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View Full Version : Stiffknee Trail to Slickrock Creek Trail



Traffic Jam
2014-10-31, 08:51
Yesterday I parked at Farr Gap and hiked down Stiffknee Trail, trying to find Slickrock Creek Trail. I couldn't find it, despite bushwhacking and walking down Little Slickrock Creek. There was no trail sign where I thought it should be and the blowdowns and undergrowth were pretty bad. Has anyone been in this area recently or is anyone familiar enough with the area to help me figure out what I did wrong?

Hog On Ice
2014-10-31, 13:59
sounds like the Bearpaw route: http://hikinghq.net/forum/showthread.php?7626-Slickrock-Creek-Ford-Bypass-pages&p=329934#post329934

in other words I think you got off track

Traffic Jam
2014-10-31, 15:59
I'm sure I was off track.

As you're facing the parking lot at Farr Gap, I took the trail to the left. I descended down to the creek and then climbed up a ridge until I was about 50-75 feet above the creek. This was 3-4 miles from Farr Gap. There were two other hikers on the ridge who were also confused. We backtracked but never found the trail that crosses the creek. I parted ways with the other hikers and went back up the ridge to explore. On the ridge, there was a junction where several trails met and thought this was Yellowhammer Gap. I continued straight and descended to a gravel road that took me into an area with some barns and houses.

Does any of this sound familiar?

SGT Rock
2014-10-31, 20:05
Once you started climbing again you were off trail. There is a very steep down to a pronounced saddle where the trail peels off to the right as you are heading north on the BMT. In the last couple of years I've been told that they opened a trail on that ridge that climbs up from that spot. This is where Bearpaw got off track and I think you must have as well. That section of the BMT from Farr Gap to the Stiffknee intersection with Slickrock Creek has lost it's maintainer a couple of years ago and has been the target of a few club trips that for various reasons have been canceled. There was a plan to work that section last Saturday but I was working, so I don't know if that trip went through either.

Traffic Jam
2014-10-31, 21:23
Thanks ya'll. At least I was in the general vicinity.

SGT Rock, I'm pretty sure that maintenance crew didn't work last Saturday. If you hear of any more plans to work on that section please let me know, I'd love to help.

saimyoji
2014-10-31, 22:32
Privvies all along there need emptying. Just sayin...

Lugnut
2014-10-31, 22:55
Isn't that a job usually done by midgets?

Superman
2014-10-31, 22:59
Isn't that a job usually done by midgets?

lmao

Sargevining
2014-10-31, 23:31
I thought we were calling them midges now.

I am so freakin confused.

Roche
2014-10-31, 23:33
Midges is short for midgets.

Superman
2014-11-01, 05:25
Midges is short for midgets.

...or is the little people?

john pickett
2014-11-02, 09:34
I thought the Little People were called Leprachauns. Maybe the privies will be magically emptied next March!

saimyoji
2014-11-02, 12:29
Midget is fine.

sheepdog
2014-11-02, 14:10
I thought the Little People were called Leprachauns. Maybe the privies will be magically emptied next March!

that's not the pot at the end of the rainbow

Hog On Ice
2014-11-02, 14:58
where there is smoke there is pot

Sargevining
2014-11-03, 08:56
Midget is fine.

We're going to be fined if we say midget? I thought that was just about baking cakes and taking wedding pictures.

This country is going right into the crapper.

Can I say crapper?

sheepdog
2014-11-03, 11:11
We're going to be fined if we say midget? I thought that was just about baking cakes and taking wedding pictures.

This country is going right into the crapper.

Can I say crapper?

ahahahahahahahahaha

Superman
2014-11-03, 11:23
We're going to be fined if we say midget? I thought that was just about baking cakes and taking wedding pictures.

This country is going right into the crapper.

Can I say crapper?

No, you can't say crapper. The politically correct term is poo parlor.:angel:

Beowulf
2014-11-04, 07:55
I'm sure I was off track.

