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JoeFred
03-24-2010, 09:13 PM
To what extent is bushwhacking permissible in the Smokies? As a kid camping in Chimneys GC, my parents made me and my kid brother afraid to even bend, much less whack:eek:, a bush.

I ask because I want to explore Porters Creek and some other streams in detail this year... mostly off the trails.

JF

spotlight
03-24-2010, 09:48 PM
Off trail can be done without destroying the forest it's best done real early spring when there are no leaves and less snakes too. Leave no trace when in the backcountry.

Crockett
03-25-2010, 01:01 AM
Bushwhacking is allowed no problem there. Like spotlight said it is easier in the winter and less chances of run ins with the snakes. Fred you may want to try and squeeze a trip in during the next couple of weeks before all the doghobble and stuff pops up then it can get tough. Don't know if you have ever been there but there is an interesting site http://www.griztrax.net that has all kinds of detailed accounts of bushwhacking trips off trail in the smokies. Another good blog with many off trail stories is Jenny Bennet's blog:
http://streamsandforests.wordpress.com/ you can go back in her archives and read all sorts of smokies off trail stuff going back to the 1980s.

Grannyknot
03-25-2010, 08:42 AM
JoeFred, many of those streams have old man-ways that will take you up the drainage to the ridgeline. In the area you mention, Porters Creek and Ramsay Cascades come to mind as having manways.

Be careful in doing so...remember that they had to do a Search & Rescue to find a hiker up on Porter's Moutain last year.

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/aug/30/missing-smokies-hiker-back-home/

There are also some park rules & regulations relating to off-trail hiking & camping. See page 10 under "Cross Country Camping", and the section showing manways that are closed (I think the Chimney Tops manway is the only one closed right now).
http://www.nps.gov/grsm/parkmgmt/upload/09-Compendium.pdf

Carlito
03-25-2010, 09:56 AM
I'd like to do more of that myself... Beware of rattlers in the summer. Seriously. When you get off the trail, especially near rivers (i.e. w/n 50 yards of the bank), you better expect to see them. I've never had one be aggressive towards me at all, but I see a lot of snakes in the park. I think you should be able to get about anywhere you want w/o having to do any chopping and hacking at the brush. What always amazes me is the ease with which wild animals move through brush that is basically a total blockade to humans.

JoelO
03-25-2010, 11:32 AM
This is probably a stupid question but what is the difference between a manway and a trail?

Grannyknot
03-25-2010, 11:48 AM
manways are no longer maintained by the park service. Most have never been maintained by the park service.

Carlito
03-25-2010, 02:01 PM
manways are no longer maintained by the park service. Most have never been maintained by the park service.

Does the Death March count as a manway even though it was labeled a trail? :smile:

Jim Casada
03-25-2010, 02:19 PM
I would add to Grannyknot's commentary on manways that many, perhaps most, of them were once used as wagon roads or were graded for logging railroads. There are hundreds of them, but with each passing year they revert more to nature, and many get precious little human use.
One good example would be the old Deep Creek trail, which involved 15 stream crossings. Unless you knew where it was, most sections cannot be found.
While the Park still contains rattlesnakes and copperheads, they are less numerous than was once the case. I think wild hogs are the explanation. I'm out and about a lot and my brother, an avid hiker, even more so. Between us we've seen exactly one poisonous snake in the last decade (in the Park). Outside the Park I've seen a bunch of them. Difference? Fewer wild hogs outside the Park, where they can be hunted.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

JoeFred
03-25-2010, 02:26 PM
JoeFred, many of those streams have old man-ways that will take you up the drainage to the ridgeline. In the area you mention, Porters Creek and Ramsay Cascades come to mind as having manways.

Be careful in doing so...remember that they had to do a Search & Rescue to find a hiker up on Porter's Moutain last year....


Grannyknot, thanks for the info and I will definitely heed your advice. If I don't regularly pause and remind myself about the size and complexity of the park I clearly have no business designing maps.

