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View Full Version : JERMM takes a hike in Big South Fork



JERMM
2011-06-28, 23:25
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A couple of weeks ago I asked Bearpaw for an easy hike plan, 3-4 days, low miles and camp suggestions for Big South Fork starting at Bandy Creek Visitors Center, thanks BP. Even though I didn’t completely stick with his plan I had a great 3-days.

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Bandy Creek Visitors Center

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Bee Baum

After getting my permit at the visitors center I started hiking out of the Bandy Creek campground east on the John Litton Farm Loop trail, an easy and relatively flat trail, heck the entire area is relatively flat compared to most trails. The Litton follows along Fall Branch and under ginormous sandstone rooms carved by water and once used as hunting camps by the Cherokee and Shawnee and later used by early settlers.

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inside one of the caves

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this huge spider was living under one of the over hangs, from toe to toe it was at least 5-inches huge

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After a short break I hiked north on the John Muir trail

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The JMT follows the contour of the gorge with the South Fork of the Cumberland River at the bottom

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After about 12-miles for the day I found a good spot for camp, I camped to the left of the cliffs

DAY2

I got going around 8A and hiked another 3-miles on the JMT descending to the Laurel Fork Creek trail junction where I met this little guy, I had a second breakfast and he soaked up the sun never saying a word.

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yellow eared slider

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The 4-mile Laurel Fork Creek trail is lined with lush green ferns and boulders covered in moss as it meanders under a thick canopy along the creek before it ascends to the Black House Branch trail then I headed north to Charit Creek Lodge.

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I stopped in to see the lodge and out buildings and had a couple of cold drinks and candy bar before heading out on the Twin Arches Loop trail.

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The Twin Arches Loop trail slowly ascends to the South Arch a magnificent sandstone arch sculptured by water over millions of years.

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After snooping around and checking out every rock I headed on to the North Arch.

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I found my way to the top for a 360 view of the surrounding escarpment and valley below

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I ate dinner and watched the sun set

It had been a short day and I had only hiked about 10-miles and you’re not suppose to camp on or near the Arches, but I really liked this cool place and so I did what I wasn’t suppose to do.

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Yep, I camped! No tarp, just my bivy under a small pine for the night, where I watched the stars and a satellite before falling asleep listening to whippoorwills and owls.

Day 3
The next morning I awoke to grey skies and rumbles of distant thunder. I scrambled to pack up and get off the rocks before 6AM.

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I made it down and back on the Twin Arches Loop trail to one of many rock over hangs before the bottom dropped out, I stayed put for about 45-minutes until the storm passed and accepted I would be hiking in the rain possibly all day.

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The TA Loop trail passes by a couple of old homesteads the first being Jake’s Place now just a clearing and the second being Tackett’s cabin and grave site. All that remains are two headstones with no visible markings and fireplace.

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From the TA Loop trail I back tracked across the Black House Branch trail to the Laurel Fork Creek trail and headed west and fording the creek about 12-times and seeing a bear before picking up the Collier Ridge Bike Loop and then the West Entrance trail where I saw a bear and found mushrooms of all kinds.

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bear

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with only a couple of miles to go before reaching the visitors center at Bandy Creek and my truck the sun returned and so did the humidity

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I took one last break and stood under this little waterfall to cool down

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After returning to the Bandy Creek Visitors Center and getting a cold drink I went over to the campground for a shower before getting on the road and back to my parents house.

The End

p.s. Ewker, before you ask...my pack weigh for 3-days including food and 1L of water was 13.4 lbs

Cuffs
2011-06-28, 23:39
Great report and pics Jermms! I hiked on my 40th bday up there and loved it! Glad to see the wild Monarda blooming! (the bee balm, it's a fave of hummingbirds and butterflies. )

Mags
2011-06-28, 23:55
Nice! Looks rather lush!

gungho
2011-06-29, 00:11
suck.....................

sheepdog
2011-06-29, 06:21
suck.....................

big tilme

Two Speed
2011-06-29, 07:32
Excellent report & photos as usual, and yeah, JERMM, you suck.

Hog On Ice
2011-06-29, 07:42
good Mags style report ...



was the second turtle an Eastern Box Turtle?

Superman
2011-06-29, 08:20
Excellent report & photos as usual, and yeah, JERMM, you suck.

