Sunday, January 6, 2013

Big Island Loop

Pilot Wine Loop 1.6 miles
Big Island Loop 16
Pilot Wine Loop 1.6
Total Miles: 19.2

Lora and I headed to Big South Fork for an overnight hike.  We parked at the Station Camp East trailhead and hiked to the Big Island Loop from there.  We did this so that we would be on the river for a water source for that night.

Right off the bat, Lora found a wallet on the trail.  We figured it would be from a horse rider as there were about eight horse trailers in the parking lot.  When we got to the split for the Big Island Loop we met our first batch of horse riders and asked them if they knew the person we were looking for.  No, they did not know them.  We headed on.  The trail was muddy in places as any horse trail is.  The cold temperatures from the night before kept the mud hard and the puddles were frozen over.  We passed a couple of hunters that were hanging out at their van on Big Island road.  They didn't have any luck with deer hunting.

The trail swings around and meets the road again at the dead end.  We met the same group of horse riders at the dead end.  They headed out and we started the decent down to the river.  We took a break at the Big Island Crossing.  That trail was pretty much a creek and we took it down to the river.  It looked a little too deep to ford this time of year.  It started sleeting on us here and we hiked on.

Not far down the trail we had two other horses pass us and neither one of them looked like the ID in the wallet.  Soon afterwards two horses came toward us and both of them were looking on the trail.  One happened to be the guy we were looking for and he sure was happy to see us.  We found out that he was part of the first group that we met, but the guy went by his middle name not his first name.  He was part of a group of eighteen which we met at the Burke cabin, which is an old cabin that they keep in good repair and is used on a regular basis.  It has two bedrooms and a large loft along with a main room with a fire place.  The horse riders really wanted us to stay there for the night.  They said it was the best place on the river to stay.  They just don't understand backpackers.  We hiked on.

We played tag with the riders again before we stopped for the night.  We were just shy of Station Camp crossing.  We set up on the side of the river and enjoyed a peaceful evening by the fire.  Late into the night we got to hear the owls talking. 

The next morning we went about a quarter of a mile to Station Camp and checked out the crossing there.  It too is way under water.  Then we did the climb back to the top of the plateau.  At the Slaven Cemetery we walked to the road and went to the Chimney Rocks which are right by the cemetery and beside the road.  Two really cool rock formations.  After that we got back on the trail.  The trails crosses Station Camp Road and then Big Island Road.  Lots of rock formations to look at.  We passed by the Indian Rock House, which is a really cool place to visit, because we had just visited it last hike here.  From here we hiked on to the car.  The mud had thawed which made it more interesting.

Another great overnight hike at the Big South Fork.


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