JF

Carlito
03-25-2010, 02:32 PM
I'm out and about a lot and my brother, an avid hiker, even more so. Between us we've seen exactly one poisonous snake in the last decade (in the Park). Outside the Park I've seen a bunch of them. Difference? Fewer wild hogs outside the Park, where they can be hunted.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Jim, I reckon I must be snake whisperer, because I still see them regularly. As I mentioned before, I fully expect to see one every time I go off trail or leave the stream bed.

Grannyknot
03-25-2010, 02:44 PM
Does the Death March count as a manway even though it was labeled a trail? :smile:

Parts of that trail were worse than any trail or manway I have ever been on. I can't believe we all made the ridgeline without bleeding shins considering none of us had gaiters or long pants on.

That was a great trip though and I'd do it again in a heartbeat.

Carlito
03-25-2010, 03:41 PM
I concur. That was the most miserable hike I've ever done, but I'd definitely do it again!

GrouseMan77
03-25-2010, 05:25 PM
I have enjoyed hearing of the "death march" adventure on several occasions. There would have to be some dang fine fishing at the end of the trail for me to partake.

Carlito
03-26-2010, 09:39 AM
I have enjoyed hearing of the "death march" adventure on several occasions. There would have to be some dang fine fishing at the end of the trail for me to partake.

The water looked really good, and I think most of us had fishing gear. Problem was that the hike was so strenuous that nobody had the energy to do anything but sit and drink whiskey by the time we got to our camp sites!

Grannyknot
03-26-2010, 10:20 AM
There were rainbows caught in the lower stretches...I have photo evidence somewhere. Problem was, when we got to the brook trout water, we all looked like hybrids between the hunchback of notre dame & a zombie.

flyred06
03-27-2010, 07:04 AM
I might sound dumb but once I was headed in below abrams falls when I ran into a pretty good size rattler. I had a guide with me and he was in front. He took his rod tip and just worked the snake off the trail and then we walked right by him with no incident. I always thought rattlers were more aggressive than that. However, my question is do any of you, or would I look stupid to wear snake gaiters when hiking into these areas. If you were down in abrams or deep creek or any of the more remote ares, would a snake bite not become fatal?

Jim Casada
03-27-2010, 07:58 AM
flyred06--First of all, something like 50 percent of snakebites from poisonous snakes are non-venomous or "dry" bites. That is to say, they do not inject venom. Second, unless you panic or there is some kind of extraordinarily rare circumstance, you aren't going to die from a bite from a rattler or copperhead (although you may be mighty sick and perhaps have some permanent tissue loss). Third, I guess gaiters are a matter of personal choice. Personally, I'm not going to wear them. I've probably had something like 100 encounters with poisonous snakes over the years, including two close ones when I was a boy. I respect them, watch for them, but don't let them interfere with where I want to go. It's probably no comfort, but they were far more plentiful (poisonous and non-poisonous) when I was a boy than they are today.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

silvercreek
03-27-2010, 08:31 AM
I'm not afraid of snakes. I used to enjoy catching the non poisonous ones when I was a boy. I have no where near your time in the woods, but have only had one encounter with a poisonous snake that concerned me. I was camping at Dale Hollow and was wading along the shore. The bank started getting steep, so I pulled myself up to a ledge to get out. As my head reached the level of the ledge, I found myself eyeball to eyeball with three copperheads about two feet from my face. I eased back down and got away from there. Someone posted a couple of pics on this or another forum of a rattler about head high in the bushes in the Smokys. That gives me the willies. Point is, pay attention to what's all around you. A snake bite to the head would be a bad story. Regards, Silvercreek

flyred06
03-27-2010, 11:05 AM
Thanks Jim. I am very ignorant about snakes. I do not like them at all. But I do feel better with that knowledge that you just shared.

knucklehead
03-28-2010, 10:12 PM
Being an avid snake finder and fly flinger, my favorite season is quickly approaching. even though I have very little experience in the park compared with Mr. Casada, my excursions in the park have led me to believe that snakes see us much more often than we see them.
Case in point: late last summer, i was watching a couple of fisher folk along the tremont road. they were both in the stream, wearing waders and within 10 feet of a good snake-sunnin' rock. I was about 20 yds away, across the stream, in the shade and out of fish-spookin range when i saw a nice sized n. water snake slither up on the rock, facing the two fisherman who weren't 10 feet away. I watched them all for a few minutes and after several casts were made I told them about their new friend. I thought that was one incredibly sneaky snake. out in the open and nearly unseen. imagine what's waiting where we can't see very well. another reason i take a hiking stick wherever I go in the park.

