Crowder Branch, Cherokee National Forest  4/05-4/07 2013


Gettting out of the Smokies has been a blessing.  Here we find the freedom formerly experienced in the Smokies.  You don't need a permit, there are no group size restrictions, no jack booted rangers and no fee.  There is the freedom to spend the night wherever you wish and change plans on the fly.  We did not see a single person in this designated Wilderness area and those qualities are what public lands should embody.  Since we do not require "trip planning", bear cables or fire rings, the Southern Highlander crew thrives in the CNF.

Beginning on Friday, Joey and I met these two at basecamp on doublecamp road.  We ascended Farr Gap for a two hour walk in the shadow of Hangover and the Smokies.  Here we are marvelling at the view of the Smokies we have not experienced.  From Gregory's Bald to Clingman's, the entire spine of the AT was in range.  Dave was kind enough to prepare and cook Mondo Burgers Friday evening.  It gave us a straight shot to Farr Gap in the morning.  Okay, noonish.  I brought the percolator.

Recognize this?  Its the Hangover, in all her glory.  You can actually see the entire route.   See it?

This campsite was chosen by us as a result of hiking by there several years ago.  It was such a beautiful place our determination to return was rewarded by a weekend of great weather, starlit evenings and a rock spitting fire.  Never seen that before.  The fire actually spit rocks.

I went for a short walk over to Mill Branch.  The boar damage is some of the most widespread I have ever witnessed.  Mill Branch is about one mile from our campsite at Crowder Branch.  As I made the descent into Mill Branch, I came across the responsible party.  It was a herd of snorting, nasty boar that I startled.  No pictures are available.  They move fairly rapidly.

We teased Slapnuts.  He has some new "interests".  Will also told us of his recent AT adventure that involved a rescue. One of his hiking friends broke his leg on the AT in Virgina last week.  Broke it clean through the skin.  It was icy and he stepped on a water bar that was slick.  It was quite the adventure.  Good thing Will and Jenny were there to assist.

Along the way up Farr Gap, Slap, Jenny and Will encountered a solo backpacker encamped halfway.  It was none other than our own
Super Dave.

Of course, Will has to greet everyone properly.  Joey oversees his crematory, rock spitting fire.

Gangster of Love, Beef Jerky Mike.  His new trail name in Cherokee, since we were in the CNF is Chief Lowdgebow.

The Beverly Hillbillies S01E29 The Clampetts and the Dodgers - Watch Comedy Series Online - YouTube

Go to minute 10:20 to see what we have been laughing about all weekend following last Friday's near hatchet mauling of President Dumplin.  In the words of first lady, Cindy Lou Dumplin, I can saw and split wood but no hatchetry, or something to that effect.


That's Joey's lair.

The next morning, okay, after lunch (I also carried the percolator up to Crowder Place) we descended alongside this beautiful stream to make a perfect loop.

Chief Lowdgebow makes a few wet boot prints as we zig zagged the stream for 3 or 4 miles.  The CNF is wild, unbridged and ever changing.  And that is our cup of tea.

Yes the Trillium are starting to sprout.  It is that time of year.  No snakes yet although it rose to high 60s on Sunday morning.