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Thread: Trail to Raven Fork from Smokemont

  1. #21
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    Feb 2009
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    re: Three Forks aka the Big Pool...does anyone have firsthand
    knowledge of the viability of bushwhacking down the Right
    Fork from campsite #44 McGee Springs?

    I have started that way on a day trip but I was solo and it was pretty thick so I thought better and turned around. Would love to do it this
    season if any are interested.

    fffc160@hotmail.com

  2. #22
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    Jun 2009
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    fcfly--I don't recommend it. What was once a fairly discernible manway down Breakneck Ridge is now pretty much like penetrating Huggins ****; i. e., just something you shouldn't try. That means Three Forks is even more difficult to reach than it used to be, and it's never been a piece of cake.
    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  3. #23
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    Feb 2009
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    Jim, Thanks for the reply. I have seen the old Breakneck Ridge
    manway on maps and have also heard it was pretty much
    impassable.

    My thought was to follow the trickle of McGee Springs down
    to its juncture with Right Fork and from there rockhop
    downstream to Three Forks (about a mile as the crow flies).

    I would think this is done by a few hardy souls each year.Anyone
    care to share their experience?

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Davidson and Bryson City, NC
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    I hope I don't regret this but I'm coming around to Jim's way of thinking that certain spots are protected simply by their remote location and diffilculty in getting there. This is high on that list.

    I also hope I don't come across sounding like a smart a** cause that's not the intent. But use the Search tool on this board, type in "three forks", "Raven Fork", "big pool" or anything like that and I'm sure you'll find an excellent and exaustive thread from about this time last year on this subject. This way we don't bring up these hidden gems every year and annoy those that think they should stay hidden and everybody will get along harmoniously.

  5. #25
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    Jun 2009
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    fcfly--That might work and is possibly easier than working your way upstream from Enloe Rock. The downside would be that the approach going up the main creek provides first-rate fishing while you'll find the Right Fork quite tight. I do know a few people who have done just what you propose in recent years. I'm too old for such adventures, but according to them, it was tough going (mainly fighting rhododendron). Much would probably depend on your age and level of fitness. I would recommend doing it in April or October, although a group I know tried that in 2008 (the October option) and got caught in a six-inch snow. Needless to say, bushwhacking was not exactly a delight in those conditions. Makes one appreciate the hardiness of the old mountain hunters though.
    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  6. #26
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    Feb 2006
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    The Glades
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    i'm gonna agree with the degree of difficulty idea....lotsa places are spared our intrusion because we just can't get there from here anymore......i'm no longer trekking up dry sluice gap, or the catstairs, or the back way into cammerer.....or raven fork
    and there are less of us that have been there every year
    I started with nothing, and I have most of it left.
    www.angelfire.com/film/samsfotosafari

  7. #27
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    Feb 2009
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    10

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    Thanks to all for weighing in on this. Any additional
    input is welcome.

    Say old Tom-I'm not really worried about
    "annoying" the kind of person you referred to. I
    know there are some out there who want to
    keep secret certain sections of the Park. I don't
    see that being a big problem with 3 Forks
    for the simple reason that its hard as **** to
    access.If a person is willing to pay the price
    of admission (fitness,knowhow,equipment,etc.)
    then they can go if they want to.

  8. #28
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    Jun 2009
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    Rock Hill, SC
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    sammcdonald--I love the thought that there are fewer of us who have "been there, done that" each year. There's considerable truth in that and I somehow find it heartening. As land within the Park reclaims, to an ever greater degree each year, the natural state which existed before the area was settled, it becomes tougher to get to lots of places.
    Here are some random thoughts from someone who, I guess, qualifies as an "old timer" (although I've never really thought of myself in that way) which you triggered. However, there probably aren't a lot of people on this forum, or a lot of anglers in the Smokies, who have a full 60 years of fishing Park waters behind them as I do.
    1. Places which used to be known as "fields," such as the Jenkins Fields on Deep Creek, have long since been completely reforested.
    2. Most of the old railroad grades are now badly overgrown and virtually impassable on foot. For example, as a boy and young man I used the one on upper Straight Fork (above the "million dollar bridge") with some regularity. Last time I was in there, a couple of years back, I could barely even find it.
    3. A good many names have changed. Mud Creek has become Kephart Prong, Kaiser Creek has become Ledge Creek, the Perry Gap Bend on Deep Creek is forgotten, etc.
    4. There are far fewer smallouth in Park streams (or more accurately, there is much less mileage in Park waters holding smallmouths) than was once the case. I think cooler water because of more canopy is the explanation.
    5. I doubt if there are 10 people alive and fishing who could locate the once famous Cathey Hole on Indian Creek, fewer still know the Hoye Hole, etc.
    6. Backcountry campsites are known by numbers, when once all you heard them mentioned by was their name.
    7. Fishing wet flies seems to belong to a world we have lost.
    8. I haven't heard anyone, other than me, call a rainbow trout a California trout in decades, and the same holds true for calling browns German trout.
    9. I actually asked a big audience of locals in Gatlinburg 18 months ago what they knew about Wiley Oakley. Other than knowing there was a drive named for him, no one could tell me much of anything. None knew his favorite song ("I'll Fly Away"), none knew about the little books he wrote, and only one knew that Gatlinburg was once known as White Oak Flats.
    10. When was the last time you saw someone fishing (using flies) with a cane pole?
    11. How many folks do you know who eat branch lettuce in early spring while on fishing trips?
    12. When was the last time, other than in Little River, anyone caught a redeye (rock bass, goggle eye) in the Park?
    13. How long do you suppose it has been since someone traveled the old manway from Cataloochee Ranch to Three Forks?
    I could go on, but that's a baker's dozen contributions to nostalgia, a world we have lost. I just know I'm blessed to have been a part of it, and that's one reason there's so much history in my book on the Park. I firmly believe you can't truly know where you are going if you don't know where you have been, and I for one have been extremely fortunate to have been a lot of places in the Park and to have known a lot of grand fishermen from days gone by in the Park.
    I think it was Hugh Hartsell who said, a few months back when the two of us and one or two others started waxing nostalgic, that we were sort of living history on this forum.
    Maybe I've bored everyone by waxing philosophical, but if so, just give me thanks for providing a perfect antidote for insomnia.
    Jim Casada
    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com

  9. #29
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    Sep 2008
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    Knoxville, TN
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Casada View Post

    9. I actually asked a big audience of locals in Gatlinburg 18 months ago what they knew about Wiley Oakley. Other than knowing there was a drive named for him, no one could tell me much of anything. None knew his favorite song ("I'll Fly Away"), none knew about the little books he wrote, and only one knew that Gatlinburg was once known as White Oak Flats.

    www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
    The heartland series has done some pretty extensive coverage on Wiley Oakley. Jim, if you haven't had the pleasure of watching any of these, do it...you won't regret.

    White Oak Flats is a name of the past, and I'm afraid Arrowmont school is soon to follow.

    I've always thought it was interesting how the USGS quad for citico creek wilderness is referred to as White Oak Flats.

  10. #30
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    Jan 2009
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    Maryville, TN
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    Wax on Jim... I love Wiley Oakleys Roamin and Restin and his tales from up on scratch britches mountain. Really wisdom should tell us all that the interesting thing about this post is that a hundred years from now and long after we are all gone from this earth there will still be some hearty soul venturing into these very same places...
    Last edited by Crockett; 02-10-2010 at 11:12 PM.

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