I'm not a professional nor have I ever been bitten by a venomous snake, but what i've seen and read about others' experiences leads me to believe rattler bites can be serious in a hurry. while most of the timber rattlers around here only have hemotoxin which acts on the blood and muscles, several specimens found elsewhere have been found to contain both hemo and neurotoxins, a concoction similar to, but not as strong as, some cobras. recently in field and stream, there was a brief story about a man who had supposedly received a dry bite. http://www.fieldandstream.com/articles/survival/close-calls/2010/03/close-call-fly-angler-bitten-rattlesnake

I wouldn't wish a rattler bite on anybody.
as far as copperheads, generally their venom is not as strong. according to what I belive is a credible web site, http://www.healthline.com/blogs/outdoor_health/2010/02/copperhead-snakebites.html , between 2000 and 2007, only one person, a 51 year old male, died from a copperhead bite. the other report on that site also found that coagulapothy(profuse bleeding) was not very frequent in copper bites, though it did happen some.

watch where you go and go. be aware of what could be there but as Mr. Casada pointed out, don't let the unknown deter your wanderings.

flyred06
03-28-2010, 10:54 PM
Here in alabama where some of us fish, we have the famous water moccasin or cotton mouth. These snakes are very aggressive. I know that first hand. I fish alot along the rivers around here where fallen trees and tall grass are always found. That is why I was thinking about chaps or gators as some are called.

Carlito
03-29-2010, 10:09 AM
Flyred, if you are wearing waders, you are gonna be just about as safe as you would be wearing chaps/gators. What is all boils down to is your comfort. I know there are snakes about, and I always look for them. Regardless, I don't feel unsafe at all clambering through brush, but I move easy and occasionally poke around w/ my rod to clear the path. If it makes you feel safer and less worried about it, definitely wear the chaps/gators. Nobody will tease you about it! ;)

JoeFred
04-02-2010, 08:29 AM
This week I experienced what others have reported... I walked past the marker for backcountry campsite 31 on Porters Creek Trail. It is hard to see... even in bright daylight.

The photo below shows the algae-covered marker and the campsite above the dry gulch in the background.
http://www.smokystreams.com/mbpics/cs31.jpg

The marker is on the right of the trail about 30 to 40 yards beyond the landmark pictured below.
http://www.smokystreams.com/mbpics/cs31approach.jpg
The log and two dead trees at the end of it are about 5 feet in diameter.

Be careful out there.

JF

$3Bridge
04-04-2010, 12:09 PM
[QUOTE=knucklehead;78687]Being an avid snake finder and fly flinger, my favorite season is quickly approaching. even though I have very little experience in the park compared with Mr. Casada, my excursions in the park have led me to believe that snakes see us much more often than we see them.
Case in point: late last summer, i was watching a couple of fisher folk along the tremont road. they were both in the stream, wearing waders and within 10 feet of a good snake-sunnin' rock. I was about 20 yds away, across the stream, in the shade and out of fish-spookin range when i saw a nice sized n. water snake slither up on the rock, facing the two fisherman who weren't 10 feet away. I watched them all for a few minutes and after several casts were made I told them about their new friend. I thought that was one incredibly sneaky snake. out in the open and nearly unseen. imagine what's waiting where we can't see very well. another reason i take a hiking stick wherever I go in the park.


It amazes me how numerous northern water snakes really are. I see them every time I fish the Little River, or up in Tremont. And sometimes they can surprise you how far they get from water. I was walking on the Abrams Falls trail one time, just happened to look to my left in some downed timber / brush. There were quite a few snakes in there just knotted up and taking in the sun that just happened to be making it thru the trees and leaves. This was a good 50 ft away from the stream itself. So that tells me they are more numerous than we probably would believe.

