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  1. #1

    Default 18 Days on Grand Grassy Gap Loop

    This Sept/Oct 2022 backpacking trip happens in TN in Citico Creek wilderness by starting in Grassy Gap down to South Fork Creek and up Brush Mt trail where I spend 7 days clearing it and then climbing to Bob Bald and descending down North Fork trail to SF and up Grassy Branch trail to Grassy Gap and out.

    TRIP 219
    September 27-October 14, 2022

    HIGHLIGHTS
    ** GRASSY BRANCH TRAIL COMPLETELY CLEARED
    ** NORTH FORK FOOTBRIDGE INSPECTION
    ** 39 CREEK CROSSINGS
    ** 7 DAYS ON BRUSH MT TRAIL #97
    ** 33RD AND 34TH BACKPACK OF BRUSH MT TRAIL
    ** 2 YELLOW JACKET STINGS
    ** CLEMMER DETOUR REOPENED
    ** HUNTING DOG STAYS WITH ME FOR 5 DAYS

    TRAILS
    Entrance at Grassy Gap
    Grassy Branch Trail Down
    **Stove Camp**
    Grassy Branch Trail Down to South Fork Creek
    **White Rock Camp on SF Creek**
    South Fork Trail To North Fork Split
    North Fork Trail Up
    **NF Crossing 2 Camp**
    North Fork/South Fork Trails Backtrack
    Cross South Fork Creek
    **Pit Viper Camp (2)**
    Brush Mt Trail Heading Up
    **Ow! Camp**
    Brush Mt Trail Heading Up
    **Low Audrey Camp**
    Brush Mt Trail Heading Up
    **Bug Hollow Camp**
    Brush Mt Trail Heading Up
    **Mother Brush Gap Camp**
    Brush Trail Up and Out
    Trail 149 Heading North
    **Dean Camp**
    Trail 149 Heading South to Cold Spring Gap
    Trail 54A(S) Heading up to Bob Bald
    **East Fire Tree Grove aka Marion Camp (2)**
    Seven Mile Ridge Heading West
    Trail 54A(N) Down to Cherry Log Gap
    North Fork Trail Heading Down
    **Camp 7**
    North Fork Trail Heading Down
    **Sidemeat Camp**
    North Fork Trail Out
    South Fork Trail Up
    **White Rock Camp (2)**
    Clemmer Detour
    Grassy Branch Trail Heading Up
    **Stove Camp**
    Grassy Branch Trail Up and OUT.


    The trip begins in Grassy Gap with Little Mitten and Zoe Dog as she drops me off for the duration. Dan McHale pack is heavy at around 110 lbs.


    Typical blowdown on Grassy Branch trail.


    Grassy Branch trail is very steep so I use microspikes for grip and traction.


    Another blowdown on Grassy Branch trail near the bottom so out comes the folding saw.


    Cleared with a little work.


    I cross Grassy Branch Creek 8 times and reach South Fork Creek which I cross and stand on SF trail looking downstream.


    After spending a night on SF Creek and finish SF and start up North Fork Creek with this footbridge---recently fixed after a blowdown took out the railings.

  2. #2

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    After a night on North Fork Creek I backtrack up SF trail and prepare to cross SF Creek to begin my 7 day adventure on Brush Mt Trail #97---the hardest trail in Citico. Boots on under the pack lid for the crossing.


    Ye Olde Feet don't fail me now.


    After I cross SF Creek I enter this wonderful CS and squat here for two nights when Hurricane Ian hits---and also do trailwork up Brush Mt on a dayhike run.


    After Hurricane Ian I begin my journey up Brush Mother trail and stop here at the first of 3 Brush Creek crossings and clear the path and leave ribbon.


    Just below crossing 3 I set up camp right on Brush Mother trail and go down to the creek for water.


    Getting water from Brush Mother Creek.


    I leave camp and continue climbing Brush trail and hit the doghobble section with 4 minor crossings---here is #4.

  3. #3

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    A natural blaze on Brush Mt trail---and heading up steeply to Skull Flats.


    The trail leaves Brush Creek and climbs up Ike Peak into a hell zone of sawbriar so I stop for this 30 minute clump.


    Voila cleared.


    After Ike Peak the trail climbs hard up Satan's Tit and drops hard to Mother Blowdown where the pack has to be dumped and dragged underneath.


