BACKPACKING THE CITICO/SLICKROCK WILDERNESS
April 10-21 2009
Little Mitten Drops Me Off
Seeing Two Backpackers For 12 Days
The 22nd Nutbuster Trail
A 12 DAY TRIP AT GRASSY GAP: My girlfriend Little Mitten drops me off at a Citico trailhead and I start down the trail with the 9 creek crossings, hence the need to hang my boots around my neck. The big yellow thing is my 3.10lb Base Camp winter Thermarest pad.
THE HIGH WATER OF THE SOUTH FORK: Thank God I didn't have to cross this creek and I found a back way thru Clemmer Cove and got on the South Fork trail downstream where I set up my first night's camp.
FIRST NIGHT CAMP: I call it the White Rock Camp and it's close to the creek and just right for a great night of camping.
BRUSH MOUNTAIN CREEK: It's tumbling down to the South Fork as I pass by on my way to the Donner Camps on the South Fork. There's a fine trail that run up this creek and it's called the Brush Mt Trail, and has been recently cleared and opened and is a new favorite.
THE NORTH FORK FOOTBRIDGE: What better place to pose for a fotog then on this bridge?
CROWDER BRANCH TRAIL: I leave the South Fork and pull the Rocky Flats trail and start the Crowder Branch trail, an inside Citico trail leading up to Fodderstack ridge. It's steep in places and has several creek crossings.
GOOD OLD CROWDER CAMP: After you hump up Crowder trail, you reach the ridge and this fine open campsite on the BMT.
DOWN TO SLICKROCK CREEK: I leave Crowders on the Big Stack trail and reach Slickrock Creek where I set up at Bee Camp in the Slicnic Camps. What's Slicnic? SLICkrock/NIChols cove, the two main trails in the area.
THE MIGHTY SLICKROCK: As seen from Bee Camp. The cleanest water in the Southeast? Yup.
THE ONLY BACKPACKERS I SAW IN 12 DAYS: A father/daughter team out of Asheville, and we talk before I start up the Nutbuster trail, the upper Slickrock.
IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NUTBUSTER TRAIL: Open Cove Camp, located in a once open hemlock and silverbell cove, now a brambly mess due to the hemlock dieoff.
CLIMBING THE NUTBUSTER FOR THE 22ND TIME: I've divided the Nutbuster into 10 sections and the worst and most rugged is section 6 where this fotog was taken. It's my favorite trail of them all.
A VIEW OF THE HANGOVER FROM THE NUTBUSTER: There's a merciful reststop on the Nutbuster on section 9 in the Heath Tunnel at a place called the Heath Overlook, and you get to see some stuff.
THE GOAL OF THE NUTBUSTER? It's a high gap called Naked Ground where I set up for the night.
AIRJET CAMP: I leave Naked Ground and stay on the high ridge between the Bob and the Hangover, a place I call Four Mile Ridge, and my destination is this campsite near the Hangover rock overlook, named in honor of Jody Brown and Rcarver who set up here in a cold blizzard and used a Mt Hardwear Airjet tent.
WHEN ALL SEEMS BLEAK GOD SENDS A LIZARD: I spent all day with this guy up on the sunny rocks of the Hangover.
DEEP CREEK CAMP: Now, if you want a great backpacking trek, leave the Hangover and fall down the Deep Creek trail to the little wooden footbridge and you'll find this great campsite.
THE BIG DOG AND THE PINHEAD: Here we are posing by the Deep Creek footbridge. Another favorite place.
LANDON CAMP WITH THE TWO MISCREANTS: We leave Deep Creek and pull the long loop up Haoe Lead back to Naked Ground. Our trip is winding down.
MERINO CLAD NATURE BOY: I knew something was up back in Kansas in 1959 when I was called a nature boy by my 4th grade teacher. I'm leaving Naked Ground and heading out of the woods for my pickup at Beech Gap.
BEECH GAP LOOKING INTO NORTH CAROLINA: Nantahala Forest is what they call it.
KING FUNGUS SURVEYS HIS KINGDOM: It's called Cherokee Forest when you look from the NC side. And so another trip ends.