16 Days with the Cranberries Trip 143
Trip 143 begins by having Little Mitten drop me off at Beech Gap in Tennessee in the Citico wilderness. There's snow, boys.
March 8-23 2013
** 16 DAYS IN THE CITICO/SLICKROCK
** BEECH GAP IN THE SNOW
** WITH HOPPIN JOHN ON THE BOB
** THE RESCUED COUPLE FROM TRIP 137
** OUT OF THE WIND IN LITTLE COVE CAMP WITH HOPPIN JOHN
** DAVID'S CRANBERRIES IN THE WEDGE
** HYENA WINDSTORM IN BARREL GAP
** CAMPING IN NAKED GROUND WITH IAN AND KIM'S CRANBERRIES
** MEETING CHAD AND HIS GROUP
** MEETING GREG MILLER ON 54A
** WINDSTORM ON FOUR MILE RIDGE
** ON SLICKROCK CREEK WITH IAN AND KIM AT WILDCAT FALLS AND GREG MILLER AT NICHOLS COVE
** THUNDERSTORM AT CROWDERS HORSE CAMP
** BMT THRUHIKERS FLUGELHORN AND HOLLYWOOD
** SNOWSTORM IN COLD SPRING GAP
Four Mile Ridge
Four Mile Ridge
**Mighty Oak Camp**
Four Mile Ridge
**Little West Camp**
Big Stack Gap
**Crowders Horse Camp**
Skyway Roadwalk-Truck Hitch
Skyway Roadwalk-Indian Boundary and OUT
Entrance at Beech Gap
CAMP Cold Gap
GOAT YOGURT AND WAFFLES
March is Cranberry month but it's not the kind you eat but the school that comes out once a year for a 10 day wilderness trek thru the Citico/Slickrock. I'm out a couple days before their arrival as Little Mitten and Zoe Dog dropped me off in the snow at Beech Gap and I said goodbye and immediately started postholing down the trail to Cold Spring Gap where I set up the tent and devour a 6oz tub of vanilla goat yogurt with a couple frozen-now-thawed whole grain waffles. It's a good combo!
Snow depths have been all over the map from 1 inch in sunny spots to 18 inch drifts. It's slow going but easy enough as I'll save the hike up to the Bob for tomorrow at which time I expect to see fellow Hilleberg fanatic Hoppin John with his new Kaitum tunnel. I'll give the snow 24 hours to melt so my 1,000 foot climb to the Bob won't be so hard.
BOOKS AND BOOK ROLLS
There's one book and 7 book rolls. The book is "The Lakotas and the Black Hills: The Struggle for Sacred Ground" by Jeffrey Ostler, Penguin Books, 2010. The 7 rolls are wildly varied. The Black Hills book could be subtitled "Gutzon Borglum and the Rape of the Mountain". How the hell did Borglum ever get permission to destroy a mountain side? Maybe he was bored and glum. The earliest evidence of Lakotas in the Black Hills is from the mid 1600's.
NIGHT COMES TO THE CITICO
It's time to sit back in the tent and cook sweet potato soup so it sits in the cozy doing its thing as the tent gets cold and the ground returns to the frozen state. There's plenty of snow all around and there are patches of heated bare ground too so the climb up to the Bob tomorrow won't be impossible. The drifts are the worst of it but who cares and who's counting? As soon as the buttery soup is ready I'll put down the pen and continue reading old threads from Bushcraft USA. This one is called "Clothing for Winter Hiking". The Bushcraft folk tend to favor BDU pants and Woolrich shirts and one guy likes his flannel lined blue jeans which reminds me of an old pair I used to wear at the tipi.
It's okay to wear cotton in the winter in a tipi cuz you have woodheat but it's a big no no on a backpacking trip. You know these guys aren't backpackers when they recommend Carhart canvas jackets. The next thread is called "Your Extended Backpacking Stove". Right off the bat people mention the Trangia wood burning stove, the MSR Whisperlite International and the Esbit stove. One guy mentions Sgt Rock doing a test on alcohol stoves and says he prefers his Simmerlite, the same one in my kit. Others---
** Bush Buddy.
** Svea 123.
** Pocket Rocket.
** Old Optimus.
** Status Trail Stove (?)
** Nimblewill Nomad Little Dandy (?)
** Snow Peak Giga Power.
** Coleman Peak 1.
** Stainless Trail stove (?)
** Jet Boil.
** Emberlite (?)
** Soto Micro Regulator (?)
** Sierra Zip stove.
The next topic thread is "Down Bag Advice Please".
Two backpackers come in from Beech on a near midnight hike with a dog and they are from north of Knoxville and decide to keep hiking up to the Bob in the snow. They told me their names twice but like a pinhead motard I forgot both times. I told them to break trail for me and I'd see them tomorrow and I can get their names then. (They are Michael and Abbi and did a similar winter nighthike to Cold Gap when I was out on Trip 119 in Feb/2011. They also were the rescued couple on the Bob during Trip 138 in Sept/2012).
Raw almonds become a midnight snack but who can sleep with all the activity?
NEW FOODS AND NEW GEAR
I'm drinking a Naked strawberry/banana smoothie at 15.2 ozs and it's good. I already ate a bag of white grapes and some intricate fruit leather (pineapple/coconut juice base with almonds/almond butter and grapes).