pull a short 6 day backpacking trip into the Citico/Slickrock wilderness of TN and NC. Herein follows the fotogs:

Here we are at the start of the trip and I'm carrying two tents and all the food along with my usual 3.10lb Base Camp Thermarest.

We sit out a long windstorm with rain at around 4,000 feet and Mitten gets to try out her new Akto tent. Nice and light.

The rain lets up enough to go out and compare identical merino longjohns. I've got the Icebreaker tops and Mitten is wearing a Patagonia fleece zip-neck. We pull a zero day in the rain and wind.

On Day 3 the sun comes out and we leave camp to climb a thousand feet up to an open meadow bald. Mitten is carrying her Crazy Creek camp chair.

Here we are after the hardest part of the climb and I dump my pack for some relief. The last half mile gets us up to Bob Bald and the high open meadow at around 5,300 feet.

Old backpacking buddy Hootyhoo surprises us on the Bob and so we get to hang out and exchange trail info. Little Mitten is wearing a heavyweight silk top from Wintersilks.

Another surprise is meeting Hoppin John and his wife Rose as they pull a multi-day backpacking trip into the mountains of NC.

Here I am giving a thumb's up on a great campsite shared with friends.

This is my favorite fotog of the trip as I like Mitten's expression, and the tents in the background don't hurt.

On Day 4 Mitten says I wake up with big bags under my eyes, I guess I just don't sleep all that well.

Hoppin John's friends Larry and Nina with their new Allak tent. We had four red Hillebergs up on the Bob at one time, a first.

Hoppin John is packing up and sits by his nice Allak tent, a slightly smaller version than my Staika.

Hootyhoo gets packed up and prepares to leave the mountain for Cold Spring Gap and Beech.

Here's another favorite of my trip pics--shows Hoppin John and Rose(and Mitten)under blue.

Mitten and I descend the mountain and find quite a sight: 3 llamas and many dogs and several backpackers. Which is bigger, a llama or my pack??

A friendly llama checks me out.

And Yet More. After the llamas leave, a horseback rider pulls thru. I next expected a Hindu riding an elephant.

Hootyhoo tells us about a great camping spot down the side of the gap and so we say our goodbyes and explore a new camp.

We set up by water in a little cove for our last night and Mitten gets her camp arranged.

We go for a water run and this shows a good shot of the cove and the tents.

On the morning of Day 6 we are greeted by more sunlight and so I burn a few pages of reading material and get ready to pack up.

We end our trip by running into a Benton MacKaye thruhiker named Schwartz. He started in the Smokies and is on his way to Springer Mountain. A good ending to a great trip.

10:41 p.m. on April 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Tipi......you're killin' me! (Haha, just jealous)

I'm snowed under with work and can't seem to get out of town.

Very nice trip report indeed, I have never been on Bob, but it is on my list of places to visit once I can get away.

The bags under your eyes look just terrible....maybe Mitten needs to give you a bedtime my friend.

Looks like good times with friends....and the doggies too.

So what was your impression of the Akto? We discussed that tent a while back. I got a MH Sprite 1 for my 3 season tent, but still want a Hille for winter.

Thanks for all the photos!

11:27 p.m. on April 16, 2010 (EDT)
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But of course the lama had to check you out. It was curious about another freight-carrying animal.

Nice pics. Btw if you have too much to carry, why don't you load something on the dog. I do it with mine, he gets to carry his own food + something for me. Usually from 5 to about 10 kilos, and he is proud as a cock for doing this.

7:00 p.m. on June 13, 2010 (EDT)
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Tipi, thank you for sharing your pictures and daily log with us.

10:06 a.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Just wanted to tell you I hope Shunka is better.

For what its worth, sending my thoughts and prayers...

11:54 a.m. on June 14, 2010 (EDT)
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Nice pics, curious tho why do they call it slickrock? In AZ/Ut slickrock is smooth sandstone areas with little vegetation.

9:40 a.m. on June 15, 2010 (EDT)
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Having hiked in Slickrock multiple times, I tend to think it is because of the way the rock of that area tends to be on a slant as it reaches the surface of the land formations. The angle of the slant is often close enough to horizontal that it looks easy to walk on, but with the constant wet and humid conditions there it is much more treacherous than it looks. Couple those factors with the intensely steep sides of the drainages and you have an ankle-breaking good time. I slipped and fell more on my first trip in slickrock than I have just about anywhere else I have been. It is consistantly so wet that there are whole cliff faces that are covered in dense, lush sphagnum moss. Beautiful place, though.

That may not be the actual origin of the name, but it sure suits the place.

10:24 a.m. on June 15, 2010 (EDT)
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AZ?UT slick rock is sandstone that wet or dry is usually abrasive enough to be able to walk up on two feet or all fours even some of the steepest formations. Often going up is easier than coming down. Gravity and center of balance keeps one against the slickrock going up, then gravity tends to want to move you down too fast. I got cliffed out once hiking in Zion after going up a steep slope on Cable Mountain, after exploring the top of a sandstone plateau I had to look for a different way down than I had come up because from above it appeared like a cliff.

Cable Mountain is the one on the left in this old postcard shot. I was up on the right flanks back when I climbed up easily but got cliffed out coming back. From the Zion canyon floor its 2000 feet to the top of Cable Mtn. A once giant sanddune desert with dunes higher than 3000 feet. No granite rock here. Maybe thousands of feet beneath there is.

June 2, 2020
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