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  1. #1

    Default 18 Day Quest for Indian Lake

    I return from an 18 day October 2020 backpacking trip into the mountains of TN and NC---and here are the trails I backpacked---

    Flats Mt to Beehouse Gap down to Citico Creek.
    Rocky Flats to Doublecamp Creek
    Crowder Branch up to Fodderstack Ridge.
    Big Stack trail down to Slickrock Creek.

    7 crossings downstream on Slickrock Creek.
    Nichols Cove Trail up to Windy Gap.
    Windy Gap Trail to Big Fat Gap.
    Hangover Lead South Trail to Hangover Mt.
    Seven Mile Ridge west to Bob Bald down to Cold Spring Gap.

    Trail 149 to Brush Mt top trailhead.
    Brush Mt Trail Down to Citico Creek during Hurricane Zeta (28th backpack of the hardest trail in the Citico).
    South Fork Trail to Beehouse Gap to Indian Boundary Lake and OUT.


    Little Mitten and Zoe Dog drop me off at the top trailhead to Flats Mt at 4,000 feet---in Tennessee. Pack of choice is a big Dan McHale load hauler coming in just above 100 lbs. Parts of the pack are made from yellow spectra.


    I'm all geared up at the Flats Mt trailhead for a short climb to the top of Flats and a CS I call Camp Hope. Pack is too big cuz I'm carrying winter gear and 44ozs of white gas and 5 book rolls and too much food.


    As I climb up Flats Mt I have to stop and eat some Smartweed provided by Miss Nature. Good eating.


    Flats Mt is a pretty trail at around 6.5 miles in length and has two water sources I'm aware of---along with many switchbacks and several nut hill climbs.


    On Day 3 I survey some of my gear---like this new sea to summit eVent sleeping bag stuff sack---a dry sack which also holds extra clothing and all stuffed down into the bottom of my pack. One of 5 book rolls is visible in this pic below sack---along with two plastic jars holding peanut butter and vegan mayonnaise.


    My fuel and MSR titanium kettle with pot cozy. 44oz of white gas---a little too much but extra can be used to heat up tent and dry out inside condensation.


    I fall off Flats Mt and reach Citico Creek and meet up with my friend Patman out to do some loops in Citico wilderness. He has a gossamer gear pack.

  2. #2

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    I leave Citico Creek on Rocky Flats trail and get to the old homestead Chimney and meet up with Patman again as we talk to a lost dayhiker.


    I punch out Rocky Flats and connect to Crowder Branch trail at this bottom trailhead near Doublecamp Creek. Crow Branch has some real nut climbs but it's a pretty place.


    I climb Crow Branch and top out on Fodderstack Ridge and take Big Stack trail into NC down to Slickrock Creek and go downstream 7 crossings and prepare for this last crossing over to the Nichols Cove side. Crossings were cold and always difficult with a 90-100 lb pack.


    A pretty Autumn scene on Slickrock Creek in NC.


    After my fun on Slickrock Creek I take Nichols Cove trail all the way up to Big Fat Gap and stop on Windy Gap trail and camp by this "secret" spring for water.


    As I'm camped on Windy Gap trail these two BMT backpackers walk by and afterwards I call them The Rude Ones. They won't allow their picture taken and I say "Aw come on, you're the first backpackers I've seen in 9 days" and they just keep walking.


    I leave Windy Spring Camp and pass thru Big Fat Gap and begin my 3 mile trek up Hangover Mt with a gain of 2,000 feet. It's tough. I camp midway and see my old friend AJ Sisson on his way to the top.

  3. #3

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    As I'm camped below Hangover Mt my old friend John Quillen (right) passes by and we have a grand reunion. He's a mountaineer and climbed Mt Everest two years ago. Everyone is heading up Hangover for a big meetup.


    This family camps near me below Hangover Mt and they are Jacqui, Marguerite and Andrew---all headed up to Hangover Mt the next day---so I join them for the trek. They came up the night before and got "lost" on a nighthike to the top and turned back to camp here.


    Marguerite is ready to head up the mountain with her little pack---next to my big pack.


    I reach the top of Hangover Mt and greet Quillen's crew.


    We get some good October rains thru the night and the next morning it's a little cold and wet. Bert Wildcat Emmerson is on the right---triple crowner as he's backpacked the AT, PCT, CDT and Colorado Trail and a bunch others.


    Marguerite showing off her REI tent on Hangover Mt.


    Left to Right---Jacqui, Bert, ?, Marguerite, Andrew, ?, John Quillen, Uncle Fungus.

  4. #4

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    I leave Hangover Mt and head west on Seven Mile Ridge and reach Bob Bald at 5,300 feet and see some backpackers passing thru.


    After a 6 mile day I reach Trail 149 and this trailpost for the hardest trail in Citico---Brush Mt. It's my 28th backpack of the thing and of course I get lost two times which eats up hours out of my day.


    Welcome to Brush Mt trail---at the Mother Blowdown. It's always fun to dump my pack and drag it under a blowdown.


    Brush Mt is a very difficult trail to follow---down or up. Here the trail crosses the creek 4 times and the trail is right behind my pack and goes under this blowdown.


