Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 51
  1. #1

    Default 24 Days in the Polar Vortex

    Okay boys, I just returned from a long backpacking trip and didn't see a single backpacker for 23 days of my 24 days out. This is a new record. And of course it got cold, butt cold, several times during the trip, and I spent a significant amount of time on the Benton MacKaye trail, so the trip report is included here. For the full trip pics see---

    http://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backpa...ys-in-the-Cold


    BACKPACKING
    THE
    UPPER BALD RIVER
    WILDERNESS

    Trip 152

    DECEMBER 28--JANUARY 20 2014

    TRIP HIGHLIGHTS

    ** 24 DAYS INTO THE NEW YEAR 2014

    ** SEEING NO BACKPACKERS IN 23 OUT OF 24 DAYS A NEW RECORD

    ** TWO NEW CAMPS ON KIRKLAND CREEK

    ** SNOWSTORM ON KIRKLAND CREEK

    ** A 15F HIKE IN A BUTT COLD WIND ON STATE LINE RIDGE

    ** POLAR VORTEX AND ARCTIC OUTBREAK AT -8F ON BROOKSHIRE CREEK

    ** TWO ZERO DAYS IN THE POLAR VORTEX

    ** TWO COLD CREEK CROSSINGS AT 0F

    ** WILL'S CAMP ON SYCAMORE CREEK TRAIL

    ** ON THE WHIGG IN A WINDSTORM

    ** THE WHIGG HELLSTORM RAIN HURRICANE

    ** A COLD WIND IN COLD SPRING GAP

    ** ALL ALONE ON BOB BALD

    ** SNOWSTORM AT 8F ATOP FLATS MOUNTAIN

    ** A NEW CAMP ON THE LONG BRANCH TRAIL

    ** TELLICO RIVER ROADWALK AND OUT



    The longest trip of the Citico years begins with an assortment of possible titles---

    ** The Wild and Wacky World of Backpacking.
    ** The Longest Trip Without Resupply.
    ** 24 Days Off the Grid.
    ** Some Very New Items.
    ** I'm Exped Spooked.
    ** On the Cherokee River.
    ** A Trip Begins in Rain.
    ** The Girls Dropped Me Off.
    ** Pleasure and Pain in the Garden of Eating.
    ** Two Grapes for Sister Sara.
    ** Is That Peanut Butter I See or Are You Just Glad to See Me?
    ** The Heaviest Pack in the Citico Years.

    Anyway, the above 100+ lb pack shows the usual accoutrements of idiocy. 45 lbs of food, books, winter gear, etc.



    The trip begins in the Bald River wilderness which links me to the BMT after about 11 miles.



    Along the Bald River I pass the Cascade waterfall in high water.



    I pass thru the Bald River area and enter the Upper Bald wilderness on the Kirkland Creek trail which gets a cold snap at about 12F and old Kirkland has 11 creek crossings so my croc-clad feet get butt cold.



    Kirkland Creek trail pops me out on the BMT at Sandy Gap and I head north and see Whiggs Meadow and the Citico wilderness over my left shoulder. It's a cold windy day of hiking.



    After Sandy Gap and I reach the Moss Gap dogleg where I get water and begin climbing up State Line Ridge to Hazelnut Knob but before the top I stop at my usual campsite.



    The next day is tough cuz the ridge hike is in a stiff cold wind between Sandy Gap and Rocky Top/Sled Runner Gap but I finally fall off the mountain on the Brookshire Creek trail, also the BMT.

  2. #2

    Default


    On Day 8 of the trip I set up right below Sled Runner Gap on the BMT/Brookshire trail and dangit it's still cold but the worst is coming.



    On Day 9 I descend the Brookshire trail all the way down by the creek crossing where I decide to make my stand against the Polar Rectum/Vortex as it decides to kick my butt. I end spending three days here and on Tuesday morning my temps are -8F. Mt LeConte at the same time is -17F.



    My old tired geese keep me alive during the Arctic Ream Job.



    The Brookshire/BMT during a subzero cold snap.