As you're facing the parking lot at Farr Gap, I took the trail to the left. I descended down to the creek and then climbed up a ridge until I was about 50-75 feet above the creek. This was 3-4 miles from Farr Gap. There were two other hikers on the ridge who were also confused. We backtracked but never found the trail that crosses the creek. I parted ways with the other hikers and went back up the ridge to explore. On the ridge, there was a junction where several trails met and thought this was Yellowhammer Gap. I continued straight and descended to a gravel road that took me into an area with some barns and houses.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Assuming NOBO, when you cross Slickrock Creek, you turn left (north) and go downstream about 200 yards or so to the Ike Branch Trail Junction. There is a sign there. From there, you go up the hill around 3/8th of a mile, Nichols Cove Trail joins from the right, (sign post) but keep going about 200 yards further to the junction of Ike Branch and Hangover Lead North. At that point, a trail goes uphill to the actual Yellowhammer Gap, where Belding Trail starts. There are sign posts at all these points, but they might not be the clearest. We are actually planning new signs along that area, coming in Spring.
Regarding the "area with some barns and houses", the only buildings on that side of Cheoah River nearby is Tapoco Lodge, but it does not fit that description. Can't place the location otherwise.
All those sign posts were in place as late as 3 weeks ago when I went thru.

SGT Rock
2014-11-04, 09:46
I'm pretty sure he never made it that far. Near Farr Gap they have reopened an old trail that isn't on any map. Tipi Walter has told me it is there. And if anyone would know, he would. Bearpaw got off track there as well. But here is the thing: I don't know who opened it up because I don't think the FS would randomly do it without putting at least a post at the intersection. And I doubt anyone has permission to open that trail. I've not personally walked it yet to verify what hikers are telling me is there.

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Traffic Jam
2014-11-04, 09:46
Thank you Beowulf. I'm questioning if I was even on Stiffknee Trail...there were no signs anywhere and no visible trail except the one that took me to the ridge.

As I walked down the creek looking for the trail, I passed a weathered gate across the stream. There was also an old barbed wire fence and a sign on the ground that said Tapoco Foundry. I'll try to upload photos of the area with the barns and residences.

Traffic Jam
2014-11-04, 09:51
57175716

5715

Crikey
2014-11-04, 10:07
I'm pretty sure he never made it that far. Near Farr Gap they have reopened an old trail that isn't on any map. Tipi Walter has told me it is there. And if anyone would know, he would. Bearpaw got off track there as well. But here is the thing: I don't know who opened it up because I don't think the FS would randomly do it without putting at least a post at the intersection. And I doubt anyone has permission to open that trail. I've not personally walked it yet to verify what hikers are telling me is there.

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Pardon this stupid question, but how does one "open" a trail? Clear it? Mark it? (other than a post)

Hog On Ice
2014-11-04, 10:17
clear the brush and make the treadway fairly obvious is usually the first step if not following the official procedure

Traffic Jam
2014-11-04, 11:03
There was blue tape marking the trail all the way up to the ridge.

5718

Law Dawg (ret)
2014-11-04, 13:08
Midget is fine.


We're going to be fined if we say midget?


Only in Russia is fine for saying midget...tovarisch.

Beowulf
2014-11-04, 14:13
Thank you Beowulf. I'm questioning if I was even on Stiffknee Trail...there were no signs anywhere and no visible trail except the one that took me to the ridge.

As I walked down the creek looking for the trail, I passed a weathered gate across the stream. There was also an old barbed wire fence and a sign on the ground that said Tapoco Foundry. I'll try to upload photos of the area with the barns and residences.

Jam, Stiffknee Trail is only west of Slickrock Creek,ie, the Tennessee Side. If you went from Farr Gap, you would have had to cross Slickrock Creek to get to the Tapoco Area. I don't recall any sign about the Tapoco Foundry. Slickrock Creek is far too wide in that area to have any type of gate across it. If somehow you did cross Slickrock Creek and got to Yellowhammer Gap, you would have seen at least two signs. There is an old trail from Yellowhammer Gap down to Tapoco, but it is badly overgrown and probably not followable down to the Tapoco Lodge.
Is it possible that from Farr Gap, you went south on the Fodderstack Trail? Although even with that, I know of no "barns and residences" anywhere near. Looking forward to the photos. You can email me at "bmta@frontier.com" is the easy way.
The attached photo is at Yellowhammer Gap in September. Behind the ladies is the short path down to Ike Branch Trail, again with a sign. Going off to the left and up is the Hangover Lead Trail. The Belding Trail would be straight ahead for the ladies. Yellowhammer Gap is very narrow-you could not have gone thru and missed the sign.
B.

sheepdog
2014-11-04, 14:51
Also he could have just asked one of the ladies which way to go...sheesh..

