Author Topic: 2-nighter in the Smokies  (Read 1003 times)

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Offline Sarge

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2-nighter in the Smokies
« on: July 09, 2017, 08:11:55 PM »
Went on a two-nighter in the Smokies with two friends. We hiked in Thursday via the Maddron Bald trail to Albright Grove trail to the Otter Creek Campsite (GSMNP Back country site #29). It's in the northeastern part of the National Park near Cosby, TN and the TN/NC state line. It was about 6 miles to the campsite. Elevation at the trailhead was about 1,800 ft. and 4,760 ft. at the camp. Average elevation gain was about 500 ft/mile but it felt much worse. We made camp Thursday afternoon, rested a bit, and then started on firewood. It rained off and on throughout the day as it had for several preceding days. EVERYTHING was wet. One of the guys brought a Laplander saw and I brought a Fiskars hatchet. We were able to process some pine and made some shavings and kindling from the drier heartwood. It was still a challenge but we finally got it blazing.


What better place to christen the new Kephart knife than the Smoky Mountains. I shaved some tinder and did some light batoning.


My trio for this trip. A good combo.


The view of Otter Creek from the campsite.

Had supper and s?mores and hit the hammock pretty early. It rained hard for several hours overnight but my Kelty Noah 12 kept me dry.

Friday, after breakfast, we hiked a couple more miles and a few hundred more feet up the mountain to the AT. We took the AT to Inadu Knob. On the way, we saw wreckage from an F-4 Phantom from Shaw AFB that crashed there in 1984. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Old_Black_(Great_Smoky_Mountai ns)
I guess the critical parts were recovered, the forest has reclaimed some, but a few pieces are still visible from the trail. One article I read stated the wreckage is scattered over 20 acres, part in TN and part in NC.





Most of the views on the way up were shrouded in clouds but when we got to Inadu Knob (about 5,900 ft.), we saw this for about 10 minutes before more clouds rolled in. A picture doesn't do it justice but ...


Got back to base camp for a late lunch. I tried a couple new-to-me meal ideas this this trip. For lunch I tried Idahoan Brand Instant Loaded Mashed Potatoes which were ok but I kicked it up a notch. I browned a single serving of Spam in a skillet and mixed it in with the potatoes. Pretty tasty! Night before, I cooked Knorr Brand teriyaki noodles and mixed in some teriyaki beef jerky. Not too bad either. The Mountain House meals are good but for several days in a row, they a hard on my digestive system. So I brought a couple Mountain House and brought a couple new ideas as well.

Cleared up Friday evening and we had a picturesque sunset.


Hiked out Saturday morning. Some of the stream crossings on the way up were tricky but after the rain Thursday night, they were even trickier on the way back. Hopping from one slick, wet rock to another wearing a full pack ain't much fun. One crossing, we took off our shoes/socks and waded across. Didn?t want to risk having to hike 5 more mile in wet clothes and a wet, heavier pack...or worse...limp back.

Took a section of Gabes Mountain trail on the way back down. We saw some beautiful spans of old growth forest on the way up and down the mountain. Saw Laurel in various stages at different elevations. Blooms are long gone at the lower elevations. They are in full bloom at the middle elevations and just budding at the higher elevations.

Took this little spur to an overlook. We looked out and saw this


Looked down and saw this.

First time I've seen one in the woods. After that, every stick, vine and root on or near the trail looked like a rattlesnake. Yikes!

Well, that's about it. Two nights on the wood, 18 miles or so in 3 days, elevation from 1,800-5,900 ft. I'm feeling it today.
 
 
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline wsdstan

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2017, 08:53:04 PM »
Pretty country Sarge.  That is a nice trio of tools.  Glad the Kephart went along. 

That snake is sure a dark color compared to the ones out west.  I get wary when I see one then there might be 100  of them around. 
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Offline hayshaker

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2017, 05:44:48 AM »
to camp is to live, thanks sarge for sharing .
i reall miss the woods,it's where i really feel at peace.

Online imnukensc

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2017, 06:20:43 AM »
Great trip, Sarge.  Thanks for taking us along.
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Online wolfy

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2017, 07:36:08 AM »
Great bunch of photos, Sarge! :thumbsup:    It looked like the tool selection was right on target for the area, especially the new knife! 8)     I wonder how many years it's been since one has shown up there? ;D    I also wanted to comment on the way the convexing of the Opinel stands out in that particular photo......so many times, photos do not capture that subtle feature very well. :-\

You didn't happen to record the gps coordinates of that aircraft wreckage, did you?  :coffee:
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Offline wsdstan

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2017, 08:53:16 AM »
After I saw this I saved the photo of the rattler and then blew it up.  Great photo.  The snakes rattles are right in the middle of the coils.  Neat photo Sarge.   :thumbsup:
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns  something he can learn in no other way. 
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Offline OutdoorEnvy

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2017, 11:30:42 AM »
Good looking trip and good report.  That looks like a serene place and the sunsets through the trees are always awesome.  Yeah I've never seen a rattlesnake on a woods venture yet either.  Seems weird that I wouldn't have since I'm in areas heavy with them.  Glad you saw that one got a pic in time for a disaster.  I like seeing that stuff out there but from a safe distance of course!  Thanks for the share Sarge!
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Offline Sarge

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2017, 08:16:48 PM »
I think most of my gear is finally dry. Only the tarp got direct rain. Everything else, including nylon pack and wicking clothes, were damp from the humidity. Never take cotton up there.

Forgot to mention the mouse that scaled the bear cable and chewed up our food bags.  :pissed:

Here he is asleep after he got his little belly full on a granola bar.


Sorry, Wolfy, no GPS coordinates. I even asked my friend with the fancy GPS/altimeter watch but he didn't mark the crash site. I can't find a whole lot of info about the crash. I know both on board were killed and their bodies were recovered. I think a reconnaissance plane from Shaw AFB on a training flight. A couple forums and blogs say the plane was off course and tried to shoot through a gap in the mountains. I don't know...

That rattler seemed to pose for the pic. Rattle was right in the center of his coil but didn't rattle. I don't know if it's scarier to hear it or not hear it. I've looked at some internet pics and it looks like colors can range from more muted grays to darker browns and black like this one. I've seen Copperheads and a bunch of non-venomous snakes in the wild but that was the first rattler. Yikes! I'm not really phobic but I have a healthy respect for them.
"The man with the knapsack is never lost." Horace Kephart

Offline upthecreek

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #8 on: July 11, 2017, 04:17:34 AM »
Looks like my back yard! Nice country. Not crazy about the shake though :)

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Online wolfy

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #9 on: July 11, 2017, 08:09:31 AM »
I laughed at the picture of that mouse.....he looks like he's thinkin'..... "life's GOOD!" :lol:
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Offline crashdive123

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #10 on: July 11, 2017, 12:55:28 PM »
Thanks for taking us along.

Offline Yellowyak

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Re: 2-nighter in the Smokies
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2017, 06:10:18 PM »
Looks like a great outing Sarge. Love the Smokies.