I like this shot as it shows my descent from Frog Mt to Low Gap where I take a break by the trailpost.
DAY TWELVE TRIP 141
TRAIL Big Frog
CAMP Frog Pond Camp
HIGH WINDS AND LIGHT RAIN
Well boys, the highest winds of the trip hit me atop Frog Mt and with them come the slapping patter of more rain and possibly the second round of rain after a 16 hour break with a sunny afternoon. I will move off the mountain today no matter what even if I have to pack in the rain and shoot for Low Gap on a section of the Big Frog trail I've never hiked. All I need is a window of a couple hours and I'll be gone. I'll be following horse damage the whole way so bite your tongue old Fungus and have at it.
85% of all children killed by guns in the world are killed here in the U.S. Here's an idea---for those clamoring to support the 2nd Amendment let's then really have a well-regulated militia. But even the experts on guns like the NRA doesn't want anything well regulated. If they did they would demand permits and licenses for every gun sale in the US---regulated---and this includes private sales and most definitely gun show sales. Doesn't the NRA even fights this? It's too late now anyway, the cat is out of the bag as 300,000,000 guns saturate the continent.
UH OH MORE RAIN
I wake up on Day 12 a Sunday to a new rainstorm passing over the Frog and so at 8:30 I sit in the tent and ponder my day. I promised you guys I'd pack and leave today but so far the precip won't stop as it slices against the tent in a new cycle of high winds and horizontal rain. What to do? Always sit put unless you have to move which only happens if you gotta catch a shuttle or gotta exit the trip to your car. My ride out doesn't happen for 7 more days so sob I'd be a fool to pack up a dry kit in this crap and move 4 miles for no real reason except to say I didn't zero out another day and say I moved.
I want to move but I don't have to move, an important distinction. The wee'tards say a big rain is to hit this afternoon and all thru tomorrow so I may be here another 2 days for a total, unbelievable 6 nights and 7 days and it's not even a blizzard. At least I can say I know what it's like to camp on Big Frog Mt though I still haven't seen any backpackers since Day 4 when the oatmeal twins breezed past my Tongue camp to camp up here. So no one in 8 days, just illicit horsemen and a partially crippled dayhiker. I should have hiked out of here yesterday when I had a good 6 hours of sun and blue but I wanted to hang and dry all my stuff and I wanted to wait for a possible Hootyhoo visit after I left him a message on Day 9.
BACKPACKERS PICK AND CHOOSE
It's too bad I have had no one to share this mountain with for the past 5 days but like the Citico there are scant backpackers in the winter and especially when the weather turns ugly. Very few backpackers would sit put like me cuz they have to come in on one day and get out a couple days later. No backpacker will plan a trip and drive to a trailhead and go out in the rain and set up several miles in and then sit put way past their planned exit date just to avoid hiking in the rain because most backpackers give an exit time to someone and generally can't deviate from this.
If they come out on a Friday and say they will be home Sunday but sit put till Thursday, well, get ready for a county wide search and rescue which is unnecessary and embarrassing. In the old days Daniel Boone or Lewis and Clark or Jim Colter or Jeremiah Johnson or Jedediah Smith went out and took 3 months to cross the mountains and no one knew where the hell they were or how to contact them and they themselves didn't fully know their locations or when they'd return. Nowadays we're all on very short leashes and in areas well mapped and tabulated and annotated with demarcations, waypoints and cell coverage. One day late and the Jedediahs of today are helicoptered, grid-located and their "balls cupped" by the nanny state.
Luckily there are still places in the TN and NC mountains where a person can disappear and never be found but you'll be guaranteed an all-out search for your troubles on the day after you're supposed return. Newbs may need this pacifier, old hands and trail hobos without family can stay out and even disappear into a ribcage and skull and no one will know or care until they find their remains. This is as it should be but can only happen if the guy has no one looking for him, a rarity unless he's a real hobo who's been in the forest for years.
"Whatever happened to old Tipi?" someone will ask 50 years from now. And if I disappear on a trip and never found they could rightly say, "Well, I think he's still roaming these mountains" even though I'd be 122 years old by then. So, it's better to keep it a mystery in a way instead of stroking out inside a walmart between trips and being stood and stepped over by redneck shoppers on the dog food aisle. Then there's no mystery. But this is all hogpee cuz no one wants to die in the woods all alone just to serve some fantasy reputation.
It hits hard against the tent so sit put, girls and boys, if you can wait it out and just hunker in.
4.1 MILE DAY
Or don't wait it out. After 5 days on the Frog I had to get the heck off it and take a trail unhiked---the Big Frog down to Low Gap and beyond to the Rough Creek jct by the pond. I really wanted to camp at the established campsite at the jct but both sites (with firepits) had very dead trees leaning right over each tentsite. I tried to bring down the smaller one, actually both, but no can do, so I found a safer spot 50 feet further on an old logging cut closer to the pond. Yes I found the pond and I even found a spot to put a tent on the dam above the pond. My camp is therefore called Frog Pond Camp. Of course I followed the same route of the horsemen and found orange and banana peels in a firepit on the Tongue and at my Frog north campsite of Day 4 and then a little down the trail I found a new candy bar wrapper. It's boringly predictable.
WELCOME TO A NEW RAIN
It comes at 8pm on Day 12 and hits camp with some gusto but I feel safe here off the mountain and near the Frog Pond on the Rough Creek trail. It's really coming down and a spider comes in the tent for relief. I dump him off in the vestibule and arrange all my gear in the vesti in case there's ground sheeting or lake effect. This is the hardest rain of the whole trip and should start up the 76 hour countdown again if I just didn't have the long break between bouts today. It allowed me to pack and hike but now we're back in the monsoon again. Thankfully there's 2 water sources here, the pond and a side creek across the path about a hundred yards back on the Big Frog trail.
A GOOD RAIN
It's good because it gave me 6 hours to hike today and then after getting all set up it returns at night to give me the Raven's Yard. I love the Raven's Yard. It soothes the twisted mind and the broken heart. I should be pretty mellow by now as I've had the Raven's Yard for the last 4 nights nonstop. Soon this rain will turn very cold but not snow and yet I sit in my baselayer tops inside a warm tent. When the cold hits I'll let you know and I'll be back in geese.