    The trail then climbs hard up to Brush Ridge itself where I encounter this wall of sawbriars to I dump the pack and get to work.


    Fixed so I get thru okay.


    My favorite reststop on Brush Mt ridge---the Beauty Rock. I cover my inflatable thermarest with my white ground cloth to protect it from brambles and thorns,

  4. #4

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    I finally finish Brush Mother trail and take Trail 149 to Cold Gap and climb hard up to Bob Bald and along the way run into Oats---a BMT thruhiker.


    We're in a 3 month drought so the spring atop Bob Bald is almost dry. This is why I carry a pump filter---for very low sources.


    I reach Bob Bald at 5,300 feet and enjoy the open space after the jungle of Brush Mt.


    Some campers in the fir tree grove on Bob Bald.


    Hanging out with my 4 neighbors on the Bob.


    A cold zero day on the Bob.


    WARNING: GIANT ANTS INVADE BOB MOUNTAIN.

  5. #5

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    I say goodbye to my Bob neighbors---Dewey, Terri, Dean and Hope.


    I leave the Bob and start down Trail 54A(N) to Cherry Log Gap and North Fork trail.


    North Fork trail is very steep so I slap on the backpacking cleats for traction.


    I descend North Fork trail and just above crossing 7 set up in Camp 7---an old favorite CS where all my TN backpacking trips started.


    Camp 7 on NF trail in 2001.


    I continue down North Fork trail and hit this big scoot under blowdown.


    A nice little CS next to the low water of NF Creek.

  6. #6

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    A hunting dog discovers me on North Fork's Camp 7 and stays with me for 5 full days.


    At the North Fork/South Fork split---so I head up SF trail.


    Brewing up sassafras tea with honey.


    South Fork Creek near my Day 16 CS.


    Day 18 and I climb hard up Grassy Branch trail to its top trailhead in Grassy Gap.


    Trip ends in Grassy Gap where I wait for my ride home.


    Before the trip I tried out my 40th Anniversary Thermarest and of course it blew with the Delamination Blues.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Another great report!
    What became of the dog?

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Goodman View Post
    Another great report!
    What became of the dog?
    I flagged down a hunter who knew the owner in a truck and took old blue with him.

  9. #9
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    Default 18 Days on Grand Grassy Gap Loop

    Thanks again for all the trail maintenance!

  10. #10

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    I flagged down a hunter who knew the owner in a truck and took old blue with him.
    Thank you!

  11. #11
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    That's about as well as it could turned out, I suppose. I did some trail maintaining in NC wilderness, and we'd meet these bear dogs sometimes. Generally they were super hungry.
    Did you feed your trail buddy?

  12. #12
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    St. Petersburg, FL
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    Default

    As always, I enjoyed. Looks like a lot of your hike was bush whacking.

    Funny story about a hunting dog. Some years ago on the AT, I heard a dog barking way off. It kept growing closer. Finally, this dog runs up to me, stops suddenly, looks at me and turns and walks away. I still believe I actually saw disappointment in his eyes. I guess from afar he thought I was a bear or something.
    Trail Name - Slapshot
    "One step at a time."
    Blog - www.tonysadventure.com

  13. #13
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    Default

    EPIC, EPIC, EPIC…..got her over 100#s, Sweet
    More pack pictures…..more pack pictures….more pack pictures

  14. #14
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
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    Again, your work on Brush Mtn was highly appreciated while I hiked it this past Saturday. I got to experience it going downhill but it really was a great trail; seemed like there were some decent winter views near the top I missed cuz I was in a cloud.

  15. #15
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    I can't believe nobody commented about the giant ant invasion!

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Goodman View Post
    That's about as well as it could turned out, I suppose. I did some trail maintaining in NC wilderness, and we'd meet these bear dogs sometimes. Generally they were super hungry.
    Did you feed your trail buddy?
    By about Day 3 I felt sorry for the cur so I gave her some of my food.

    Quote Originally Posted by Slugg View Post
    Again, your work on Brush Mtn was highly appreciated while I hiked it this past Saturday. I got to experience it going downhill but it really was a great trail; seemed like there were some decent winter views near the top I missed cuz I was in a cloud.
    Brush Mt is my favorite trail on the Citico side---and needs more boots.

    Quote Originally Posted by illabelle View Post
    I can't believe nobody commented about the giant ant invasion!
    I was swarmed and lucky to be alive.

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