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Topic: BSF:Bandy CG to Muir, Laurel Fork, W Ent., Anyone done this loop lately?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 26 2014, 9:13 pm  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I'm looking at getting back up to Big South Fork in a couple of weeks. Trying to decide between a car camp  with some hard day hiking OR a couple of nights on the trail.

Has anyone done the loop from Bandy CG out Fall Branch to the Muir Trail to Laurel Fork to West Entrance back to Bandy lately? This is Loop 1 in the Deaver book on page 227. Logistically, I'd probably hike it in reverse to have campsites hit where I need them.

On the map & descriptions, it looks like some parts are pretty hard & some parts are pretty easy & lots of creek crossings and maybe some navigational challenges with other trails overlapping etc.

Just wanted to know general impressions of the loop---is navigation that hard these days, is scenery as good as I'm assuming, other considerations?


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 26 2014, 10:12 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i've done Laurel Fork --great trail, with great creekside campsites. do you GPS? gimme a holler if you want my GPS data for reference.

i did the lower Laurel Fork as a loop out of Bandy Creek with Station Camp and Blackhouse Branch. Blackhouse was also a nice stretch of trail... Station Camp was a little less pretty. it has some pretty rotten, horse-destroyed sections.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2014, 11:54 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I knew you'd have done this area, ashepabst! I have a very, very old GPS unit that doesn't seem to receive signal through tree leaves, so I don't do the GPS thing.

Seeing Laurel Fork was the reason for picking this loop, so glad to hear it's nice.

I've been dealing with tendonitis in one of my legs this season, and it's gotten a little worse the last couple of weeks. It's not terrible, but could be enough to make me favor a day pack over an overnight pack. However the leg is doing at trip time will determine whether I hit this loop or just car camp day hike some other stuff (maybe Rock Creek or Hidden Passage). I think I have some no-lose choices.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2014, 3:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

both Rock Creek and Hidden Passage are good choices. Rock Creek is all creek hike, Hidden Passage is mostly a ridge hike. also, i Maude's Crack is a really cool feature if you've never seen it. think Stone Door but much more rugged.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 27 2014, 5:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Cool---good to know I'm picked good ones.

Anyone ever car camped at Pickett State Park? I've camped at Bandy before, so I know it's really nice. If I end up day hiking, it may make more sense to camp closer to the trails if camping at Pickett is comparable.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 28 2014, 4:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Hidden Passage Trailhead is really close to the Pickett Entrance. i got my permit there when i did that loop. i haven't been there otherwise since i was a kid, though. i know they have several impressive natural bridges.

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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 29 2014, 9:23 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

The Hidden Passage trail use to be the Southern Terminus of the Sheltowee Trace but that has moved. There is a parking lot at the trailhead.
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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 29 2014, 3:21 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Looks like I'll probably be car camping and day hiking this trip--not my first choice, but it'll be easier on my leg.

Does anyone know if that road that splits off of Divide Road to go up to the Rock Creek TH is in decent shape these days?

Sounds from the posts above like the Hidden Passage TH will be easy to find. Thanks ashe & Ewker.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 30 2014, 6:20 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(schlanky @ Apr. 29 2014, 3:21 pm)
QUOTE
Does anyone know if that road that splits off of Divide Road to go up to the Rock Creek TH is in decent shape these days?

Last time I was on that road was November 2012; I was out Divide Road to Terry Cemetery Trailhead in September 2013. Divide Road is in great condition and any passenger sedan is fine. Terry Cemetery Road and the road to Rock Creek TH have always been passable in a standard passenger sedan in my experience, but some spots you have to really slow down and/or maneuver to avoid small washouts.

That said, given the rough winter in the Southeast and heavy spring rains I would definitely call the park office down there and ask them for info on road conditions.

Chances are you'll be fine in any vehicle, but it never hurts to ask.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 30 2014, 8:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

if you wanna cut out the gravel road section, that piece of the John Muir Trail, from highway 154 out to the Rock Creek Loop is a very nice stretch of trail... if you don't mind the extra mileage you can do the loop as a lolipop route

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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2014, 10:28 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I was kinda weighing up whether it would be worth the extra mileage on Muir or Coffee Trail to be able to skip the gravel roads.  Looks like I'll have some time to mull it over though. My co-worker with an office right next to mine has been sick all week, and I woke up with it today. :angry:   My plan was to leave tomorrow morning. Looks like I'm pushing it back a week or two.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 02 2014, 1:57 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I should be setting up camp at Bandy right now, but instead I'm sitting in Birmingham feeling like I got hit by a truck & all hopped up on decongestants. This cold took hold very quickly.

On the bright side, with help from you folks, I have a good 2 night loop and a car camp/day hike trip planned out for BSF. And maybe by the time I'm over this @#$% cold and can get another long weekend, the bum leg will be good enough for the overnight pack.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 02 2014, 3:14 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

ah, that's a bummer man. i hate it when coworkers bring their germs to work... not cool.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 19 2014, 5:19 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Finally made it to BSF this past weekend. I arrived at Bandy CG at about noon on Friday. It rained off and on all afternoon (even had a short period of small hail). I'd planned a short hike near Bandy for Friday afternoon, but after a long drive and dicey weather and  being tired from a brutal week of work, I opted to laze about in camp instead.

