Thursday, August 1, 2013
Start: Whigg Meadow | Finish: Brookshire Creek | Miles: 14.3 | Total: 141.9
A good day, overall! Spirits lifted after yesterday’s perfect storm of misery.
It was still rainy, if not raining, when I woke. With no breakfast or coffee, yet no motivation either, I managed to be on-trail at 8:00. My plan was to stop at the next decent looking camp site with water, and have last night’s dinner. That ended up being 6 miles – 11:00 AM. So I made it a long 2 hour hot lunch.
The hike down from Whigg Meadow (at 5000′, the 3rd highest point on the BMT and the highest outside the Smokies) started off wet and foggy, but got better the lower I decended. The trail started as an FSR then branched off on to an OLR*. Neither was overgrown, thankfully. The lunch spot was on the roaroing & scenic Tellico River. During the lunch break the sun came out, and it stayed nice the rest of the day, though quite windy at camp as I write this.
After lunch I passed the Tellico Fish Hatchery and a picnic area on a paved road. With bathrooms!. The trail then ascended Sugar Mountain. This area – both sides of the mountain – was part of a controlled burn forest management area. It had been burned more recently than the Tapoco section – or they do not have the mutant cockroach strain of blackberries here – so the ground was minimally decorated in a green & black scheme. Think Monster Energy Kawasaki.
Over Sugar Mountain, down the other side, all on good trails or OLR. Then a left turn on to, and a nice climb along Brookshire Creek, following a trail of litter left by some horse packers who were ahead of me. The guide book says “various camp sites” along here. To me this would mean a tent-sized flat spot and a fire ring, at least. Not able to spot either, I have stealth-hammocked on a slope in a clear burned area about where the camp sites were said to be. I am glad to be in a hammock. Spots like these are ample for hammock campers, but a tent camper would have far fewer options in this situation.
I did see two wild boars today, as well as two large turkeys in flight. Amazingly HUGE birds, with their wings out. The boars do NOT look like anything you would want to tangle with! Imagine the beast you would get if you crossed a Pit Bull with a Bison. Add tusks. Fortunately they were running away, whenever I spotted one.
- FSR – Forest Service Road – Graded gravel road, sometimes maintained, sometimes overgrown. Drive-able with pickup truck or better
- OLR – Old Logging Road – Older, narrower, steeper, rougher than the FSR, usually long abandoned, but still identifiable as a former vehicle road. Would require a off-road vehicle today.