SGT Rock
2014-11-04, 15:26
Pardon this stupid question, but how does one "open" a trail? Clear it? Mark it? (other than a post)


clear the brush and make the treadway fairly obvious is usually the first step if not following the official procedure

That is what I am talking about. If Traffic Jam is the third person I've heard about this from in the last couple of years, then the intersection of this trail to the BMT is not marked in any way as another trail. The Stiffknee trail has not had a maintainer on it for a couple of years either, it needs someone to adopt it (please, someone interested - volunteer!) and is scheduled to get a crew to go work on it from our BMT maintainers for other sections. So if someone "opened" this unauthorized trail it is most likely easier to find than the actual BMT. Based on Tipi Walter and Bearpaw's description I think I know what the trail does, goes along a ridge to a powerline which you can follow old roads down to the lake.

OK, that said, I thought this was Traffic Jam's route as well. Except as far as I know, there are not any structures anywhere in the area like the one's in his photographs. Seeing those makes me think that this is going somewhere else all together. I'd say based on the fact there were structures like that, he must have left the wilderness area and walked into private land, and he would have remembered crossing Slickrock Creek if that happened from where he started. I wish you had a GPS track. I'm thinking of taking my son out hiking on the 14-15-16 and maybe walking the trail I am thinking of with a GPS to see where it goes.

Traffic Jam
2014-11-04, 15:35
That is what I am talking about. If Traffic Jam is the third person I've heard about this from in the last couple of years, then the intersection of this trail to the BMT is not marked in any way as another trail. The Stiffknee trail has not had a maintainer on it for a couple of years either, it needs someone to adopt it (please, someone interested - volunteer!) and is scheduled to get a crew to go work on it from our BMT maintainers for other sections. So if someone "opened" this unauthorized trail it is most likely easier to find than the actual BMT. Based on Tipi Walter and Bearpaw's description I think I know what the trail does, goes along a ridge to a powerline which you can follow old roads down to the lake.

OK, that said, I thought this was Traffic Jam's route as well. Except as far as I know, there are not any structures anywhere in the area like the one's in his photographs. Seeing those makes me think that this is going somewhere else all together. I'd say based on the fact there were structures like that, he must have left the wilderness area and walked into private land, and he would have remembered crossing Slickrock Creek if that happened from where he started. I wish you had a GPS track. I'm thinking of taking my son out hiking on the 14-15-16 and maybe walking the trail I am thinking of with a GPS to see where it goes.

Traffic Jam is a she :). I hope to go back next week with a GPS to try to figure this out.

SGT Rock
2014-11-04, 15:36
My bad. And thanks!

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Beowulf
2014-11-04, 17:44
My bad. And thanks!

Sent from my SCH-R970 using Tapatalk
Traffic Jam, my apologies also. With a look at the satellite photos, the only thing I can see is the village of Pleasant Grove to the northwest of Farr Gap, but no idea about the "tapoco foundry" sign. Cannot imagine you got from Farr Gap to Tapoco Lodge without crossing a obvious trail or seeing a sign.

Traffic Jam
2014-11-04, 19:21
Traffic Jam, my apologies also. With a look at the satellite photos, the only thing I can see is the village of Pleasant Grove to the northwest of Farr Gap, but no idea about the "tapoco foundry" sign. Cannot imagine you got from Farr Gap to Tapoco Lodge without crossing a obvious trail or seeing a sign.

No worries.

Thank you Beowulf, you're right. I checked it out on Google Earth and I ended up northwest near Pleasant Grove. I don't know how I and two other hikers missed the turn to Citico Creek Trail. I'll have to try again and see what happens.

Beowulf
2014-11-04, 20:04
No worries.

Thank you Beowulf, you're right. I checked it out on Google Earth and I ended up northwest near Pleasant Grove. I don't know how I and two other hikers missed the turn to Citico Creek Trail. I'll have to try again and see what happens.

Sometimes the best trips start with, "Gee, I wonder where that goes?"

SGT Rock
2014-11-05, 08:05
My son and I plan to head out to Farr Gap on 15 & 16 November if the weather holds OK. We'll try and scout that "other trail" and maybe make the BMT at that point more obvious.