    My tent kept me alive during the Polar Requiem but it wasn't going nowhere as it was sealed in icy concrete.



    On Day 12 I somehow pack up at 0F and have two bare foot crossings which kill my toes. This is the first crossing on the BMT over Brookshire Creek as the trail climbs up Sugar Mt.



    Here is the second BMT crossing over the Upper Bald River which is now a creek but still requires changing out the boots into crocs. You do not want to get your socks or boots soaked in these temps, so you have to go barefoot.

  3. #3
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    17,776

    Default

    Is butt cold a TN hiking term? I don't care what anyone says I so enjoy hearing that you know yourself and have a handle on your hiking style. I like the way you get away from human civilization for those lengths of time. I bet it results in such mental clarity for you. I haven't done a 23 day without resupply in ??????????? yrs.

  4. #4

    Default


    By Wednesday afternoon the temps get moderate and I reach the top of Sugar Mt on the B Mac and set up by the spring water source.



    By Day 13 I have to descend Sugar Mt in some snow so I get to try out my Kahtoola microspikes for the first time and THEY WORK GREAT!



    I bail off Sugar Mt and cross the Tellico River and start up the Sycamore Creek trail which is a long 7 mile hump with a 3,000 foot elev gain. Here is the trailpost on the first switchback on the Sycamore.



    Uncle Fungus pointing out the BMT blaze on the Sycamore Creek trail. It's a cold rainy day.



    Sweet relief comes when I arrive at Whiggs Meadow at 5,000 feet but a big hurricane wind is coming so I set up off the side of the bald in some trees.



    I go thru a severe windstorm with rain deluges atop the Whigg and this is why I use a Hilleberg tent---cuz even in a small lake the floor stays waterproof---and the 60mph wind gusts kicked my butt yet the tent stayed in one piece.



    I want off the Whigg in the worst way and so on Day 15 I take the BMT to Mud Gap and hike the Skyway BMT to Beech Gap and 2 more miles to Cold Spring Gap where I set up in another cold wind.

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    17,776

    Default

    OK, this is not for you kids: "... make my stand against the Polar Rectum/Vortex", "Arctic ream Job." What the heck is " I'm Exped Spooked",
    "Pleasure and Pain in the Garden of Eating", "Two Grapes for Sister Sara." What kind of books(mags?) are you reading/looking at holed up in that Hilleberg for three days?

  6. #6

    Default


    I leave Cold Gap and climb up to Bob Bald for a side trip before returning to the BMT at Cherry Log Gap and hike here to Glenn Gap for the night of Day 17. The gap has a great water spring.



    Glenn Gap takes me on the BMT to the Pine Ridge trail where I bail off the B Mac and descend down to the South Fork Citico trail for a night and then head up to Beehouse Gap and the Flats Mt trail which overlooks Indian Boundary Lake.



    By Day 19 I'm on top of Flats Mt at 4,000 feet and get one last little snowstorm with temps to 5F.



    I leave the top bald of Flats Mt and start my long descent back to Bald River wilderness.




    A clear shot of State Line Ridge and the same place I was on Days 7 and 8. To the right is Sandy Gap and I went left up to Hazelnut Knob and left all the way to the 3rd knob from the left which is Rocky Top. The highest knob on the left is Beaverdam Bald.



    I return to Bald River wilderness on the Long Branch/North River/Tellico River/Cow Camp connectors and find the cold has followed me down the mountain.



    On Day 24 I leave Bald River and hike down the Tellico River road all the way to the Ranger Station where my ride comes to pick me up. Sayonatra on another great winter trip.

  7. #7
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    17,776

    Default

    At least someone is doing some hiking around here.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    07-18-2010
    Location
    island park,ny
    Age
    62
    Posts
    11,909
    Images
    218

    Default

    great report, tipi.
    thanks

  9. #9
    Registered User
    Join Date
    07-30-2009
    Location
    Woodbridge, Virginia
    Age
    60
    Posts
    2,345

    Default

    Bravo! Thanks for sharing these reports.