Younger Tom
05-03-2010, 09:41 AM
I'm going to try to steer this one back to bushwhacking. That cross-country camping is even permitted is new to me. In Rocky Mtn NP that had cross-country zones and you could reserve the entire zone, all of which was without trail access. It was awesome. Has anyone gotten a permit for cross country camping? I'm curious as to how picky & particular they are with those permits.

flyman
05-04-2010, 10:12 AM
I've never had a problem getting a permit for it, but the places i have ask for one are usually remote without many trails and campsites. I get one almost every year to fish a popular stream that has a good man-way you can follow to the park boundary where it flows into a lake. I almost never see anyone and it's only a couple miles from a gravel road. If I were in doubt I would email or call the reservation office to ask about a given area. I'd also have a plan B:smile:

PeteCz
05-04-2010, 10:46 AM
I never even realized that this existed in the Park, but given the restrictions there are only a few instances where it makes sense for fishing. It probably makes more sense in other parks (like RMNP) without the network of trails, etc...

Crosscountry camping (from the Park Compendium (http://www.nps.gov/grsm/parkmgmt/upload/09-Compendium.pdf))
Camping in the backcountry is permitted only at established backcountry sites, except as authorized by a cross-country permit. Cross-country permits may not be self-issued and must be approved by a Resource and Visitor Protection Division employee. Cross-country camping (at other than designated sites) is permitted under the following conditions:


The maximum party size is four persons. The use of horses or other stock is prohibited.
The campsite must be at least one-half mile from any designated trail, one mile from any designated road and 100 feet from the nearest surface water.
Camping in spruce-fir, beech gaps or on grassy or heath balds is prohibited.
The duration of stay at each location cannot exceed one night and the same location cannot be used a second time on the same trip.
Wood fires are prohibited.
Campers are required to obliterate all traces of human presence upon leaving a cross-country camp.
Camping locations for each night should be as closely pinpointed as possible using natural landmarks or map coordinates and so noted on the permit. Trips are expected to follow the designated itinerary as closely as possible.

Cross-country hiking is a special use and requires special equipment, training and/or experience. These regulations are an attempt to permit this special use, while minimizing the potential impact on natural resources.
(b)(3) Camping within 100 feet of a flowing stream, river or body of water is permitted only at designated front and backcountry campsites.
I can see that it would make sense if you fished one of the upper tributaries of streams like Hazel, Deep Creek, Fish Camp Prong, etc...It would have to be a half mile up the a tributary (to be away from a trail) and more than 100 feet from the stream...

Interesting...

Jim Casada
05-04-2010, 12:57 PM
Pete Cz--There are a number of places in the Park where this would be both viable and make sense. Examples which come immediately to mind, mainly because I camped in them long ago (I guess it was more or less legal, since my companion in each case was the son of a Park ranger, and he not only knew what we were doing but took us the trailhead from which we started:
(1) Straight Fork Creek upstream of the "Million-Dollar Bridge." There's no trail in the drainage above that point, except at the utmost headwaters
(2) The Left Fork of Deep Creek--Again, no trails serves this drainage, although the Fork Ridge Trail does run the main ridge between Right and Left Fork.
(3) The Three Forks area of Raven Fork. No trail serves the Park portion of Raven Fork at all except one that crosses it at the confluence of Enloe Creek.
There are lots of other examples--upper Bone Valley (Defeat and Desolation creeks area and similar situations in many of the smaller feeder streams on the Tennessee side. Not for the faint of heart and particularly not for the inexperienced.
Jim Casada

Rebelsoul
09-01-2010, 01:52 PM
Here in alabama where some of us fish, we have the famous water moccasin or cotton mouth. These snakes are very aggressive. I know that first hand. I fish alot along the rivers around here where fallen trees and tall grass are always found. That is why I was thinking about chaps or gators as some are called.
Everytime I wade streams in the mountains the one thing I'm really thankful for is that I don't expect to see a cottonmouth face to face in chestdeep water,it's happened several times to me here in Mid. Tenn creeks,and they're aggressive for sure....and can bite underwater.
I'll face a rattler or copperhead anyday...and we have them here too.

