Author Topic: 2-nighter in the Smokies  (Read 1265 times)

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Offline Sarge

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2-nighter in the Smokies
« on: July 10, 2016, 07:06:23 PM »
Spent Thursday and Friday night in the woods in the Greenbrier area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. We hiked the Injun Creek Trail to backcountry Campsite #32 (Elev 2280?). It's not really a secret trail but it is not on the park maps and there's little info about it on the net.

I?m not trying to be offensive or insensitive or anything, it?s called Injun Creek on GSMNP maps, websites, etc. I?m no authority on mountain history but here?s a bit of mountain lore for those interested. Regarding Injun Creek ? I?ve read that the mountain people did not refer to the Cherokee as injuns, so the creek name is a misspelling of Engine Creek named after the old steam engine that?s been lying in the creek about 90 years. I read another story that the name came from an early settler that moved there by the creek in June so Injun comes from ?In-June Creek?. But I?ve also seen images of old maps and deeds labeled Indian Creek so I think it is more likely a mispronunciation /  misspelling of Indian, named Indian Creek due to the Cherokee buried in the area. There is an Indian Creek campsite on the North Carolina side of the park. Not sure why this one was re-named. Anyway, it is called Injun Creek now. Sorry, I derailed my own thread?

The four of us hit the trail about 5:30 on Thursday afternoon and hiked the 1.7 miles to the campsite in just under an hour with off & on rain.


The trail meanders along and across the creek several times. The first 4 crossings are via these foot bridges; the last two crossings are by stone hopping. The first mile or so is easy but it gets steeper closer to the campsite.

The campsite is a little clearing just off the trail.


Over the last few years I?ve tried to upgrade and downsize my gear. This Guerilla Packs Samurai 50L weighs in at 4 lbs. but I still got the pack and two nights worth of ?stuff? down to about 20 pounds (before water and fishing gear). I guess that?s Neanderthal man heavy for some but it?s high speed, low drag for me.  I?ve lugged a lot heavier plenty of times with 5+ lb tents and sleeping bags, etc. I still take plenty of things I have never used but I ?might? need? I?ll whittle down a little more for the next trip.


Here is my hang.


Same hammock and tarp as last time but I'm trying out this new Marmot Nano 55 sleeping bag.

The bag is small and light. Low temps were in the 60's after evening storms both nights. The bag was perfect the first night. I was a little cool the second night but not too cold to sleep. Slept on top of a space blanket both nights.

Speaking of storms ... we got hammered the first night about 7:30. Lightning, high winds, and hard rain for about an hour. One of the guys observed we were hunkered down beneath a Noah's tarp during a biblical storm...

I initially thought the 12x12' was too big but it is really nice in the rain. (I took down my hammock and all seven of us sat beneath it and rode out Friday evening's storm.)

We had to gather firewood after the storm and everything was wet. Thanks to some fatwood, courtesy of MrFixit, we got a fire going.


Most visited national park. This is just outside the campsite. Most every tree smaller than about 4" in diameter has been sawn or hacked down.

We spent Friday morning lounging around camp and waiting for 3 more campers to arrive.

The BK2 and Habilis dwarf the little Enzo clone I made.

Tried out my friend's new wood gas stove.


Friday afternoon, we hiked to the old steam engine tractor and explored some old home sites. The tractor was about a half mile from camp, in Injun Creek on the Grapeyard Ridge Trail.










Don't know much beyond the tractor was being used to harvest timber, maybe for a school, when it rolled off the trail and into the creek. Stories say the driver jumped clear and was not injured. Some of the parts were salvaged, some were left in the creek.

There are several rock walls along the Injun Creek trail. The forest has all but reclaimed many but a few are still quite visible.





Looks like the remains of a stove at one of the home sites.


We saw part of the house's foundation but it didn't photograph well.

Some random shots...








Stopped by an old cemetery on the way out Saturday morning. My distant kin folk...



Just a small moss covered clearing on the side of a ridge.



Some evidence of the storms. This wasn't across the trail on the way up.


Last shot of the group...I was bringing up the rear as usual.


Thanks for looking!

