Engine Creek and another Buick driveby

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Yes those are stars and it was cold.

But we spent a good part of the day getting ready for that evening.

The flying sausage is resting after his 15 mi over from Trillium Gap.

We had to, of course, make sure the wood was wrist sized. In accordance with great Smoky Mountains National Park policies and procedures.

We started on this frosty Saturday morning with our friend Sara. She was just along for the hike and did a loop back out and around to her car. I escorted thesetthese ladies up themthe from the back of the old ranger station in Greenbrier.

We made the side trip up to an old cemetery about a quarter mile off trail. Uphill, mostly.

And Kelsie thought she had been on all the trails in the park. Hmmph.

We bid farewell to Sara and began setting up a proper Highlander encampment. It was time for  Kelsie to work.

I enjoy my Six Moons Design Skyscape Trekker tent. More so because it was a gift from my good friends, Seth and Heather Dortch. So far I have probably put about 30 nights in it this year alone and I have no complaints. It weighs in at 26 ounces and packs up super small. You need to learn how to vent it properly as there is a bit of condensation if not.

They say swinging a hatchet is mountaineering training. You may not know this, but Kelsie is on a program that I am tailoring for her. It will begin in May with her first ascent of Mount Rainier. So splitting wood is important training for the upper body.  I would say that she definitely has gotten the swing of it.

Painting this fence is fun.

Since we had all day quite a woodpile was amassed.

Soon the Flying Sausage arrived ,tuckered following his 15 mile day. He was spared wood duty.

A reprieve was granted for sedentary rehydration.

After bathing in the forest full of stars and warmth of hearth, it was time to retire. Little did we know that slumber would elude us.

As has happened before in the Southern Highlander fold, a Buick came driving through in the night.  Jimmy Dean was wretching into the early morning hours. I felt badly for him but there wasn’t much to be done. He heaved until there was no more hoe to heave.

Sunday found us escorting him to his car in Gatlinburg instead of finishing his loop. Our sausage was not looking well.  You’ll have that from time to time.

So ended another glorious weekend in the Smokies back country. I would like to add something on the Southern Forest Watch front.  it was brought to my attention by my friend Adam that the Big South fork was about to institute some whopping fee increases.

You can read what I had to say about that here.