Knothead
09-01-2010, 03:49 PM
I worked with a fellow here in Cleveland that almost died from a rattlesnake bite. I teach in my Hunter Ed classes that non-poisonous bites can become infected and cause some major problems. Only seen one rattler in over 10 years; only seen three snakes in that timeframe.

Crockett
09-01-2010, 04:00 PM
Having stepped on a copperhead a few weeks ago near the west prong of the lr and seen 3 timber rattlesnakes in the last 3 years I think they are pretty common in the smokies. I expect the population of snakes will be going way up too since this winter was so harsh with such deep snow that I believe it killed off a very large portion of the wild hogs in the mountains who were culling out the snakes some in the recent past.

Jim Casada
09-01-2010, 07:06 PM
Adam--Along with the weather culling hogs, the Park is working on them too. You won't hear or read much about it, but in addition to a long-term trapping program they have employed what I guess you could call hog snipers to shoot 'em.

As for snake numbers, and I've probably posted this before, they are but a pale shadow of what numbers were like when I was a kid. A float down lower Deep Creek this time of year, especially after a heavy rain got the creek up, would have you seeing literally dozens of water snakes dropping from limbs into the water. As for rattlesnakes and copperheads, I probably averaged seeing at least a dozen a year as a boy. I've seen exactly three in the last five years, and none were in the Park.
My brother covers a lot more ground than me, and he's seen one copperhead and no rattlesnakes in the Park.
Incidentally, since this thread is entitled "bushwhacking," I would mention that he has a hike planned tomorrow which will find him starting out just above the million-dollar bridge on Straight Fork, heading from there via the Beech Hollow Trail to Hyatt Ridge, down the Hyatt Ridge Trail a ways, then off trail via the old Breakneck Ridge manway down to Three Forks. I'm going to be really anxious to hear his report.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

Rebelsoul
09-02-2010, 08:25 AM
The most hog signs I've seen have been in the Tellico region,I would hate to run up on a bunch of them late in the evening.
I saw a show on tv called "The Hog Bomb" or something to that effect...it covered the wild hog problem we have here in the South and it's amazing how fast they spread and reproduce,there's a town in Georgia somewhere that's overrun with hogs.
Like Jim said,in one of those places the cops ride the roads at night and shoot every hog they see.
This has gotten away somewhat from bushwhacking,but it all fits together. In the woods everybody needs to be aware of dangerous animals and situations,there's way too many misinformed folks out from the suburbs who think going fishing in the GSMNP is like going to a city park,or any other activity they are interested in.
A friend of mine who is a hiker in the Smokies and Rockies has said a Ranger in the Yellowstone area told him tourists have actually asked him,"When do you let the animals out to walk around?"

Knothead
09-02-2010, 08:52 AM
"When do you let the animals out to walk around?"

That is the epitomy of stupidity. People watch too many nature shows that don't contain one milligram of truth. I would rather camp in Yellowstone or the Smokies rather than drive through some areas of many towns or cities.
SWMBO and I saw a lot of hog activity at one of the homesteads in Cade's Cove. Looked like the ground around the barn had been plowed.

Rog 1
09-02-2010, 09:30 AM
I have bumped into one of the hog "snipers" before up above Elkmont...this ranger was dressed in full cammo with a rifle equiped with a night light....he was coming off the Cucmber Gap trail and had been out all night....after answering all our questions he asked for our licenses...always on the job.

Carlito
09-02-2010, 11:07 AM
Where do I sign up for "hog sniper" patrol!?! A buddy I used to work with did that for a whole summer in the 50s. We bumped into a ranger on our way to #23 year before last. He was carrying an semi-auto assault rifle decked out with camo and a supressor. He said he was up there putting up game cameras to monitor bear/boar traffic. I have a feeling we aren't as "alone" as we think we are up in the Park. They have game cameras all over the place up there.

