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Thread: Newton Bald

  1. #1
    Registered User stilllife's Avatar
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    Default Newton Bald

    What is the water source at site 52 on Newton Bald? Thanks.

  2. #2

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    A spring just down the hill from the campsite. It's signed.

  3. #3

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    In dry times, you may have to keep following downhill to pickup enough flow.

  4. #4
    Registered User stilllife's Avatar
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    Thanks guys

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    Prepare yourself to make only ONE trip to the water source (if possible)...

    For starters, it's about a 75' vertical drop down a steep hillside. Can be treacherous if the ground is wet (i.e. slip on mud).

    But the last time I was at Newton Bald this summer, there were about 3 large downed tree between the campsite and the water source.
    The climbs over the trunks and branches were so bad that I had to bush-whack my way back up the hill.

    After the recent rains, I expect water flow to be pretty good.
    But it was low when I was last there.
    There was plenty of flow, but it was difficult to find a focused flow with enough drop to catch it in my Evernew bag for filtering.
    If you have a cup for scoping, things might go faster for you.


    I must say that it can be some of the cleanest water I've seen in the park.
    First time I ever camped at Newton Bald, I had a water filter with the Silt-Stopper pre-filter.
    There was NOTHING visible in the pre-filter after I filtered my water.

  6. #6
    Registered User rmitchell's Avatar
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    Late September I went to Newton Bald from the Thomas Divide trailhead. The spring was flowing pretty well.

    I did notice the steep muddy decent to the springs but the trees that HooKoo mentioned had been cut.

  7. #7
    Registered User Wheezy's Avatar
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    I would echo the previous remarks. You only want to go down that hill once if you can help it. We were there a few years ago and had to go down the stream a little further to find food flow. But it is excellent water once you get it.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Leonidas
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    I was there last week on my BMT thruhike, flow was good but the blowdowns from Zeta had almost blocked access to the water source at the closest point.
    AT: 471 mi
    Benton MacKaye Trail '20
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    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/c/LeonidasontheTrail

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by JC13 View Post
    I was there last week on my BMT thruhike, flow was good but the blowdowns from Zeta had almost blocked access to the water source at the closest point.
    I will be there on this upcoming weekend. Are there a ton of down trees? Is it miserable? Bringing someone along with me and don't want them to have a bad experience. I don't care about far away sources and blowdowns, but they would.

  10. #10
    Leonidas
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    No, the Smokies were pretty mild in terms of blowdown damage. The Blue Ridge, GA area was horrible.
    AT: 471 mi
    Benton MacKaye Trail '20
    Pinhoti Trail '18-19'

    @leonidasonthetrail https://www.youtube.com/c/LeonidasontheTrail

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    Quote Originally Posted by centerfieldr162 View Post
    I will be there on this upcoming weekend. Are there a ton of down trees? Is it miserable? Bringing someone along with me and don't want them to have a bad experience. I don't care about far away sources and blowdowns, but they would.
    I believe what JC13 is trying to say is that the trail down the hill towards the water source is clear, but when you get to where the spring comes out of the ground, new tree falls are blocking easy access to the water. So you'll either have to navigate thru downed tree limbs to get to the water at the spring, or walk around the downed tree and access the water from farther down the hill.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    I believe what JC13 is trying to say is that the trail down the hill towards the water source is clear, but when you get to where the spring comes out of the ground, new tree falls are blocking easy access to the water. So you'll either have to navigate thru downed tree limbs to get to the water at the spring, or walk around the downed tree and access the water from farther down the hill.
    Sounds good guys. Thanks 🍻 will update after this weekend

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    centerfielder162,

    Last time I stayed on Newton Bald (might have been 10 years ago) we broke camp with the intent of heading down Newton Bald Trail toward Smokemont. There had been a somewhat recent reroute of the trail (or something like that) and we incorrectly left the camp on an abandoned trail. After crossing way too many downed trees, we realized our error and headed back to camp to find the correct trail.

    10 years later, it will probably be much harder to make the mistake we did. But just giving you a heads up in case there is still evidence of this trail.

    Otherwise, if the weather is good, 52 is really a lovely place to spend the night. Have a great trip.

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    Quote Originally Posted by madgoat View Post
    ...Last time I stayed on Newton Bald (might have been 10 years ago) we broke camp with the intent of heading down Newton Bald Trail toward Smokemont. There had been a somewhat recent reroute of the trail (or something like that) and we incorrectly left the camp on an abandoned trail...
    I've been staying at Newton Bald for only about the last 7 years, and from what I've seen, that shouldn't be an issue.

