Sunday, May 4, 2014

Easter weekend backpacking trip

Over the Easter weekend we headed off the ol' familiar and much beloved Hunt Fish Falls. As I was describing our pending outing to my intern (his idea of a good spring break is a solo backpacking trip in the Smokies), I had one of those middle-age moments when I realized that I've been coming to Hunt Fish Falls for 40 years.

We reached the trailhead about 3 PM on Good Friday and descended into the forest. Rain was forecast for later in the day so we booked down the trail and set up camp. The crossing rocks had washed away so we had to wade across the creek to the campsite. Here's some photos from our first day, pre-rain: 
Looking up the creek from the crossing, eh, fording place.
Taken from the same spot as the above photo, only looking downstream.  Note Edwin on the rock...

Up on the same rock. Tina looks downriver. Note all the fresh buds on the trees.

Somebody's idea of fun was to melt this liquor bottle in the fire.
Fresh greenery on top of the rock with the creek rushing below.

The campsite. Edwin's pitching the rain shelter.
We piled up the firewood. We started the fire around 6 or so, and it burned brightly until the heavy rain settled in around 9:30, when we retreated to our tents.
Fresh buds near the campsite.
The rain that started Friday evening continued, off and on, for about 30 hours. During the heavier rain we'd hunker under the rain tarp, but during most of the day Saturday the rain was light enough that basic rain gear kept me relatively dry. We hiked up to Timber Ridge above the campsite during the day, enjoying a 3 hour hike in a light rain. The cloud cover really brought the greens out, so the whole place was lush and verdant. I've heard it said that the Appalachian forests are, in some ways, akin to a temperate rain forest, and it certainly had that feel on Saturday. Here's some photos from that day.

Budding lily, getting ready to bloom.

Grandfather Mountain from the Timber Ridge trail.
Moss and running cedar on the moist forest floor.

Mossy, mossy rock.
Crested Dwarf Iris by the trailside.

Another Crested Dwarf Iris.
After 30 hours of intermittent rain, the sun came out Sunday morning and we were able to dry out our tents before heading up the trail. That gave us time to pull out the cameras during the lovely morning light.

Creek beside the campsite.
Dew covered creekside grass
Looking upstream from the campsite.

A lone PBR awaits a thirsty camper. We did not bring the PBR.

Water. Running downstream.
Campsite from an island in the stream.


we_be_toys said...

Gorgeous pictures, as always! Can't say that I would have made it through 30 hours of rain on a camping trip but I'm enormously chuffed that you guys did, because the pictures alone were worth it.

Bantering Bibliocrat said...

The rain wasn't that bad, mostly a gentle drizzle, especially during our hike. We were near the campsite and hunkered under the tarp when the rain picked up. The amazing thing is that, soaked as it was, we (mostly Edwin) got a roaring fire going Saturday night.