Rebelsoul
09-02-2010, 11:19 AM
The "hog sniper" is interesting,also the game cameras....can't get away anywhere anymore.:rolleyes:
I ease along like a "LURP" along a trail anyway,sometimes dressed in Tiger Stripes or woodland camo....it will make the "hog snipers" activities more exiciting,they can imagine themselves as VC looking for Carlos Hathcock.:biggrin:

sammcdonald
09-03-2010, 02:41 PM
the last year's rescue was of a very very experienced ridge runner and back country expert.....he got a lil confused on dry sluice gap manway and ended up about a mile east ot where he wanted to be.....so it's easy to get lost...use care...i've been places i can't go again because i'm smarter now
sam

Jim Casada
09-03-2010, 04:28 PM
the last year's rescue was of a very very experienced ridge runner and back country expert.....he got a lil confused on dry sluice gap manway and ended up about a mile east ot where he wanted to be.....so it's easy to get lost...use care...i've been places i can't go again because i'm smarter now
sam
Sam--I must, to a certain degree, question just how experienced the "ridge runner and back country expert" was. Did he have a compass? Did he have a GPS? Did he have a USGS map? Did he have emergency gear and rations? I think it is quite easy to get misplaced in the Smokies, but I don't think any truly fit and truly savvy backwoodsman will get lost. With the exception of a few places, such as the sawteeth, the gorge on Raven Fork, and some of the steep places high up along the main ridge line, all that is required is to go downhill until you hit a water course (never too far) and then follow it. In time you'll hit a trail, because most Park trails either follow a stream or a ridgeline.
That being said, I think hypothermia, panic, and poor preparation are much bigger dangers.
Also, anyone in the situation that guy was in has shown one immediate index of less than stellar woodsmanship--he's off target on his intended path (whether off trail or on). I'll match my brother's back country skills with those of most anyone, but one thing he does religiously is stick to his plan. He always gives a map itinerary of where he is going and sticks to it. Yesterday was a prime example. He wanted to try to find the old manway down Breakneck Ridge to Three Forks. He didn't succeed but had enough sense not to backtrack and take the McGee Springs-Right Fork of Raven Fork approach. Why? Because he knew that if something happened he would have deviated from the mapped path (off trail) he left with me and his wife.
I'm betting the guy who had to be sought by a rescue party and neglected one or more of the points and preparations mentioned above.
Finally, I am all too keenly aware of the places "I can't go again." I don't know that I'm any smarter but I am appreciably less "catty."
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

NDuncan
09-03-2010, 05:45 PM
If I recall t he news story correctly, the man who had to be rescued last year was one of the park's original ridge runners?

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/aug/31/missing-smokies-hiker-back-home-with-family/

Jim Casada
09-03-2010, 06:28 PM
If I recall t he news story correctly, the man who had to be rescued last year was one of the park's original ridge runners?

http://www.knoxnews.com/news/2009/aug/31/missing-smokies-hiker-back-home-with-family/
NDuncan--Thanks for the link, and I found it quite interesting. Obviously the guy did a number of things right--had food, knew how to get water, did not panic, and once he realized he was in trouble got to a spot and stayed there.

On the other hand, it would appear he did a number of things wrong. There is no mention made of him having key directional and land navigational devices (compass, GPS, or map) or of him having given anyone an exact itinerary. I also question the wisdom of a guy his age going off on a four-day outing on his own, and since I'm close to that age I think I have some perspective in that regard. I wouldn't think of it, although I can and do regularly make one-day trips back of beyond. When I do so I leave precise details of where I'll be. But a guy could break a leg on the first day of a four-day trip and be in far worse trouble than this guy--and at that age, much as I hate to acknowledge it, the chance of falls or missteps are all too real. I stumble in the creek far more than I used to.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)

ifish4wildtrout
09-03-2010, 06:50 PM
Mr. Casada, how was your brother's trip to Three Forks?

