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  1. #1

    Default 15 Day Quest for Murr Creek

    Okay boys and girls---I just got back from a 15 day backpacking trip into the Bald River backcountry which is located in the mountains of Tennessee.

    Here are the main trails hiked---
    ** Warrior's Passage to Waucheesi Mt and the BMT at Six Mile Gap.
    ** Kirkland Creek trail down with 11 crossings (part of the Upper Bald River wilderness).
    ** Bald River trail heading north.
    ** Cow Camp/Skull Mt (aka Henderson Top).
    ** Forest logging roads 408/409 to Sugar Mt.
    ** Brookshire Creek trail up.
    ** State Line Ridge heading west to Sandy Gap and Six Mile Gap.
    ** Warrior's Passage trail out.

    Trip 204
    May 1-15, 2020.

    All trip pics can be found here---

    https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backp...or-Murr-Creek/


    My shuttle ridge drops me off on Old Furnace road near Tellico Plains TN and I get a first day gear pic showing my 80 lb McHale pack with the usual accoutrements of idiocy.


    I hike several miles and reach Warrior's Passage trailhead and descend to Wildcat Creek and set up camp and my backpacking buddy Patman shows up for the fun. On Day 2 we both have to cross Wildcat Creek in order to follow WP trail. Patman is using a Gossamer Gear pack.


    The water of Wildcat Creek is cold and somewhat deep plus this month of May trip got hit with some very cold temps---like 24F on May 9-10. Patman takes off to Waucheesi Mt and I follow behind 30 minutes later.


    I finish Warrior's Passage trail and pull the tough nut climb up and over Waucheesi Mt and descend steeply to Six Mile Gap which is on the BMT---and has a "secret" water source if you know where to look. Solo tent of choice? Hilleberg Keron at 8 lbs 10 ozs.


    I leave Six Mile Gap and in 2 miles reach Sandy Gap and get off the BMT for a fun filled 6 or 7 mile trek down Kirkland Creek trail which requires me to stay in crocs all day for its 11 creek crossings. The final crossing is Bald River which is on the left in this pic---with Kirkland Creek merging in from the right.


    Kirkland trail dumps me out on Bald River road and I hike pass a car campground now closed---thank you Odin I'm on foot and not in a car.

  2. #2

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    I enter the back trail of Bald River wilderness on Trail 88 and stop at this mandatory reststop at the Cascades waterfall on Bald River.


    As I trek thru BR wilderness I run into Mr. Gray Buckles who is out doing trailwork on BR trail.


    I use BR trail to hook into Cow Camp/Skull Mt trails which are rarely backpacked trails in the area. I carry full water all day so I can squat on Skull Mt and I find a level gap and set up right on the trail. (Also known as Henderson Top trail).


    Skull Mt gets me to two forest service gated logging cuts---408 and 409---which if followed take you to Sugar Mt in about 6 miles. I set up camp on Sugar Mt and the next day take the BMT off Sugar and hit this wonderful blowdown.


    While on Sugar Mt I get a call out to Patman telling him of my whereabouts and then drop off Sugar and climb Brookshire Creek trail to Sled Runner Gap and Rocky Top Mt---showing Patman on top of Rocky Top. Now we're on State Line Ridge which is a roller coaster of hills and goes from Sled Runner west to Sandy Gap.


    It's a good surprise to see Patman so we backpack off Rocky Top and after two big nut hill drops we arrive in Water Gap in a very cold wind. Patman's tent is a TarpTent Stratospire.


    State Line Ridge is also part of the BMT and so I get a good pic of Patman by a trail blaze. We backpack together all day and split up in Sandy Gap where I camp and he continues on 2+ miles to his car on Waucheesi Mt.

  3. #3

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    State Line Ridge returns me on the BMT to Six Mile Gap and I climb up and over Waucheesi Mt and return to Warrior's Passage trail and reach this noticed blowdown on the trail which I first saw on Day 2. By Day 12 I'm ready to spend some time clearing the mess with my folding saw.


    VOILA!! Trail open!! Took about an hour.


    I backtrack and finish Warrior's Passage and roadwalk Old Furnace road and take this gated logging cut road 5013 to a red marked CS on Murr Creek for my last night. The Quest is complete!!


    The final CS of the trip---on Murr Creek.


    Same place I was on Day 1 and this pic is on Day 15 as I hike 4 miles out to reach my shuttle ride.


    Trip ends at Tellico Beach Drive In where I hang out and wait for my ride.

  4. #4
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    Great pix thanks for the report. Stuck off trail now, so it's great to live vicariously.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Midwest Mike View Post
    Great pix thanks for the report. Stuck off trail now, so it's great to live vicariously.
    Thanks for the input. Now I'm gearing up for something in June---pit viper season.

  6. #6

    Default

    Hey Tipi ,you did post a report, must of have missed it. It was great to reunite for two trips (well two for me anyway). I meant to tell you that on the Friday that you came out of the forest I ran into local hiker Steve McCullough in mid Citico loop (North Fork -South Fork) near the 149 junction with 95. I've met him before several years ago and we recognized each other; he mentioned that he ran into you on Warriors Passage.

    I was going to stop and camp at Barrel Gap, but in talking with Steve, he mentioned that he had wanted to camp his first night of the loop at the rock wall above old goat falls on the North Fork but didn't make it that far. I stole his idea and spent that Friday night there; what an awesome spot. I wound up hiking up to Cherry Log gap from the rock wall , then on to Pine Mtn, and got that wild hair to bush-whack back down to the North Fork. Fun but exhausting as I then backtracked up the North Fork to Cherry Log and on to Barrel Gap for my second and last night.

    I've spent the last two weekends in the Smokies, and it's pretty darn busy as expected. I think I'll be back to the upper bald soon.

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    Hey Tipi ,you did post a report, must of have missed it. It was great to reunite for two trips (well two for me anyway). I meant to tell you that on the Friday that you came out of the forest I ran into local hiker Steve McCullough in mid Citico loop (North Fork -South Fork) near the 149 junction with 95. I've met him before several years ago and we recognized each other; he mentioned that he ran into you on Warriors Passage.

    I was going to stop and camp at Barrel Gap, but in talking with Steve, he mentioned that he had wanted to camp his first night of the loop at the rock wall above old goat falls on the North Fork but didn't make it that far. I stole his idea and spent that Friday night there; what an awesome spot. I wound up hiking up to Cherry Log gap from the rock wall , then on to Pine Mtn, and got that wild hair to bush-whack back down to the North Fork. Fun but exhausting as I then backtracked up the North Fork to Cherry Log and on to Barrel Gap for my second and last night.

    I've spent the last two weekends in the Smokies, and it's pretty darn busy as expected. I think I'll be back to the upper bald soon.
    I forgot to include Steve McCullough's pic here in my trip report---



    Yeah, that rock ledge camp on NF Creek is awesomely . . . awesome. Spent many a night there over the years---



    I remember one time I was coming down from Cherry Log Gap and reached the treacherous rock covered in ice and had to lower my pack down with a rope---



    Trail 149 from North Fork to Brush Mt/Barrel Gap can really suck on occasion.

  8. #8
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    and got that wild hair to bush-whack back down to the North Fork


    you did that bush whack twice now?

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