Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Father / Son Hike 2014

This year we were going to the Old Settlers trail again.  Yes, after a number of cancellations, we were going to do it.  Then the weather set in.  Heavy storm warnings for the second day of our hike.  We made an attempt to reschedule a day earlier, but they could not change our permit.  We headed over early anyway to make last minute changes if necessary.

After the arrival of Steve and Kathy, we started the heavy studying of the weather through several different sources.  We decided to stay with the original plan and do a day hike on Sunday.

Sunday morning we headed out to Tremont and did four miles up the Middle Prong Trail to Indian Flat Falls.  We ate lunch here and then headed back.  We even got to try out the poncho's which really worked well with what was to come. On the hike back I almost put my foot down on a large rattle snake.  Dad had already passed it on the right side of the trail.  I was walking on the left side. As we were driving out we picked up three backpackers from University of Michigan who had been out for their first backpack and had injuries.  We drove them back to their car at Elkmont.  They were happy campers to have a ride, which I am familiar with.

Our backpack started on Monday, leaving a car at the Gabes Mountain trailhead in Cosby, we started in Greenbrier.  We had 6 miles to campsite #33.  We had a doe cross close to the trail and then a buck came onto the trail by Dad and walked towards Steve and I.  The camera went wild only to catch a couple of pictures worth a damn. We passed the only two backpackers that we would see on the trail. It was a beautiful day with chimneys and rock walls to see.  We made it to camp with plenty of time to gather firewood for the evening fire.  There is a chimney in the campsite as well.

Sometime late in the evening the wind gusts began to blow.  Waking up to find the tarp flapping against the hammock a few times.  Sometime in the early morning the rain began.  We ended up eating breakfast under my tarp.  It stopped long enough to get packed up and then rained off and on, with on being more often.  We saw more history all along the trail.  The creek crossing got bigger and bigger.  It stopped long enough for us to have lunch and then cross Webb creek to find the barn.

The biggest crossing was of Indian Camp creek, which had a lot of flow and was deep.  We ended up going about one hundred feet upstream to find a place to cross which was only knee deep.  After crossing that it rained all the way to campsite #34 on Gabes Mountain trail.  This is a really nice campsite along Gabes Creek. We set up the tarp for dinner and drinks in the dark.  Sometime late in the night the rain stopped and the stars came out.  We were done with the rain.

The next morning we hiked out. There were lots of branches and trees down from the wind.  On the way out we saw a sight never seen.  A black cat was leading a couple up the trail.  When we asked the people about it, they said it was not their cat.  They thought it was the campground hosts cat.

With the Old Settlers trail finally done, we celebrated back at the Ponderosa with Pizza and drinks. We got in 22.4 miles.


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