Uncle Fungus likes this spot.
DAY TWELVE TRIP 142
TRAIL Wolf Ridge/Grassy Gap/Big Creek
CAMP Big Creek Low Camp
IT'S COLD BOYS
What can I say? There's a biting wind across Nut Jct but luckily if you stay in the tent you'll be warm and safe. Total trip miles looks to be 70.
The sun hits the tent at 9 in the morning and so a good plan is up and running---to pack slowly after hot tea and going down .7 mile to the Grassy Gap trail and taking it 2.3 miles to Big Creek trail and taking it at least 1.5 to 2.3 miles down until I reach tonight's camp by the creek. Tomorrow rain is headed my way so it could turn into another struggle to reach Frog Mt for the weekend but we'll see. At least I'll be situated at Low Gap methinks to get out on the Rough Creek and West Fork trails.
Let's face it, the Frog is just as empty of backpackers as the Citico/Slickrock even though it's much closer to the air traffic control center called Chattanooga. Where are all the Chatty backpackers? Ya got me.
FOUR BAG POT
Okay, it's 2 bags nettle and 2 bags peppermint with a dollop of honey. Excellante!
I hiked the Gap trail just once and towards the end I was in no mood to look around at the landscape or the features or even for potential campsites. This time around I have blue skies and a full day in cool temps to scoot slowly down the trail to points wherever. I'd really like to explore the small level platform I saw on one creek wash and then spend some time in the nexus of trails in the middle where Grassy cuts thru the Big Creek trail. I won't be going up Big Creek---a trail still not humped---but instead will be turning left and going down it for some neato visuals and potential camps. Don't wanna go too far though as then I'd be in the valley of kiosks on FS 221.
FIFTH CREEK FROM WOLF RIDGE
EMAIL TO HOOTYHOO
"I found the campsite you mentioned on the Grassy Gap trail and next to Penitentiary Branch about 50 yards down the creek on the left bank and I see it's big enough for my Keron tent. Wow! Counting Penit Branch there are 5 creeks going to Wolf Ridge and this is good to know because on the 5th you can load up on water to camp either at Nut Jct or Curbow Fields. The last time I backpacked Grassy I loaded up my full liters here at Penit Branch and ended up humping them too far to Nut Jct needlessly. Anyway, Grassy Gap is now my new favorite trail especially in winter."
My next stop is Big Creek jct where the Grassy trail crosses the Big Creek trail. I could go on to Low Gap or that neato Grassy Gap campsite close to Low Gap but instead I hope to take Big Creek down to the first best campsite I see. Okay boys, just read the email to see what's up. I love old Grassy!
I guess there's no better name for the jct of Grassy with Big Creek than Peavine Gap. I finally made it to the gap but there are no camping spots here unless you hammock. I see the Big Creek trail going faintly up and going faintly down right into a nasty blowdown and that's my route after I rest. I must tabulate the crossings and stop at the first decent campsite I find though I could lose alot of elevation before this happens. It's a new trail for me so wish me luck. I find the old "gap" trailsign on the ground and it's garbled.
CRAPPY BIG CREEK CAMP
If I die tonight it'll be because this crappy campsite is towered over by a giant completely dead hemlock tree by the tent door and another dead tree by the foot so I may be dead before morning. The Big Creek trail is awesome and I found a perfect camp next to the Peter Camp Creek crossing but I had to push on to make sure I had no Big Creek crossings ahead so I hiked to the trailhead and the kiosk and turned around to come back here to a tiny slanted pull off-the-trail camp next to Big Creek and the only dang camp at the lower end. I thought the Big Creek trail would be like the Bald River trail with dozens of pretty pine needle campsites but I thought wrong.
Campsites are established but none of the upper ones are level. More exploration needed. And to really piss me off the ground here in camp would not take stakes because it's a dynamited old logging rut with rocks underneath. Most of the Big Frog and Cohutta is a dynamited mess and you'll know as soon as you try to place stakes. Tempit fug it, I move tomorrow to Low Gap.
PIANO AT ITS WORST
The radio harms my headspace with a terrible piano piece masquerading as "classical music" but it sounds like a 4th grader playing something right off the top of his head without coherent thought. The accented beats are near constant and want to punctuate mediocrity. Here, take that! It's something by Anderson and Roe with a Michael Jackson cover. Billie Jean maybe. Ugly! Very nasty. Let's shut it off and instead listen to God's music from Big Creek.
10 P.M. SYMPHONY
It's Big Creek with musical allure as I get up at tent to massage and drain the yelping hyena who looks at me with two sad brown eyes. The power of speech is lost as I squirm to get back into a warm tent while watching the glow of a something moon light up the forest and hope tomorrow gives me clear skies long enough to pounce on the trail out of here and time to climb Yellow Stand Lead up and ever up. What was lost today must be gained tomorrow but don't take my word for it, follow behind if you will and see the trail firsthand.