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Old 03-24-2010, 09:13 PM
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Question Bushwhacking

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, a bush.

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

JF
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Old 03-24-2010, 09:48 PM
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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.
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Old 03-25-2010, 01:01 AM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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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.
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Old 03-25-2010, 08:42 AM
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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/au...ker-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/upl...Compendium.pdf
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Old 03-25-2010, 09:56 AM
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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.
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:32 AM
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This is probably a stupid question but what is the difference between a manway and a trail?
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Old 03-25-2010, 11:48 AM
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manways are no longer maintained by the park service. Most have never been maintained by the park service.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:01 PM
Carlito Carlito is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grannyknot View Post
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?
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:19 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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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.
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Old 03-25-2010, 02:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Grannyknot View Post
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
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