Sunday, October 04, 2009

God is in the house

this past weekend brought another glorious hike in the Smokies. George, Dave and i headed in from Cataloochee along the Caldwell Fork trail then up and around the Boogerman loop and on to campsite #41. after the previous week's deluge, we were all a little skittish about more rain. happily, we were only drizzled on about 11% of the time. Boogerman was a bit of a climb, but thankfully horses are not allowed. the contrast to Caldwell Fork's erosion and bogs was stark, especially in high incline areas.

campsite 41 is sprawling and peaceful. i pitched my tent cozy against the creek and slept deeply - wrapped in the soothing song of the water.

Saturday, Hollie's dinosaurs made an appearance at the campfire.

Hollie's dinosaurs

Dave took off early to knock out new miles. George and i followed him west on Caldwell Fork to Rough Fork then south up Rough Fork to Polls Gap. we saw signs that Dave was still ahead of us:

near the end of Rough Fork, we ran into a couple horseriders on Rough Fork with a Highlander worthy bottle of liquor. they also had a plastic bag carrying what appeared to be a burrito. turns out, they were heading out to bury a friend's ashes. [we raised Dickel in his honor that night.]

after chatting with the riders, George and i met back up with Dave at Hemphill Bald for a summit photo before splitting up again.

George, me and Dave at Hemphill Bald

George hiked with me out and back to McKee Branch to get me bonus new miles before heading down Double Gap back to 41. at the double gap trailhead, we stumbled across ne'er-do-wells Bill and Jack. while jawing with them, a black bear emerged on the trail behind us to sneak back off into the woods before a photo could be obtained. it was a profoundly spiritual and humbling experience. we were joined by Jerky Mike and Ricky Bobby in camp. that night, we had a wonderful time trying to move the Big Poplars:

drunk night hiking at its finest - we hug the poplar Jack, George and Ricky Bobby at the Big Poplars

Sunday morning we went off west out Caldwell Fork, east along Rough Fork, up Big Fork Ridge Trail and then back along the last section of Caldwell Fork to the truck. along the way, we stopped to enjoy the dulcet tones of elk in rut. Dave, George and i hit the Newport Rubys where our new favorite waitress assured us we smelled better than her childhood farm and then proceeded to heap abuse upon the boys.

Jerky Mike, Ricky Bobby, Jack, Bill, Dave, me and George

Jerky Mike, Ricky Bobby, Jack, Bill, Dave, me and George

final tally: roughly 35 miles in 2.5 days and another great time, had by all!

1 comment:

magnusmog said...

You look so well - the hiking must be doing you tons of good!