The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
October 10-11, 2009 Noland Creek to Lakeshore Walk,
THE UGLY, VERY UGLY
If this looks familiar, I might remind you that this is campsite #61 at the head of Noland Creek Trail. Yes, it is where we found the bacon in the firepit last year when we stayed there, here Last year, we cleaned that mess, this year, we got to repeat the exercise. Very nice cooler with wheels. What was in the mess? Here is a brief and totally non comprehensive inventory: 6 propane bottles, 15 MRE meals, 2 full sleeping bags, 1 pair hiking boots, two sleeping pads (cheap Wal-Mart stuff, all of it). 1 HUGE tarp, 1 rolled igloo cooler, 1 vial of unknown drug substance. Was this a backcountry meth lab? I don't think so. The rest of the stuff was too wet, mangled etc to properly inventory but Dave estimated the weight of the detritus to be around 100 lbs. I did not include all the pots, pans, ropes, toilet paper, tin cans and tons of plastic.
This drug vial is light sensitive, but I'm not certain what chemical was involved here.
It took all four of us at least 30 minutes of litter pick up. We weren't sure how to leave this stuff so it wouldn't happen again, so I bungee corded the lid shut so a critter might be less inclined to enter before we notified the backcountry office on our way out.
We left it fairly tidy.
We are saddened by this backcountry travesty because like all you knowledgeable backcountry folks, we know who is responsible.
Need I say anymore? Never in all my time in the Smokies have I witnessed such desecration. Quarter No Mules! Quarter no Mules! It's time to do something about this. I encourage everyone to attend this event at the Howard Baker Center for Public Policy on November 5 at 7pm. It is a policy event on the future of the National Park. I think horses and their future should be addressed, given that a considerable amount of stimulus monies received by the Great Smoky Mtns national park will go to repairing horse trails so they can continue to do this. We will be heard on this issue. Please let me know if you can join us. We have about 10 commitments at this point and the more we have, the more attention we will get from the park Superintendent.
The fun of Noland Creek is crossing Noland Creek.
But don't tell Sally Dumplin, he took a little thumpin from the creek crossing because he didn't listen to his Dad's advice. Mr. McGhee, I told him once myself. What will we do with our boy?
We made it to camp and Jerky Mike came in from Lakeview drive.
Curious behavior. Mmmmm. What on earth is she preparing?
How about them apples, er lasagna. Mighty fine. Jacqui made it, carried it and Sally D brought garlic bread. Fantastic.
Doo arrives to finish off the pan. (and yes, we do carry out our own trash)
"I told you to never call me that again, Ricky Bobby" I'll have no more of these insinuations.
We had a grand fire.
We didn't get any of this until after midnight. That's right, no rain at all until after midnight. I'll have to say we had a very pleasant and PEACEFUL campout at #63.
This is an American Chestnut shoot and no, I will not tell you where it is. You'll have to hike and find it.
Compatibility issues for certain.
There was a side trail above my campsite. Jack and I followed it to this knoll where we found three infant graves from the late 1800s.
Trail Stats: Noland Divide to Noland Creek to Lakeview drive: 14 approximately. We loved Campsite #63. Avoid #61 or any campsite accessible to Horses. They will picket their horses on trees and kill them as their owners foul the camp with litter, then march off to muck up the trail, fouling it and the water sources they cross. They freak out when encountering a woman or man with a pack and will run you off the trail, as was the case with Jacqui sunday morning.
Hope to see everyone at hangover this weekend for the annual Highlander festival.