January 11-19 2009
Whiteblazers Come To Visit
21st Nutbuster Trail
Coldest Yet At -10F
Frozen Tundra And Icey Exit
Hello fans! It's been awhile since I added anthing on my blog but I'm back to start a rundown on some recent trips starting with last year's forays into the great beyond: Trip 89!
Here I am at the start of my trip and going into the Citico Wilderness in Tennessee from the Beech Gap entrance at around 4,600 feet and it's cold again.
A group of dayhikers from Whiteblaze.com come in for a visit as they do a long 12 mile loop from Beech Gap on the BMT to Fodderstack and down Pine Ridge trail and out. We met up at my tentsite I call Snow Camp. They are Pokey2006, Wisenbur, and Jeffrey Hunter.
It's a cold trip and somewhere in the middle of it I end up on the Upper Slickrock Creek trail, also known as the Nutbuster Trail, The Hardest Trail In The Southeast, and it's no stranger to me as I've already done it 20 times by this trip, and I'm prepared for my 21st attempt. Here is my Hilleberg Staika tent set up on the Nutbuster approach between the Hangover and the Slickrock creeks at a place I call Burnthouse Camp in honor of the Upper Creek Pisgah camp in North Carolina.
I pulled the Nutbuster(and it busted my nut), and reached the high 5,000 foot gap called Naked Ground where I set up in cold conditions and unfurled the sleeping bag and layed out the dog pack. All is set for temps around OF.
I leave Naked Ground and stay up high and reach a socked in meadow called Bob Stratton Bald where I set up in zero temps again and find a Boy Scout troop from Ohio pulling in on their way to the place I just left in the gap. They are a friendly bunch and came in at Beech Gap and I met one of their leaders, a local trail worker associated with the Citico trails and the Benton MacKaye trail, Rick Harris.
Here's my camp not far from where I saw the Boy Scouts and it's in a place I call the South Col Camps, out of the open meadow and in the protection of some trees. You can tell by this pic how cold it is, around OF or below.
The scouts leave their ice cold camp at Naked Ground and pass by my camp on their way out and down the mountain to Beech Gap. I like this fotog and it's probably the best one of the trip.
ANOTHER REASON TO WINTER CAMP: Here's a view of a winter wonderland atop the Bob at 5,300 feet and it's cold! I call these guys the Skeleton Trees for good reason, and there's about 20 of them scattered across the bald.
BLUE SKY AND WHITE POWDER: There's nothing better than to be camping in pristine conditions and winter always makes a forest camp seem more wild and remote.
SHUNKA DOG LEADING THE WAY OUT: Every trip must come to an end and so does Trip 89 as we hoof it on the snowy trail back to Beech Gap and out.
UNCLE FUNGUS LEAVES THE WOODS: And I say goodbye to you and hope you get out yourselves to play with the Lady of the Cold and the Snow.