Saturday, I took the Muir Trail from Hwy 154 to pick up the Rock Creek Loop. That was one gorgeous hike. Thanks ashepabst for the suggestion of starting from that TH. The portion of Muir before hitting the loop was some tough walking in spots, but it was worth the added mileage. I spotted a couple of campsites on the loop that made me sorry I was day hiking.

Sunday, I hiked Hidden Passage Loop. Well into the loop, I spotted a bird of some sort flailing around in the middle of the trail. I thought it may have been injured and inched closer to determine what it was.  I soon learned exactly what it was when a supremely annoyed mama turkey came out of nowhere and bluff charged me. There was sqawking and wings a-flapping to distract me as four or five other babies that I hadn't previously noticed all scurried away in every direction.

I backed away from the baby and gave them all time to find cover--they were all pretty clumsy, like little wild turkeys that had too much Wild Turkey.

Mama stood a ways up the trail, dead still and eyeing me. After a few seconds, she walked up the trail away from me. She ducked out of my sight, made a couple of calls, then walked back out into the middle of the trail and eyed me again. I took a few steps forward, then she moved up the trail and repeated the process of stopping, getting out of my vision, calling a couple of times, then coming back into the middle of the trail and continuing on. She was headed the direction I needed to go, and  I was more than happy to be led away from the nest area.

After following her down the trail a good bit, she sped up and quickly turned off the trail. I heard her circle back around me as I continued. I'd never seen a poult up close before. Apparently they were just learning to walk.

All in all, everything was lush and green, and made for two very enjoyable days of walking.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 19 2014, 5:30 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

QUOTE
It rained off and on all afternoon (even had a short period of small hail).




likewise--I had hail up on hooper bald and it got quite chilly at night.....glad I went home and switched from the summer gear to winter gear just in case....

glad you had a good trip....

BSF is on my long list of places to go......
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PostIcon Posted on: May 27 2014, 3:04 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

i had a good laugh with your turkey story. surely some of the most terrifying split-seconds of my life have been grouse encounters --that brief moment of booming drumming noise hurtling at your head from a blind spot ...and it turns out to be a just a little bird.

anyway, it's good to hear you had a nice trip. how'd your tendonitis hold up? did you see that giant fallen hemlock that's essentially daming Rock Creek near the first crossing (coming from the highway). i was thinking i was gonna have to swim across until i noticed that the hemlock made for a nice bridge.


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PostIcon Posted on: May 27 2014, 4:05 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Luckily, the turkey wasn't nearly as aggressive as the grouse I ran into in the Smokies a few years ago. The turkey made me jump, but that grouse about had me running.

I missed the turn for that hemlock crossing at first and ended up farther downstream in a spot to cross that just didn't look like it was correct, so I backtracked and spotted the hemlock crossing (then figured out the usual crossing was upstream from there). The tree was wet & slick. I made it across fine on the way out, but just about took an involuntary swim on the way back.

Pretty close to where Muir hits the loop, there was a short mudslide area that went all the way down to the creek. Maintainers had cut in steps, but it was pretty soft & slick. Gorgeous scenery for the entire day though.

The tendonitis started bothering me on Rock Creek Loop. I stopped for a snack and popped a few ibuprofens and it was great the rest of the day. Not having the overnight pack was a big help. Unless I decide to hit something at high elevation in July or August, I think I'm going to give my legs a rest until fall and try to knock this tendonitis out.  Doctor told me in March that I was fine to finish out the season, but told me to take it easy over the summer. After all the miles I've driven the past few months, I'm ready for some time lazing around the house.

Has the new addition to your family arrived, ashepabst?


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PostIcon Posted on: May 27 2014, 4:59 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

well, here's to a quick recovery.

QUOTE
Pretty close to where Muir hits the loop, there was a short mudslide area that went all the way down to the creek. Maintainers had cut in steps, but it was pretty soft & slick. Gorgeous scenery for the entire day though.


i think i know what you're talking about. when i did Hidden Passage loop i headed down that aways to find a spot to camp on the creek... found a great spot right in between Thompson Creek and Rock Creek where they merge. on the Rock Creek side is a nasty mud slide that required some messy scrambling.

the baby's doing great! mommy and baby are happy and healthy. she's even letting us sleep some at night now-a-days. now we just need to work on her hiking form  ;-)


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PostIcon Posted on: May 27 2014, 5:24 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE


(ashepabst @ May 27 2014, 4:59 pm)
QUOTE
the baby's doing great! mommy and baby are happy and healthy. she's even letting us sleep some at night now-a-days. now we just need to work on her hiking form  ;-)

Glad to hear it! Congrats!

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