On The BMT To Unicoi Gap Trip 47
TRIP 47 June 2005
** First Benton MacKaye to Unicoi Gap
** On the State Line Trail
Bald River--+Cascade Winter Camp+--Bald River--Holly Flats Road--Kirkland Creek--Sandy Gap--+Six Mile Gap Camp+--BMT South--Tate Gap--Unicoi Gap--+Camp Rolling Stone(CCC)+--BMT North--Sandy Gap--State Line Trail--+Moss Gap+--State Line--Brookshire--+Horse Camp+--Brookshire--Holly Flats Road--Bald River--+Big Pine Camp+--Bald River and OUT.
Trip 47 is remarkable in that I take the Kirkland trail up to Sandy Gap and explore the new BMT to Unicoi Gap and across Peels High Top. Here I am resting on Day 2 of the trip at the Cascades.
JOURNAL TRIP 47
TRAIL Bald River
CAMP Cascade Winter Camp
This trip report is for all those folks who feel the need to backpack up a wild river valley with a full pack on a 7 day trek to explore creek and ridge trails along the Unicoi mountains but because of daily responsibilities can only read about it and not actually do it. I am sitting along the Bald River in Tennessee at the swimhole after seeing something not often seen.
THE COYOTE AND THE DEER
I saw a deer in the creek trying to run up the creek and looking along the far bank when suddenly a big coyote came down to the water's edge trying to corner the deer and stopped on a rock looking at the deer midriver. I barked and the coyote took off into the brush and the deer ran upstream whereupon Shunka took off wearing his heavy pack and immediately forded the creek and gave chase up the opposite bank. I continued walking and not long after he slogged up the trail wet and happy, glad to be a mild predator with the Big Dogs and hungry coyotes he shares this wilderness with.
As I walk the trail I notice intermittent trail work with cut brush, doghobble and laurel but 95% of all the tree trunk blowdowns remain. It is strange to see parts of the footbed dug out level and yet to find all the major blowdowns still uncut.
I am presently restIng at the Big Pine Camp where their is a tent space recently occupied as the ground is flat and the leaves mashed down. The snack is peanut butter and jelly sandwich made with genuine Amish strawberry jam. On this trip I brought some important comforts such as 2 books and many rolled up newspaper articles, a pocket radio with headphones(Coby), a large 35 square foot tent, candles and several maps to survey. The books I brought are "WALKING THE TRAIL OF TEARS" by Jerry Ellis, an old Isaac Asimov book on space and science, plus half of the US Navy Bluejacket Manual of 1941.
Ok, I went past the terrible blowdown that has been cut and I am now sitting inside my tent at the Cascade Winter Camp as a mean thunderstorm comes thru and scares Shunka and me into staying put and leaving the gnarly Kirkland trail for tomorrow or whenever this tumult has passed. All is therefore dry as I quickly erected the nylon lodge right before the storm hit.
We therefore be stylin' as a lightning blast hits nearby in a moderately heavy rain. The Light Wedge 2 tent is finally receiving its baptism of fluid and so far all seems well. A robotic voice on the radio says "Remember lightning is one of Nature's killers, seek shelter immediately", and I laughed hard for several seconds.
Night falls on Day 1 as I sit up by candle light listening to Bald River sing a song of serenity while I plan tomorrow's hike upriver to the Cascades, Holly Flats and the Kirkland Creek trail. I hope to get an early start and cover some ground before the daily thunderstorm comes in midafternoon.
bald rivercascadespack covers