Jeffrey's Hell     North Fork Citico Trail  3/22/2014

I know it doesn't look very hellish here.  And essentially there is very little reminiscent of purgatory in this wilderness.  The North Fork Citico trail bisects one of the largest wilderness areas in the southeast.  Rising from its beginning 3/4 of a mile up out of Citico Creek, this formerly logged drainage is testament to the history of the region complete with concrete dynamite shacks and steel cabling all the way to its terminus at the Big Fodderstack trail.   North Fork Citico is a long walk.  On Saturday I spent three hours getting the six miles in, but not all the way.  Daylight was burning and I had to leave a small bit.  But I saw NO ONE at all.  No one.   Citico is the antismokies.    Praise God.

Trillium are a sure sign of the first part of spring.

This awesome camping spot is at the end of the flat section before rising almost 2000 feet to NF trail end.  I will return to this spot and drag Dave and Mike with me. 

Some of the footing here was thin, so someone improvised a handrail.  I followed the creek for the entirety of the hike.

Speaking of Sally Dumplin, it was great to have him back out with us.  He cooked breakfast and dinner for the group.  That guy in the middle is none other than Jerky Jake, Lodgebow's grandson.  Jerky Jake made the four mile walk along Rocky Flats trail. 


It takes good aim to load a percolator!

And thus a great ending to a fantastic three days in the CNF.  It's great to get new miles and day hike with the benefits of car camping.  It isn't highlander protocol but none of us are complaining.  I was able to do about 12 miles on Saturday and my knees didn't mind a break from the backpack.  Mike's didn't either.  

Speaking of Jeffrey Hell, this song is a great tribute to the region.

Happy Spring everyone!  (a hell is a laurel/rhodo thicket that is super thick.)

Speaking of Hell, I am including this newly released video from Mohammed Gharaeji.  Mohammed is a friend that  reached out to me regarding our Iranian climbing mates that tragically perished on Broad Peak.  Many of you know that the impetus to put out my book so quickly was largely derived from pressures on Ramin Shoeji, the Iranian expedition leader.  He was being blamed for the deaths of the three.  I tried to dispel some of these notions in my book,  Tempting the Throne Room.  This newly released video proves not only the tireless efforts of Ramin to organize a rescue for the young climbers but captures a conversation between Ramin and Marty Schmidt (a chapter in my book is devoted to Marty and his son Denali) as my friend prevails upon him for assistance.   Marty and his son tragically perished a few short weeks later on infamous K2.   Ramin spent many many days rotating up and down Broad Peak.  Imagine yourself after losing contact with three young men in your expedition and the anxiety and fear it would provoke.  As Ramin said, " I feel like a Mother whose sons are under a heavy rock and I can't lift it off of them".   It is a haunting reminder to hear Marty's unmistakable voice as he proclaims futility in further rescue efforts, especially in light of the fact that his own rescue less than two weeks later was also.....a foregone conclusion.