    However, the trail layout around Newton Bald can be a bit disorienting.
    What you can't see from the $1 Trail Map is the way Thomas Divide and Newton Bald encircle the campsite.
    NewtonBaldCS.png
    Because the campsite sits atop a tree covered hill, you can't see any of these trails around you.
    The last time I stayed at Newton Bald, I came in on Thomas Divide from the north and intended to return in that direction. When we left the campsite, we likely hiked about 100' down Newton Bald trail toward Smokemont (rather than towards Thomas Divide) before turning around, walking the path AROUND the campsite, and making sure I don't go the wrong way at the intersection half way around that U-Turn
    Last edited by HooKooDooKu; 11-20-2020 at 12:21.

  15. #15

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    Hey guys just wanted to give an update. Had a really nice night on Newton Bald. Getting to the water source was definitely a treacherous descent and then climb to get back up after hiking all day, but not too bad! No down trees. The spring was a puddle and not much trickle to get into a sawyer bag. Definitely would have been easier if I brought my cup down, but nevertheless got water and it was a great night. HooKoos picture is great for anyone thinking of staying there just add it to your phone because the trail can get a little weird around there. I use hiking project app to always make sure i'm on the trail and not venturing off course.

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by centerfieldr162 View Post
    Hey guys just wanted to give an update. Had a really nice night on Newton Bald. Getting to the water source was definitely a treacherous descent and then climb to get back up after hiking all day, but not too bad! No down trees. The spring was a puddle and not much trickle to get into a sawyer bag. Definitely would have been easier if I brought my cup down, but nevertheless got water and it was a great night. HooKoos picture is great for anyone thinking of staying there just add it to your phone because the trail can get a little weird around there. I use hiking project app to always make sure i'm on the trail and not venturing off course.
    How was the weather up on Newton Bald?

    I was at #41 in Cataloochee this weekend myself.
    Temperatures on Friday night were ok (for the gear we had).
    Saturday night, temps dropped into the 30's (but not below freezing).

  17. #17

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    madgoat, I bet that abandoned trail is the manway that TN Hiker told me about. If so, it comes out at the Collins Creek Picnic area. It's on my list to attempt.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by HooKooDooKu View Post
    How was the weather up on Newton Bald?

    I was at #41 in Cataloochee this weekend myself.
    Temperatures on Friday night were ok (for the gear we had).
    Saturday night, temps dropped into the 30's (but not below freezing).
    Honestly, it was the perfect night. Great campfire that night and the next morning. Never got too cold. Actually slept with my sleeping bag unzipped. It was a great time. I thought itd be much cooler up on the ridge but it was great

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PatmanTN View Post
    madgoat, I bet that abandoned trail is the manway that TN Hiker told me about. If so, it comes out at the Collins Creek Picnic area. It's on my list to attempt.




    sounds like it.....

    as it comes out near the campsite...

    i have not done it yet................it's on the long list of things to do when i make my comeback to hiking/backpacking....

    i have hiked a little bit of what i think is the lower portion of it....

    in the picnic grounds, there was an old roadbed that i was betting money that it was the same thing...

    only went up it maybe a quarter of a mile or so...

  20. #20
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    PatmanTN and TNhiker,

    You guys got me wondering, so I did some digging. It was 2004 when we found the volunteer trail, so my recollection of "might have been 10 years ago" was actually 16 years ago. The trail has probably further faded since then, but if it was a roadbed there will be plenty of unnatural grading and straight lines left to follow.

    I looked in my dogeared 1996 copy of "Hiking Trails of the Great Smoky Mountains" by Kenneth Wise to see if I could find any mention of this manway that you guys are speaking of. The book shows the "Collins Creek Trail" on its map. But it does not give a trail description. The Collins Creek Trail is only mentioned in passing in other sections. It is referred to as a 4.2 mile unmaintained manway. It starts at the Collins Creek picnic area on Newfound Gap Road and ends where it tees into the Thomas Divide Trail some 25 yards South of its junction with Sunkota Ridge. The book refers to this junction as "a faint trace".

    PXL_20201202_134126221.jpg

    This kind of surprised me because I don't recall ever noticing that this trail was in the Wise book, and I have read that guide cover to cover. It has some detailed descriptions of more famous manways like the catstairs/greenbrier pinnacle, upper ramsey cascades, upper porters creek, the connector from chimney tops to sugarland mtn, and huggins hell, so I was surprised that Collins Creek is shown on the map but only given passing mention.

    I'm not sure if this is the trail that we followed because it starts some half mile away from the Newton Bald campsite along the trail we came into the campsite on. But we may have found a connector that used to go directly from the campsite to join up with the Collins Creek Trail. I think it would be great fun to go back and explore the area around Newton Bald to see if I could find that trail.

    Parting note, I highly recommend the Wise book. The little brown book is better for elevation profiles and ease of finding trails and technical information. But the Wise book has really good historical information, and picks up lots of details that the brown book doesn't. I really like having them both. It's my intent to read the Wise book cover to cover again after I finish all the trails (been working on it since 98 and may finish next year) just to relive some of the trails and pick up on some details that I missed the first time through the book.

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