Jim Casada
09-03-2010, 07:35 PM
ifish4wildtrout--To quote him in his report, "I was whupped." He had tremendous problems with really thick briers, witch hobble, and rhododendron hells, not to mention making a mistake in follow some surveyor tape along an opening which looked promising. His conclusion, after backtracking to McGee Springs and soaking his feet (briefly) in its icy water, was that this was a trip to be made in late winter or very early spring.

He tought about altering his plan and taking the Right Fork of Three Forks down from McGee Springs to Three Forks, but didn't do it for precisely the reason I posted earlier--it would have been a deviation from his mapped plan.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)


P. S. He sent me a photo of his scratched legs. They were something to behold!

duckypaddler
09-03-2010, 09:13 PM
ifish4wildtrout--To quote him in his report, "I was whupped."


P. S. He sent me a photo of his scratched legs. They were something to behold!

Rhodo Shins:biggrin: - those hells will get you every time

I guess he missed the entrance to the Rhodo trunnel on Breakneck. :eek: Yikes that sucks.

I told you guys McGee Springs was the way to go, that will be my plan.

I have a hike planned & a paddling (well low water probably more scrapeing and portaging) planned there soon, and will be sure to post a report. Not sure if I'll fish on the hike and def won't on the boating trip:redface:

ifish4wildtrout
09-04-2010, 10:29 PM
ifish4wildtrout--To quote him in his report, "I was whupped." He had tremendous problems with really thick briers, witch hobble, and rhododendron hells, not to mention making a mistake in follow some surveyor tape along an opening which looked promising. His conclusion, after backtracking to McGee Springs and soaking his feet (briefly) in its icy water, was that this was a trip to be made in late winter or very early spring.

He tought about altering his plan and taking the Right Fork of Three Forks down from McGee Springs to Three Forks, but didn't do it for precisely the reason I posted earlier--it would have been a deviation from his mapped plan.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)


P. S. He sent me a photo of his scratched legs. They were something to behold!

Did he fish? Just curious how the fishing was at the elusive Three Forks.

Jim Casada
09-05-2010, 08:37 AM
Ifish4wildtrout--No, Don doesn't do much fishing, although he is perfectly capable. Wet wading seems to give him fits, althugh he doesn't think twice about wading streams while he is hiking (such as 18 crossings of Eagle Creek a few weeks back when he hiked from Cades Cove to Fontana Dam, where I picked him up. Covering that much ground in a day, which he did, makes me tired just thinking of it.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutoors.com)

Rebelsoul
09-07-2010, 08:17 AM
I don't go places now,where I used to,either.
I learned backwoods skills and how to find my way around from my grandfather.....but I know my limitations now,and always carry a compass and map when I go to a place I'm not totally familiar with.
Thing is,I see so many people out on trails that have no business being there because they are not prepared at all.....dress shorts,flip flops,and no water is a good sign that if they took a wrong turn,or got a snakebite,things could go down the tube quick.
It's a wonder we don't read about more of them getting lost.
The old guy did stay put and that was what saved him most likely.

Knothead
09-07-2010, 12:37 PM
such as 18 crossings of Eagle Creek
If I'm going to cross a creek, I'm going to have my 2 wt. in hand and do some casting for trout.

Jim Casada
09-07-2010, 01:07 PM
John--I'm the same way, but my brother loves the hiking side of things and covers an amazing amount of ground (and takes lots of fine photos). He is useful in that he always checks out small tributary streams for trout and duly reports to yours truly.

Snakes have been mentioned several times in this thread, and I would simply point out that on a personal basis, at least, I'm more likely to encounter a poisonous one in my yard than in the Park. This morning, while getting up some trash under a Stayman apple on the lower part of the property (three acres with some woods, a big garden, and lots of grape and scuppernong vines, fruit trees, blueberry bushes, raspberry and thornless blackberry vines, etc.) I noticed movement. Sure enough, it was a cooperhead of 26-28 inches. It' either the fifth or sixth one I've killed on the place, with one of them being scary (pulling weeds by hand and saw movement right at my hand).
As I've said, they don't overly concern me, and this particular one won't concern anyone, except possibly the buzzrds, henceforth.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com (http://www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com)