    I finish Brush Mt to South Fork Creek and reach Citico Creek again and squat here for 4 nights during Hurricane Zeta.


    Citico Creek next to camp before Zeta.


    After Zeta.

  5. #5

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    After the hurricane I leave Citico Creek and in 5 miles reach Indian Lake to end the trip. My trip started 18 days before by backpacking across the top of this mountain behind the lake---Flats Mt.

  6. #6

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    Amazing Tipi, Always love your trip reports
    Trail Miles: 4,090.3 - AT Trips: 71
    AT Map 1: 2004.8
    AT Map 2: 265.0
    Sheltowee Trace Map: 116.0
    BMT Map: 57.7
    Pinhoti Trail Map: 31.5

  7. #7
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    Default

    As always, love the pictures. Looks like a lot of fun.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  8. #8
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    04-22-2015
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    Default 18 Day Quest for Indian Lake

    Love the Smartweed snack photo...just ate some myself last weekend!

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mockernut View Post
    Love the Smartweed snack photo...just ate some myself last weekend!
    Seeds are decent and leaves are okay too.

  10. #10

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    Hey Walter, great report! As you didn't see me in week 3 and might have guessed, I wound up in Grayson Highlands area. Did all the Lewis Fork and Little Wilson trails as well as all the highlands park trails, then home for a day and back out to the Smokies for four more. Looks like you had plenty of company though.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    Hey Walter, great report! As you didn't see me in week 3 and might have guessed, I wound up in Grayson Highlands area. Did all the Lewis Fork and Little Wilson trails as well as all the highlands park trails, then home for a day and back out to the Smokies for four more. Looks like you had plenty of company though.
    I was thinking about you up in Virginia---as I seem to remember the Tent Cops instituted a new policy I think for their Overnight Parking---like 2 nights max??? Used to be you could leave your car there for weeks.

  12. #12

  13. #13

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    Tipi you should have your pack take some pictures of you !

  14. #14
    Registered User JNI64's Avatar
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    What only 7 creek crossings you're slacking. Just joking of course.
    Awesome pictures and trip report tipi thanks for sharing.
    Much respect and appreciation for a true spirit of the wild.
    Your pack is bigger than Marguerite.
    Hey does that smartweed work I mean does it make you any smarter. Because I tried that smart water for a year it didn't make me any smarter.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JNI64 View Post
    Because I tried that smart water for a year it didn't make me any smarter.
    Quote checks out.

    H2O.jpg


    BTW, I do like those flip/sport caps that come on some of them. They meter out water well for backcountry handwashing ... much less wasted. I figure, maybe 1 smartwater bottle is worth it for the sport cap alone.

    [Then I realized that dishwashing soap caps do the same thing ... one of those is now my cap-in-waiting].

    Back to our regularly-scheduled program ....

  16. #16
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    it took you 18 days to find indian boundary lake?


    well, shoot....

    coulda just driven there.......



    and is there a link to the full album of photos?

    i always like to check out the full ones to get some beta...

  17. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    it took you 18 days to find indian boundary lake?


    well, shoot....

    coulda just driven there.......



    and is there a link to the full album of photos?

    i always like to check out the full ones to get some beta...
    S

    Same thing with Georgia to Maine thruhike---why not just drive instead?

    Here's a link to the pics---

    https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backp...r-Indian-Lake/

  18. #18
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    the log gate-----that's interesting.....didnt know that was there....

    is that to dam the creek, then when the logs are floated down, they release the water and get logs moving?

    and you saying it took a couple of hours to get to beauty rock coming down----
    that's the, imo, the trickiest part of the trail...

    coming up---i spent about an hour and a half trying to figure out where to go...

    and 4 nights in one camp?

    what's the longest you've stayed in one camp?

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TNhiker View Post
    the log gate-----that's interesting.....didnt know that was there....

    is that to dam the creek, then when the logs are floated down, they release the water and get logs moving?

    and you saying it took a couple of hours to get to beauty rock coming down----
    that's the, imo, the trickiest part of the trail...

    coming up---i spent about an hour and a half trying to figure out where to go...

    and 4 nights in one camp?

    what's the longest you've stayed in one camp?
    The Log Gate used to be the start of a footbridge which crossed Citico Creek into "Warden's Field"---a little community with a post office etc.

    Blizzards usually keep me pinned in camps, or hurricanes.

    TRIP 118 084-L.jpg
    Back in January 2011 I got hit with a series of three blizzards and spent 3 nights/4 days here on Bob Bald---and then moved a couple miles down to Cold Spring Gap where I got hit with more cold 5F and more snow---

    TRIP 118 180-L.jpg
    6 nights/7 days in Cold Spring Gap.

    TRIP 118 176-L.jpg

    And then in December 2018 I was caught in a terrible ice storm on Bob Bald and had to spend 6 nights/7 days locked in my tent cuz the trail off the mountain was destroyed by ice blowdowns blocking the trail. It took me 3 days to cut my way out.

    Trip 194 (261)-XL.jpg
    The icestorm of 2018.

    Trip 194 (266)-L.jpg

    Trip 194 (266)-XL.jpg
    This is the trail off the mountain---impassable.

  20. #20

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    A snowed-in fir grove is something I gotta do. Quite a get together at hangover, must have been fun.

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