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    Is butt cold a TN hiking term? I don't care what anyone says I so enjoy hearing that you know yourself and have a handle on your hiking style. I like the way you get away from human civilization for those lengths of time. I bet it results in such mental clarity for you. I haven't done a 23 day without resupply in ??????????? yrs.
    "Butt Cold" is a technical term which I do not expect the reading public to understand. It's in the same category as "Imbedded thunderstorms", "heat indices", "snow banding" and all the other kind of crap the Wee'tards(weathermen)like to spew.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    OK, this is not for you kids: "... make my stand against the Polar Rectum/Vortex", "Arctic ream Job." What the heck is " I'm Exped Spooked",
    "Pleasure and Pain in the Garden of Eating", "Two Grapes for Sister Sara." What kind of books(mags?) are you reading/looking at holed up in that Hilleberg for three days?
    "Exped Spooked" comes from a recent Thanksgiving trip whereby on Day 1 of a 19 day swaray my blasted Exped downmat burst a down tube baffle and I had to detour 12 miles to pick up an emergency Thermarest cache.

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Dogwood View Post
    At least someone is doing some hiking around here.
    I know, when I got home a couple days ago I was anxious to check out who is currently hiking the AT on Trail Journals and wanted to read their reports during the Polar Quagmire. Oops, funny thing is, no one had anything! No January starts this year I guess.

  12. #12
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-28-2007
    Location
    Georgia and Hawaii
    Posts
    17,776

    Default

    LOL. Oh my. Wee'tards. You're on a roll.

  13. #13

    Default

    Dude. awesome.

  14. #14
    Registered User
    Join Date
    04-01-2013
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN
    Posts
    671

    Default

    Tipi Walter,

    Thanks for sharing. Really impressed that you came back with your nose, ears and all your digits intact. I got a little frost bite just reading about your hike.

  15. #15
    Registered User
    Join Date
    02-04-2013
    Location
    New Orleans
    Posts
    4,033

    Default

    I'm intrigued by the double prolite solution with an r value of 7. I have a prolite 3 and was thinking of supplementing it with a ccf pad but maybe I should get another prolite 3 or 4 and tie them together like in one of your photos... I find sleeping on one prolite comfortable but it has just a 2.7 r value alone. I don't get out much in winter.
    HST/JMT August 2016
    TMB/Alps Sept 2015
    PCT Mile 0-857 - Apr/May 2015
    Foothills Trail Feb 2015
    Colorado Trail Aug 2014
    AT: Rockfish Gap to Boiling Springs 2014
    John Muir Trail Aug/Sept 2013

  16. #16
    Registered User
    Join Date
    08-04-2011
    Location
    Noblesville, IN
    Age
    34
    Posts
    160

    Default

    Very cool, well actually very cold!

  17. #17
    Registered User Hot Flash's Avatar
    Join Date
    02-06-2013
    Location
    Sacramento, CA
    Age
    57
    Posts
    421

    Default

    A++ would shiver through reading this again!
    Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day; teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime; give a man religion and he will die praying for a fish.

  18. #18

    Default

    bowing before you...."WE ARE NOT WORTHY !!!!" (and I don't think I want to be....brrrr)

    Great Report, though.
    ...the maddest of all is to see life as it is, and not as it should be. Cervantes

  19. #19

    Default

    His name was Tipi Walter, and they say he wanted to be a mountain man. The story goes that he was a man of proper wit and adventurous spirit, suited to the mountains. Nobody knows where abouts he come from and don't seem to matter much. He was a loner of a man and ghostly stories about the tall hills didn't scare him none. He was lookin for a sturdy tent and with Hilleberg you couldn't go no better. Bought him that witch might sustain him, and other such items that went with being a mountain man, and said good-bye to whatever life was down there below.

    - Walk on friend..

  20. #20

    Default

    Looks like an amazing trip! Thanks for sharing!

Page 1 of 3 1 2 3 LastLast
++ New Posts ++

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •