It always feels good to get packed up and to hit a new trail, this time the Grassy Gap which starts right behind me and to my right. Check out my Icebreaker merino tops.
DAY SEVEN TRIP 141
TRAIL Grassy Gap/Wolf Ridge
CAMP Nut Junction(Chestnut/Wolf Jct)
The wind continues across Peavine Ridge where Low Gap camp is located at around 2,430 feet. Today's plan is to take either Big Frog to the mountaintop or Grassy Gap across the contour hillside 1.3 miles to jct with Wolf Ridge in the hopes of meeting Randy somewhere on Wolf Ridge. I like the old trail names better than the new and the trailsigns stay with the old names so I'm sticking with them and using them here. The honchos have stopped using Chestnut Mt and chopped Wolf Ridge apart and made this section into Hemp Top. Problem is, the Hemp Top name is also shared with the trail leaving Big Frog and heading southeast to Double Springs and way beyond to Dally Gap so it gets confusing.
I like Wolf Ridge from Pace Gap all the way to the Frog and I like how Chestnut Mt drops to FS 62 and how that roadwalk will take you to Beech Bottoms and a straight shot to Jacks River trail and one crossing to Rice Camp or one crossing to Hickory Ridge or one crossing (?) to a great campsite near the Rough Ridge trailhead. My goal after leaving Randy is to take this route to Jacks Falls and go from there. Why not? The ultimate at-home plan was to reach Three Forks Mt and do a 3 mile FS 64 roadwalk to Betty Gap and take the Conasauga trail 18 crossings to Bray Field and go from their, either up Panther Branch or up Hickory Creek as I make my way north and out thru the Big Frog. Too ambitious? Maybe.
I could shorten it by hitting the falls and then going upstream to Penitentiary Branch and booking north on the BMT back to Double Springs and the Frog. We'll see what the rain schedule is and how far I feel like hiking. Winter creek crossings are always a problem especially when carrying weight. You just cannot afford to fall.
GRASSY GAP FINISHED!
I never thought I'd ever finish this 5 mile trail but here I am sitting at the end of the Grassy Gap trail where it jcts with the Wolf Ridge trail which Randy is on I hope. The last water hole ain't far back so for those on the Wolf trail who want to camp in Curbow Fields this jct would be the place to stop to throw off the gear for a .6 mile water run round trip. I have to say except for one nasty pine blowdown the whole of the Grassy Gap trail is awesomely maintained with no blowdowns and a nice cut bank. There's one slick as hell creek crossing which is tricky and the biggest creek crossing is Pententiary Branch which would be hell in high water but otherwise it's the easiest 5 mile trail in the Big Frog and certainly in the Citico/Slickrock.
Whoever thought up this contour trail did well as it's almost impossible to go 5 miles around here without some serious nutbuster climbs or numerous tricky river crossings like on the Jacks or Slickrock or Conasauga. Only the Bald River wilderness has such an easy trail. I have no idea where Randy could be---he's either still in Nashville or he's driving on the roads here or he's on foot and on the trail. If he's on the trail he's either below me or above me.
Yup, I'm famished so for lunch I'm eating a bag of cornbread made by Little Mitten's Mom and it has a can of cream corn in it and wow it's good. Also it's loaded with olive oil.
It's back up to Curbow Fields but I'll go slow for Randy's sake although he may set up camp somewhere below like on the old grassy logging road by the Wolf Ridge trailsign post.
CHESTNUT/WOLF JCT CAMP
I call it Nut Junction Camp. My goal was Curbow Gap but I couldn't make it with my water load so I dumped the pack at a dry camp where the Wolf Ridge trail jcts and switchbacks at the Chestnut Mt jct. Grassy Gap took it out of me for sure. Now all I have to do is clear a spot but I've been here before in May 2011 and camped right here on my summit bid of the Frog. I left Randy clear sign on the trail with a stick arrow and a little stick tipi. If he hammocks he can set up anywhere but if he has the Keron, well, there are only a few places suitable and I can name them off since I came down this trail a couple days ago and finished it at Pace Gap.
BTW, I found a great campsite on Grassy Gap trail with water nearby but it's close to Low Gap. I think I also saw a tentsite when crossing Penitentiary Branch although I didn't go down to check it out. It was a little table barely big enough for much of anything. Grassy Gap is a mountain side trail and so campsites are impossible to find but hey there's plenty of water. Now if I could just find a spring here on Wolf Ridge and in Curbow Gap.
NO COOK DINNER AND LATE NIGHT SNACK
The stove is stowed away this day because I don't have enough water to get me thru tonight and all day tomorrow or at least until I reach the Frog sometime tomorrow. I just didn't haul enough up from the last creek .3 of a mile down the Grassy Gap trail so I eat peanuts and take sips from my water jug. So far there's no sign of Randy as he's either down by his car or up ahead.
low gapheavy packsgeartipi walter