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Topic: 5 Day four night trip in Eastern/Southern Smokies, TR< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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LuketheDrifter Search for posts by this member.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 26 2013, 2:28 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

First of all, thanks for all the info posted in regards to my earlier query.  They were all of great help.
I left the DC suburbs at 3am on the morning of July 17th in order to meet my friends at noon in Bryson City, NC.  I made it.
After a little searching we found the "Road to Nowhere" and followed it to its terminus, Nowhere, arriving at about 1:30.  We hiked about 7 miles first along the Lakeside Trail to Forney Creek then up a trail leading to Welch Ridge.  This was relatively smooth hiking filled with the conversation and bravado of the first day out.  We camped about halfway to Welch Ridge.
The next morning we broke camp at the break of 10:30am and continued up hill toward Welch ridge.  The trail was steep but well defined and smooth.  We reached the crest of Welch ridge and made a brief side hike to Point of Rocks to take in a vista, one of the few we would encounter on this trip in the woods.  We then proceeded to take a trail down toward Hazel Creek.  This was much rougher going.  Most of the trail was in creek and spring beds and we had to take care not to twist ankles or other body parts on slippery rocks.  We met some horsepackers going the up the opposite way, and they were just about drained.  The trip down to Hazel Creek proved once again, I find going down hill more problematic than going up hill.  
We finally reached the bottom of the trail and forded Hazel Creek then made our way up Hazel Creek trail a couple of miles to our second camp site.  The second day was 10-11 miles of difficult hiking and we didn't get into camp until about 7 in the evening.  We cooked dinner and went to bed.  I don't sleep well in the out of doors especially when sharing a small tent with another smelly, twisty turny, dude.
The next morning we woke early, broke camp and made our way up Hazel Creek.  There were so many fords of Hazel Creek and tributaries that we eventually ended up hiking in our sandals, which, while a time saver, about put the kibosh on my feet.  The grade up Hazel Creek was fairly gentle until the last mile when we left the creek valley and pushed back up to Welch ridge, 1000 feet in about a mile.  We then hiked along Welch ridge for about a mile before taking Jonas Creek trail back down toward Forney Creek.  
We finally got into camp at the Junction of Forney Creek and Jonas Creek and there were probably 10 horsepackers there from Bryson City whooping it up.  They seemed an affable bunch but my buddies had visions of Deliverance dancing in their heads so I passed on the pork chops and cabbage they were offering in favor of mountain house rice and ham.
We woke Saturday morning with just a 4 mile hike to the next campsite and made our way there.  Once there we spend the afternoon reading, fishing, drying clothes, and basically being lazy.  It was nice.  We cooked our final meal, made a huge camp fire, then went to bed.
Sunday morning we hiked back to Nowhere.  My buddies headed back to Indy and Milwaukee and drove back to DC.
All in all it was a good time with rough but satisfying hiking.  It rained some the first night but after that, even though we heard thunder everyday, there was no rain to speak of.  The temps were perfect in the 60s and 70s.  We saw tons of bear scat, but no bears.  Lots of frogs though.  We were all surprised at the lack of mosquitos considering how wet everything was.  I attributed it to the fact  that most of the water was running and not stagnant.  Overall, I highly recommend the Smokies for people considering a backpack there.


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We must move forward not backward.  Upward, not forward.  And always be twirling, twirling, twirling toward freedom.
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 26 2013, 2:52 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

glad you had a good time...

sounds like you went up bear creek trail after forney to high rocks..........then down cold spring gap trail to hazel creek....cold spring is the one that basically has a small stream running down the trail the whole time...

just outta curiousity----what suburb of DC ya from?   i grew up in columbia, MD......
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2013, 9:51 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

thanks for sharing your report, Luke. what were those campsites like? any keepers in the bunch? i liked the Jonas Creek site but we had the place to ourselves... might of had a different opinion if 10 horses had been there.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2013, 1:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hey Kevin.  You described our route perfectly.  Almost a loop except the 3 or so miles in and out on Lakeside trail.  And yeah, Cold Spring trail was tough.  Glad I wasn't trying to lead a horse up it.
If you are looking for a pristine campsite, none of the ones we were in would serve your purpose.  They all had evidence of heavy horse usage and irresponsible clean up (not necessarily by the horse users).  But they all had pully systems for hanging packs and were close to water sources.  We found them more than adequate.  The campsite where Lakeside trail meets Forney Creek was a nice place to spend a day.  Sun-dappled with the sound of a rushing creek in the background.  My buddy even caught a bass on a fly rig down where the creek ends in Lake Fontana.
Oh, and Kevin, I live in Rockville, MD.


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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2013, 2:17 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
Oh, and Kevin, I live in Rockville, MD.




many of a year ago---i worked along rockville pike, across from congressional plaza....

there was a tower record store there which almost made it nice...
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2013, 2:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

That is long gone.  Rockville Pike is one of the world's most formidable retail areas.  I shop at Trader Joe's in Congressional Plaza.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2013, 2:32 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

yeah.....tower went bankrupt shortly thereafter....

rockville pike----home to the homeless billboard guys.....
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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2013, 3:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Yup. I'm relatively sure you had nothing to do with Tower's bankruptcy.

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PostIcon Posted on: Jul. 29 2013, 5:13 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

i didnt buy much at that tower......

it went in after i converted to a deadhead....

now....the tower that was down on the GWU campus (sorta near the foggy bottom metro stop) is a different story...

use to buy all kinds of stuff from that one...
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