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Old 08-25-2010, 04:07 PM
JayB JayB is offline
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Default Taking the boys backpacking...where to go?

Im taking my boys, ages 7, 5 and 3 backpacking this weekend, and have 4 spots in mind, but cant decide what would be best. Any suggestions? Here is what Im thinking so far.

1. Twentymile creek - site 93 - 1.8 miles of hiking on an easy grade. Should be relatively isolated, and the trail follows the creek which should make for easy access for fishing (cant go rock hopping up the creeks with a 3 year old!).

2. Pretty Hollow - site 39 - dont know much about, downside is its a horse camp, upside previous reports say they are specks in those waters! Looks to be only about 2 miles to the campsite.

3.Big Hemlock - site 40 - again good short hike, I dont know much about the area. Its not a horsecamp! Are there specks here or no?

4.West Prong - site 18- little further than I want to travel at 2.7 miles, and as far as I can tell, its reasonably busy, which I would rather not be around people. Lots of aggresive little rainbows for the kids to try to catch though. Trail only crosses the stream, so access may be limited due to kids.


Im looking for a 1.5 to 2.5 mile hike, easy grade, access to water for fishing, swimming, salamander hunting. Preferably an area NOT known for bears, and IS known for solitude (I would feel bad if the youngest woke up crying in the middle of the night and disturbed someone camping nearby.) Right now Im leaning toward Twentymile/93.
Plan to head out Saturday morning stay till Sunday evening.
Wherever it is we end up going, Ill be sure to post a trip report, hopefully including some pictures of fish!
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:30 PM
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PeteCz PeteCz is offline
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Default Another suggestion

CS#65 on Noland Creek Trail is 1.3 miles from Lakeshore Drive with a 240' elevation gain. With a 3 year old the sooner you get to camp, the better...
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Old 08-25-2010, 06:35 PM
Crockett Crockett is offline
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Jay I just went 3 weeks ago with my friend Matt to cs 18 and we took our 7 and 4 year old sons with us. I would say that is one of the best in your selections there and here is why. If you take the Bote mtn trail then turn onto the West prong trail it is only 1.6 miles. Another great reason is the campsite is really large and you have a lot of easy access to the stream where it runs through the site. Other places like cs 39 the creek is not as accessible. I have been to cs 40 and it is by far the ugliest campsite I have ever seen in the smokies. I guess there is a reason to it being called Big Hemlock they apparently didn't treat those trees and most of them when I was there were felled down into the camping area. There was scarecely a spot to put a tent and no shade there now. I don't know much about 93 so someone else will have to help you there. Here is my trip report on our trip to cs 18:

http://gosmokies.knoxnews.com/profil...t-backpack-and

We fished all over the west prong with our boys and caught many trout even right through the campsite area. Good point Pete on cs 65. Another one you could consider is cs 48 on Chasteen creek it is also just a mile in but I doubt the fishing would be as good as Noland or the West Prong. With a 3 year old you probably won't be able to wade up the stream but will probably just be fishing from the bank a bit I would guess.
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:18 PM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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JayB--Twentymile isn't a bad choice--but--the best fishing is lower down and it's unquestionably too rough for kids that age.
There's another campsite upstream (roughly two miles) on Pretty Hollow which is a lovely place--no horse campsite is lovely, IMO.
A better bet might be to go to the Bearpen Branch campsite on Noland (that's the name although the actual Bearpen Branch is a few hundred yards farther up the trail). It is just over a mile upstream from the trailhead, the walk is a easy and leisurely one, the fishing is decent+, there's a nice long, still pool which lies right under the road at the point where you turn off for the campsite which would be great for playing (oddly enough, it is a side channel, because the creek splits here, but over the years I've caught some fine fish there, including a dandy brown just three weeks ago).