:dito:

JERMM
2011-06-29, 08:38
good Mags style report ...



was the second turtle an Eastern Box Turtle?


HOI- i did some very intense google research, not only is it an eastern box turtle it's a male eastern box turtle

Hikerhead
2011-06-29, 08:56
I'm glad to see some of those things I taught you about taking pics stuck, nice job. :)

JERMM
2011-06-29, 09:45
I'm glad to see some of those things I taught you about taking pics stuck, nice job. :)

and you thought i wasn't paying attention

Ewker
2011-06-29, 10:19
nice trip report and pics. We were up there a month ago and saw 1 other person backpacking. Most folks are day hiking or the riding horses.

Russell
2011-06-29, 10:56
You do suck, but Mags set the trip report high.

Mags still sucks more.

JERMM
2011-06-29, 11:12
You do suck, but Mags set the trip report high.

Mags still sucks more.

agreed and hard for anyone in the southeast to come close to Mags reports, after all look at the mountains out his way...w/o those for visual aids he would be just an average sucker...:albertein

generoll
2011-06-29, 12:22
great pics. guess I'm gonna have to add this to my "to do" list.

Crikey
2011-06-29, 12:51
Please take this kind of crap to a . . . :aetsch:

Seriously, nice job. Good reminder that the world is a big place and I want to hike all of it.

enviro
2011-06-29, 13:05
Great report Jermm. I've hiked those trails several times and they are some of my favorites. I like to take fishing gear when hiking them.

Jeff
2011-06-29, 13:09
Thanks for sharing.

BSF is my old stomping grounds. Summertime hiking requires you to enjoy hot and humid. Hope your weather was a bit milder.

JERMM
2011-06-29, 13:38
Great report Jermm. I've hiked those trails several times and they are some of my favorites. I like to take fishing gear when hiking them.

i forgot to ask the ranger about fishing there, hoping to on the next trip. trout or what?


Thanks for sharing.

BSF is my old stomping grounds. Summertime hiking requires you to enjoy hot and humid. Hope your weather was a bit milder.

first two days were rather pleasant, temps in the low 80's and night in the mid 60's, humidity wasn't too bad and off and on breeze, after the rain stopped on day three the humidity started to climb, then when the sun popped out it was a bit thick...but nothing more than I'm used to

Hooch
2011-06-30, 12:07
Jermm, you are definitely starting to register on the "Suck-Meter". :beer:
. . . I hiked on my 40th bday. . . .Totally cool that you can remember back that far. :aetsch:

Elder
2011-06-30, 13:05
Jermm, you are definitely starting to register on the "Suck-Meter". :beer:Totally cool that you can remember back that far. :aetsch:

:ahhhhh::ahhhhh::ahhhhh::ahhhhh::ahhhhh::ahhhhh::a hhhhh::ahhhhh:

Hog On Ice
2011-06-30, 13:20
Totally cool that you can remember back that far. :aetsch:

+1 for Hooch and his big brass balls

Cuffs
2011-06-30, 14:12
Jermm, you are definitely starting to register on the "Suck-Meter". :beer:Totally cool that you can remember back that far. :aetsch:


+1 for Hooch and his big brass balls

Thats ok, I'll be seeing him at Hiawassee realllll soonnn....

Hooch
2011-06-30, 14:55
Thats ok, I'll be seeing him at Hiawassee realllll soonnn....Tease. :aetsch::ahhhhh:

Bearpaw
2011-07-01, 13:00
Awesome pictures JERMM. It brings back a lot of memories.

Greentick
2011-07-01, 13:14
Great pics as always. We went there when we only had a 6mo old and our second on the way. Did a canoe trip one day (6mo old rolled around in the muddy floor of the canoe in her USCG-approved floatation device). Hiked another day and since I was busting through a bunch of unmaintained trail (no recent maintenance anyways) I was rewarded with over 140 red-bug-american bites. Good fun.

Crikey
2011-07-01, 13:17
I was rewarded with over 140 red-bug-american bites. Good fun.

I think you had more fun counting them.

JERMM
2011-07-01, 13:20
according to the ranger all the trails are in good shape right now, all that I saw and hiked on were clear with easy hiking. some of the horse trail looked a little chopping from the horses, but hike worthy

Greentick, that's funny, I can see her rolling around like a little rolly polly