Lollilop Loop in the Smokies – Big Creek Trail – Backpacking Trip Day 1

Big Creek Trail
Big Creek Trail

Big Creek Trail

Dates Hiked: May 3  2013
Miles Hiked: 5.1

So I finally managed to get a few days off (in a row) from work. It had been a while since I had been backpacking and wanted to hit the woods pretty bad. My original plans were for the trip to be a 4 day 3 night trip but it turned into just a short overnighter.

I got a late start (which is nothing new for me) so I had already decided to alter my plans slightly. Instead of heading up the Chestnut Branch Trail to the AT and down Low Gap to CS #37 I was just going to head up the Big Creek Trail. I had already hiked this trail so I knew it would be an easy hike straight to the campsite. This change in plans was further validated by my decision to park at the wrong trail head.  I wasn’t supposed to be at Cosby Campground. I was supposed to be at the Big Creek Campground. Doh! So I found myself on a twisty turny  road trying to get to the correct destination.

Vasey's Trillium
Vasey’s Trillium

When I pulled into the Big Creek Campground my phone started ringing and then it just went crazy. It wouldn’t stop ringing. I couldn’t turn the phone off. I couldn’t turn the volume down. You can’t remove the battery from this phone. What was I going to do? I couldn’t take it with me into the woods. I ended up wrapping it up in my get off the trail clothes and putting it in the console of my car. I figure at some point it would just die. I finally got loaded up and hit the trail. I’m kinda glad I chose the Big Creek Trail. It was covered in wildflowers. Fire Pink,

Showy Orchis
Showy Orchis

Dwarf Crested Irish, Trillium, Spring Beauties and more. I took my time and took lots of pictures. After  my previous wildflower excursions to Ramsey Cascades and White Oak Sinks I found myself really searching for wildflowers. I was actually using my trekking poles to peek under leaves. I love my camera. It takes awesome close up pictures and it’s just a basic point and shoot. Big Creek Trail also has Midnight Hole and Mouse Creek Falls, both of which were more impressive than the last time I was here.

I finally made it to CS #37 after a few hours. There was only one other tent set up in the area so I walked around and found a spot to set up my home for the night. It wasn’t long before other hikers began arriving. There is definitely  a difference between Appalachian Trail hikers and non AT hikers. AT hikers seem to be a bit more friendly. While no one was mean or seemed shady or creepy people just kept to themselves. I stepped out of my comfort zone and went and talked to a couple of the hikers for a few minutes.

Home for the Night
Home for the Night

As the afternoon went on it started sprinkling on and off. It couldn’t decide what it wanted to do so I decided I had better go ahead and cook my dinner. I promise you that it was nothing exciting. Well unless you consider ramen noodles with some Velveeta exciting and a few slices of precooked bacon. I really must work on adding a little excitement to my trail food. I remember hiking on the Foothills Trail (report coming soon) with Jermm back in 2010 and she made these scones out of Bisquick and honey. OMG they were so good. I should have paid more attention to how she made them.

I finally decided to retire to my trusty MSR Hubba for the night. I popped a Melatonin and quickly fell asleep. Which did not last long. At all. I swear there was a critter or something nudging at my tent right near my head. Of course when I got up and turned my headlamp on it would stop. So I laid down and tried to go back to sleep. And it happened again. And I actually felt the tent hit my head. Sigh, this was going to be a long night. I figured that I might as well get up and tinkle. Luckily it was pitch black now and didn’t have to walk very far to be hidden. While I was out I inspected my tent. There were no chew marks on my tent. There were no claw marks in the dirt.

That was when I saw it !!!!!

The wind had picked up quite a bit and was shaking my tent pretty good. I really felt kind of stupid but was relieved. This meant I should be able to relax and get some sleep.

… be continued

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