One other thought. That's where I took my daughter (more years ago than I really care to think about), and we had a grand old time all of us (my wife was along) still remember. Of course one thing which helped make it memorable was a (insert colloquial word here for vented posterior regions) of a seasonal ranger who wanted me to take frying fish out of the pan for him to measure them. I had had a dickens of a time getting a fire started, since it had rained for two days straight, and I was cooking over an open fire. Also, the five trout all measure between nine and eleven inches, so it wasn't ever close. I got so irritated I told him to just write me up if it came to that, but I wasn't ruining my supper. I also did something I probably shouldn't have done. I mentioned the regional ranger, whom I knew well since he attended my parents' church, and said that if he did write a ticket I was going to pull the smallest of the fish from the pan, carefully wrap it in foil, and the two of us were going to hike out and have a visit with that ranger. That, basically was the end of the conversation. First time I had thought of that in years, although my daughter got a very bad impression of rangers thanks to one (use another impermissible synonym for the end opposite one's pie hole--now I hope Paula doesn't chastise me, but as the foregoing suggests, the guy flat out frosted my grits.

Wherever you go, I trust you'll have a grand time, and kudos for passing on a wonderful legacy.

Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:18 PM
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GrouseMan77 GrouseMan77 is offline
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My wife and I went with a couple friends up to #18 last Friday and Saturday. The fishing was ok. I caught one that was an easy 10"+ right past the bridge. I really didn't expect anything that big. Caught a few others that were keeper size but most of fish were around the 5" range.

I really like the site. If you do head up there make sure to check out the "A" section of the site. It is much more appealing than "B" and "C".

That hike might be a little tough for a 3 year old...
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Old 08-25-2010, 09:58 PM
JayB JayB is offline
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Thanks for all the suggestions. PeteCz I didnt even see #65, thats a good one to keep in mind.
Jim- A friend of mine suggested Twentymile for the fishing, and I have wanted to explore a new part of the park also. Another vote for #65, Bearpen Branch, Ill have to try this one next, but it is on the far side of the park for me (Im in Knoxville).
Crockett - Thanks for that link, I didnt know what the stream looked like at #18, and from the pictures it looks very kid friendly. That had been first on my list before, I think I might end up there after all.
Grouseman - Thanks for the suggestion on the campsite. As for the hike being too tough, this three year old is as big as most five y.o. and has been hiking since he could walk good. He's done several 2 to 3 mile hikes before. Here is a pic of us heading down the Stiffknee trail on the way to Slickrock (which is a tough trail and about 3 miles, Eli , the 3 y.o is on the left). We never made it, but that was due to running into 2 yellow jacket nests on the trail about a quarter mile before the creek. They didnt complain once other than that.
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Old 08-26-2010, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayB View Post
Thanks for all the suggestions. As for the hike being too tough, this three year old is as big as most five y.o. and has been hiking since he could walk good. He's done several 2 to 3 mile hikes before. Here is a pic of us heading down the Stiffknee trail on the way to Slickrock...
That's Hardcore!....I've been on that trail myself and if your 3yo can do that one, CS#18 from Bote Mtn will be a breeze...

Rock on!
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:01 PM
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GrouseMan77 GrouseMan77 is offline
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That is pretty hardcore and that is a moose of a three year old. Where is his pack?
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:05 PM
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duckypaddler duckypaddler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeteCz View Post
That's Hardcore!....I've been on that trail myself and if your 3yo can do that one, CS#18 from Bote Mtn will be a breeze...

Rock on!
Dry Sluice Manwway next year, Go up to jump off (up Lester Prong of course) the next year. Heck maybe they can even open Huggins **** back up for us mere mortals by the time they hit puberity
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Old 08-26-2010, 09:17 PM
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duckypaddler duckypaddler is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crockett View Post
Jay I just went 3 weeks ago with my friend Matt to cs 18 and we took our 7 and 4 year old sons with us. I would say that is one of the best in your selections there and here is why. If you take the Bote mtn trail then turn onto the West prong trail it is only 1.6 miles. Here is my trip report on our trip to cs 18:

http://gosmokies.knoxnews.com/profil...t-backpack-and
Sweet Blog post! In fact, Iv'e forced my wife to look at things on fishing and boating blogs, and this is the first time she got as excited as I did. Can't wait to get my twins out there.
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