Sunday, February 21, 2016

PilotWines Loop - Big South Fork

Three of my backpacking friends had agreed to go on a wintertime overnight with me (with disclaimers: not too cold, no ice/snowstorms/not too far away/ect.) This weekend looked promising. Other than the updates I was getting from Craig and the Outcasts from their trails.

We drove to Big South Fork, Station Camp East trailhead to hike the Pilot/Wines trail. The parking lot was full of trucks and horse trailers. We were hiking the trail counterclockwise. They all went the opposite direction maybe to the Big Island Loop. The trail was in fairly good condition after the rain/snow earlier in the week. Not too much mud. We got to see the Wilderness Resort cabins and stable on the border of the park; they have immediate access to trails from their cabins.  I was able to find Pilot Rock for the ladies to see. It really is impressive. We got to the river level and hiked up the creek to find a campsite out of the mud. There was plenty of firewood and a log to sit on by the campfire. It stayed cloudy thru the evening but we did see the moon shining thru.

Sometime thru the night, it rained a little, then the thunder woke us up at daylight. We got packed up and started cooking breakfast under my tarp when Nancy’s fuel canister rolled down the bank into the creek. I ran down to the crossing to try and catch it. It got stuck between a rock and a hard place, so I grabbed it.

We headed out to cross the creek, sprinkles came and went. We got to the Dome Rockhouse and had a snack in the dry. When we got to the car all the horse trailers had disappeared, I guess horses don’t like rainy days. Just as we were loading up, the rain came down. Good timing! We stopped at the Hitching Post for something to drink and talked with the owner and his companions. You can’t get permits here for overnight backpacks anymore. The park service has an online option or at the Visitor Centers. It was really handy to get them here in case you weren’t going into the visitor center areas. He also runs a lodge in case you need a place to stay.

We got to the Cracker Barrel to the other car and during swap over Amy noticed her poles were missing. She had left them in the Station Camp parking lot while changing shoes. After a quick call to the Visitor Center, the Ranger told her he would check it out when he got off work. Hope he finds them so she can get them back.

Thank you to my adventurous backpacking friends for agreeing to a February backpack J


  1. From the photo, Amy has aged considerably and let her hair grow out quite a bit. Nora Beck

  2. I would like to ask you a question about the location of Pilot Rock. Is there a way to contact you to get more specific information on this hike?

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    2. As you are heading to the river and drop down to pass the large rocks, after to pass the rocks continue straight on the trail. When the trail drops the second time to the right, go straight ahead on a very faded trail. Pilot rock is not far down that trail. You will dead into it.