It's easy to connect Pace Gap to the Big Creek/Yellow Stand Lead trails as all you have to do is a 2 mile roadwalk on FS 221.
DAY SIX TRIP 141
TRAIL Wolf Ridge/Pace Gap/FS Road 221/Yellow Stand Lead
CAMP Low Gap
PLAY OUT THE BELAY ROPE
I'm up at 5:30 to uncoil and play out the belay rope and in the process notice how dang cold it is and how much white frost there is on the inside of the tent fly. It's gotta be in the teens and I'll know as soon as I get the Chattanooga weather report. Problem is, the dang radio stations won't play a single wee'tard report so there's no telling what the current temp is in my locale but there's no way I'll return to bringing the yellow Sangean weather radio as I've had 2 in the last couple years and they both failed me terribly while in the field and I've written a few screeds with pics on the things. No, I'm back with the black Sangean DT-200 X which seems to be better built without the flaws of the yellow DT-400WX.
MORNING SUN WITH MORNING TEA
I start the day with hot tea. I have a couple days of sun and so it's a good time to move.
I told Randy I'd call him today and after 3 tries I got a call out before shoving off and it turns out he's coming in tomorrow and driving up FS 221 to the Wolf Ridge trailhead at Pace Gap so I decide to complete the Wolf trail today and do a roadwalk to the Big Creek trailhead and find a place there maybe to camp---or do the Yellow Stand Lead trail. Either one will have water as Wolf is bone dry except for those coming up may find water down Grassy Gap and then will be able to camp in Curbow Fields further up before summitting the Frog. Randy's goal is to camp somewhere on Wolf and reach the Frog by Wednesday, my Day 8. If I go to Big Creek I'll backtrack in the morning on the roadwalk and either see him drive in (though he may come a different direction) or meet him on the trail. If I find a fantastic campsite at the end of this trail with water then I'll just stay put and wait. Either way I'll see his car at Pace Gap.
PACE GAP AND YELLOW STAND LEAD
Wolf Ridge got me down to FS 221 at Pace Gap so I did the roadwalk to a low valley camping area which is the trailhead for both Big Creek with a bulletin kiosk and Yellow Stand Lead which is blocked by an orange bar gate and which has its kiosk several hundred yards further. I decided to take Yellow Stand up to Low Gap where I hope to stay as I hear there's water and a good campsite. I'm sitting past the wilderness sign on a narrow section of trail with a steep fall off and a great view of the Frog and Wolf Ridge and god knows what else. Probably the Cohutta.
7.7 MILE HIKE
Depending on the Pace Gap roadwalk I hiked either 7.7 or 8 miles.
LOW GAP IS THE NAKED GROUND OF THE BIG FROG
It's the main nexus of trails in the Frog and so many backpackers will pass thru it when climbing up the mountain. My route today included 3 main trails---Wolf Ridge, Pace Gap 221 roadwalk and the whole of Yellow Stand trail. Before reaching my campsite in Low Gap I passed a lively spring and then in the gap I found a real creek a hundred yards down the west hillside where I cleared a path of sorts for a possible morning water run. Wolf Ridge trail is just like Flats Mt in the Citico and Yellow Stand ain't much different---old scrub pine woods with few camping spots.
In January these kind of trails are tolerable, in July and August they're hellish and hot. Tomorrow I will finish the upper 1.3 mile part of the Big Frog trail as it climbs 900 feet to Fork Ridge jct where I passed on Day 4 because in order to meet Randy I need to get to the top of the Frog and return down Wolf Ridge for a meet up. So actually tomorrow will be a loop over the mountain and down and if I go slow we'll run into each other.
I would mention the football game but after 6 weeks it's a non-starter. Poor Notre Dame, welcome to the SEC.
Raw pecans get nibbled cuz I'm a rodent as a big windstorm hits Low Gap so I have to go out at 11:30pm to bolt down the tent with 14 pegs with 2 left in reserve. To be lazy and let a tent get walloped just because you don't want to go out in a cold wind is newb idiocy as it just has to be done. And yes it's a cold wind and tough to endure in my merino pajamas.