Meeting Silverwind and Tulip BMT Thruhikers Trip 58
TRIP 58 April 2006
** Flat Tire Rescue in Warden's Field
** Camping with Ken Jones and the Crosscut Mountain Boys
** Meeting Silverwing and Tulip BMT Thruhikers
North Fork--+Camp 9 Gravel+--North Fork--+Snow Camp+--Fodderstack--+Crowders+--Fodderstack--Stiffknee--Slickrock--+Slisgah+--Ike Branch--Yellowhammer--Nichols Cove--Slickrock Creek--+Burnthouse Camp+--Nutbuster 13th--+Naked Ground+--Four Mile Ridge--South Lead--+Elysium Fields+--South Lead--Big Fat--Slickrock Creek--Big Stack Gap--+Crowders+--Fodderstack--Pine Ridge and OUT.
Trip 58 is another trip into the Citico/Slickrock but this time it is BMT related as I meet Ken Jones, one of the most dedicated BMT trail workers. I also meet Silverwing and Tulip who are misdirected on the Slickrock trail as they try to figure out the location of the BMT.
JOURNAL TRIP 58
ON THE NORTH FORK CITICO TRAIL: Some trips start all awkward and delayed, arriving at the trailhead but then there's a detour before the hike can begin. So begins Trip 58. I got to Warden's Field and as soon as I pulled in a young woman ran up to my car and flagged me down to tell me her husband, her baby and herself were stranded with a flat tire after a weekend of car camping. I parked and looked at the wheel and noted they had no spare so the 7 of us piled into the truck(3 dogs and 4 humans), and I drove them up to Indian Boundary campground where after a series of radio dispatches and telephone calls I left the Maryville couple with a camp hostess and a forest ranger. Eventually some friends will arrive with another tire and they'll get back home.
I left the lake area and retraced my path back down to the Fields where I geared up a heavy pack and proceeded to the high water of the North Fork trail where I sit now after the 7th crossing. My goal today is to find a suitable tentsite after the 9th ford as the water is up and I hear more rain is coming tomorrow. Le me say this: The 5th crossing was rough and deep, it came up to my sleeping bag compartment of my pack and of course soaked my shorts and t-shirt past the belly button, it was fast moving and high, dangit! I've got 2 more crossings and we'll see how we're doing. My lunch is almost over at the 7th campsite so scratch one Knudsen soda and a burrito. The sun is bright in a blue sky with the bright green tree leaves of spring adding new colors to the usual winter's barrenness.
OVERNIGHT AT #9 GRAVEL CAMP: I crossed the last 2 deep and difficult crossings and I sit now at a new camp for me, the Gravel Camp which is of course 2 crossings past Camp 7. It isn't the prettiest camp in the world but it does have advantages such as being safe from floods, near the sound of water and level. I'm settled in with the stove cooking up a supper of black bean soup, it's aboilin'!
Ok, night comes slowly to my first camp as I relax on my orange Prolite 4 thermarest and prepare to be enveloped by the waning day's darkness. My two books on this journey are Krakauer's 'INTO THIN AIR" and "ARTIC SURVIVAL" by Clint Willis.
The winter chill is gone from the air though it is comfortably cool as I'm dressed in a silk turtleneck and wool long john bottoms. Tomorrow I hope to leave this site and hoof it steeply up to the ridge whilst passing delectable ramps and then south a bit to Snow Camp so tomorrow will be an adventurous climb past the blue rocks, Goat Falls, the rock ledge camp and the seriously meandering trail as it passes thru low hanging rhodo up to an open bowl and out. I will look diligently for tentsites on this trail as it climbs thru the woods, there are some higher ones than this but I've never stayed at them.
Somewhere in the mix it becomes futile to use the highest camps as by then I'm nearly at the top. There's one in particular I've always wanted to stay at, it's high up in the open bowl and not too far from water. It's just a tiny level patch right on the trail but it feels wild and it reminds me of someplace by Snake Mt in North Carolina.
north fork citicostaika