"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wolfy

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2016, 09:03:08 PM »
That was a very cool report, Sarge!   It must have been quite a personal feeling tramping through your ancestral homeland, especially the old cemetery!   Have you been there before or was it a new discovery? :shrug:
The only chance you got at a education is listenin' to me talk!
Augustus McCrea.....Texas Ranger      Lonesome Dove, TX

Offline Sarge

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2016, 09:27:02 PM »
Thanks, wolfy. I had read about the cemetery and seen photos but that was my first visit. My friends let me pick the location for this outing and the round trip to the cemetery added at least a mile to the return hike. Cool guys and a great trip.
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline Quenchcrack

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2016, 05:19:14 AM »
Pretty area, thanks for taking us along!
I guess he'd rather be in Colorado.
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Online OutdoorEnvy

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2016, 06:51:54 AM »
Enjoyed that report Sarge!  That's a great looking area.  Nice gear too.  I'm in about the same boat as you on the gear and weight.  Just cut the weight down one piece at a time.  My 55L pack is about 4.25lbs.  When I get my gear set that the only thing left to remove 2 more pounds is my pack I'll upgrade it!  Till then it'll do just fine.  Thanks for the share!
Proverbs 27:17    "As iron sharpens iron, a friend sharpens a friend"
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2016, 10:34:31 AM »
Very neat country in there.  The cemetery is remarkable.  Do you know the years that it was being used?

Thanks for all the nice photos.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)

Offline MnSportsman

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2016, 10:35:55 AM »
Thanks for sharing your outing! Great to see folks out having a good time in the sticks! :thumbsup:


:)
I love being out in the woods!   I like this quote from Mors Kochanski - "The more you know, the less you carry". I believe in the same creed, & think  "Knowledge & honed skills" are the best things to carry with ya when you're out in the wilds. They're the ultimate "ultralight" gear! ;)

Offline Sarge

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #7 on: July 11, 2016, 11:26:35 AM »
I think the cemetery was used from about 1875-1925 but some of the stones are not marked (or markings are no longer visible).

"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wsdstan

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2016, 12:06:40 PM »
Thanks Sarge.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
(Mark Twain)

Offline madmax

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2016, 02:17:21 PM »
Good stuff.  We're over on the NC side and that storm kept my wife awake all night.  2 large trees came down on the property and made a real ruckus.  We found some limbs stuck vertically in the ground near our camp.  Got it again the next day about dark thirty. 

We love visiting those old cemeteries.  Both up here and in FL.

Glad you got out to your family's stompin' grounds.
"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving pretty with a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways in a cloud of smoke, thouroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming, Wow! What a ride!" 
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Offline Yellowyak

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2016, 06:13:09 PM »
Great trip report Sarge, thanks for taking us along. I love the Smoky Mountains, just wish i had more time to visit them; one day.

Offline wissahickon

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #11 on: July 11, 2016, 08:23:29 PM »
Thanks for sharing that.  Until I was old enough to head out on my own, SMNP was the only one I ever got to go to and holds a special warm place in my otherwise cold and shriveled heart.

The cemetery looks especially interesting.  There's something comforting about seeing a place left the way it was intended to be, even if it's only because it's hard to find. 

Offline NewEnglandBushcraft

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2016, 01:30:42 PM »
:thumbsup: Wow....lot of history there - that in itself makes the trip golden in my eyes :). Thanks for taking us along, I do miss the Smokies.
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." ~ Abraham Lincoln
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Offline Dano

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2016, 07:05:59 PM »
Great trip report Sarge, very cool scenery and I'm sure the cemetery visit meant a lot.  I was quite taken by the pics of the steam tractor.   Cool to see it and almost eerie at the same time.  I was also thinking of how the workers must have reacted as it was lost and went sliding by.  That had to mean a lot more work for them, and maybe a draft team as well.  I'm sure a lot of lost hours that had to be made up by sweat labor!!

Really nice report though, thanks for sharing!!

Offline Sarge

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #14 on: July 13, 2016, 12:00:46 PM »
Thanks, guys. The cemetery was really cool.

Funny, Dano, we talked about some of those same things regarding the tractor. That thing made its way from MI to rural Appalachia. If only it could talk... On one hand, it looks eerily out of place but, on the other, it looks like it has always been there. It's part of the forest now. We also joked about the driver having to finally tell his boss after he and some friends couldn't pull it out of the creek. I'm sure it did put people out of work. How many months would it take to get another tractor up in the mountains? Present day, the company would just go rent another ....
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart