Sithenge @Eagle Creek

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It’s one of the most ancient Highlander traditions. And this year was no exception. If you have not read about the epic exploits at eagle Creek then here is a link. This story was one for the books.

Many years ago we constructed what came to be known as the most famous rock circle in the Smokies. And it was so dubbed, Sithenge. Here is a link to that trip from way back in the archives.

This year I was delighted to have Martin hunley at the helm, guiding the USS Steinhatchee to Port.

we were loaded for bear but only saw eagles.
It’s always a good omen when you’re met by eagles coming into Eagle Creek. I captured a video of an eagle dipping down pulling a fish out of the water.
Sit henge is in a little bit of disrepair. So we had to do a little rehabilitation.
The reservation website was showing eight people had booked campsite 90. Of course that was BS. Martin and I had the place to ourselves for two nights and 3 days. And perfect weather. If you are wondering why there is such a discrepancy in the NPS site and actual numbers in the backcountry, then let me help educate you via the fine work done by the Southern Forest Watch and member Mark Cooke, outlined in this article.

NPS Fudging Number again.

An eagle landed on the tree behind Martin. That makes about four we saw.
crisp and cool makes for good climbs on a steep trail.
Per custom we made the Saturday ascent via Lost Cove to the Shuck stack. For those of you keeping a score at home that’s seven miles and 2400 ft of elevation. And five or six pretty good creek crossings.
the views rarely disappoint up here.
I’ve climbed this thing a million times but for some reason this one wore me out. Did not see any feral hogs which was unusual. As a matter of fact other than the eagles we saw almost zero wildlife. Which led to some speculation on our part. For instance why no bear or deer. Or turkeys for that matter. I see more wildlife across the street from my house than I do in here. Strange given the remote ness. Years ago I used to see stuff in there all the time. Hmmm.
As far as weekends go there are none better except perhaps the one we had the weekend before. It’s good to be back in North Carolina in the wilderness with Martin.
Happy Thanksgiving to you.

5 Responses

  1. Martin Hunley

    What a great weekend. Enjoyed it a lot. Not much time to sit around.

  2. Dana Koogler

    Glad you guys got the chance to enjoy the holiday the way you wanted to. I’d like to think the number fudging has to do with trying to secure funding, but I sure don’t know. Any theories as to the lack of animals besides the eagles? That is odd. I bet they were like me and hunkered down somewhere trying to stay warm. We all have a lot to be grateful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you both.

  3. KT

    Enjoyed the trip report John. I have heard a lot about that area but have only been there one time. Need to get there more often.

    • John

      KT, I obviously highly recommend getting there, especially in the winter when no one is around.