Big Fodderstack and Jeffrey's Hell  3/10/13

Southernhighlanders summit the Big Fodderstack! (not pictured is Beef Jerky Mike, he took the picture)

It was delightful to backpack into a place that did not require reservations or a fee.  Therefore, we returned to Mill Branch in Cherokee National Forest for some unimpaired backpacking and a return to the Big Fodderstack.

Mill Branch is about a 2 mile walk straight uphill with a climb of about 1500 feet.  It is also very near a famous place, Jeffrey's Hell.  Legend has it that a man got lost in there long time ago and you can hear him moaning after chasing his coon dogs.  We heard a moaning in the middle of the night, no kidding.  Anyway, here is the song by Blue Moon Rising called, "Jeffrey's Hell".


The weather was perfect.  In the 60s with snow and sun and clouds.  The lack of oppression that accompanies trips into the Smokies is so refreshing that I cannot explain it.  This is what backpacking should be, free and unimpaired by a bureaucracy.  Oh, and we can burn wood and paper without signing a form online to do so, like is now the case in the Smokies.  You do know that they instituted a rule when you pay your $4 reservation fee that you sign signifiying you will not do that?  Right?  You should.

Grady and Mike enjoy unencumbered fun.  Highlander style.

Jerky Mike did a Blazing Saddles routine that had us riveted.

But soon it was time for the meat and cheese board.  Folks lined up for that new tradition.

Sally D likes the size of this blaze.

We busted up towards the Big Fodderstack from Mill Branch.  Mill branch was a 1500 ft climb and it was another 1000 or so to the summit of Big Fodderstack.  The last time we were here, well, check it out HERE.

A little break at Pine Gap.

The SouthernHighlander clan summited the Big Fodderstack.

It was a glorious day to do so.

We lounged about in the fortifying March sun for a considerable time taking in the views of Hangover, Gregorys Bald and the little Fodderstack.

You can't see it real well but the Hangover is behind that tree, trust me.

Breaking camp is always sad but the promise of fee free hiking here buoys us for the future.

It was an extroardinary time and festive group.  I needed a weekend out of the Smokies and you could feel the lack of oppression that has become that police state in our beloved National Park.  If you haven't heard, we filed our lawsuit against the fee last weekend.  The Blount county mayor pitched a fit and Lamar has been trying to get us silenced.  We have really stirred the pot.  Look at what the Blount county mayor had to say in a letter to our resolution sponsor.  Mayor's Letter   Understand that he sat right in front of me at the mtg, which makes his comments even more ludicrous.