Friday, December 1, 2006

Fall Creek Falls

December 2006
Fall Creek Falls..................................Trail Rating...Outcasts Total: 23.4 Miles
Upper Loop Overnight Trail 13.0 Miles.....Easy

This was Troy's trail. He has hiked this trail many times both alone and with his brother. He knew it was an easy trail so we had to adjust the weather to make it more interesting. It is not very often that Tennessee has snow. We pulled into the park on snow and ice. Greg was not impressed as I slid into the parking spot at the office. We found a very sweet lady at the office that checked us in after she regained her composer from laughing after we said that we were going overnight hiking. She asked if we were serious as she grabbed her book. After getting signed in we headed to the trailhead.

At the trailhead we parked next to a maintenance shop where a couple of deliverance type characters seemed happy that we were there. It kinda sent a warning flag up. Troy had made fried chicken the night before at the fire hall and it wasn’t long before it took my full attention. The coyotes and bears went running when they saw and heard me attack that first piece.

This trail was a bit easier than the last and it had plenty of beauty. We set up camp in low spot in the campground to keep the wind off us. We got our warming fire started and took our meds. Nothing like sitting around a campfire telling lies and smelling burning boots. Whoa, I was supposed to keep an eye on Greg’s boots while he was working in his tent. He couldn’t say a whole lot because later on he burnt his sock. Either way they were dryer than before.

Before we settled in for the night, Troy took out his new lightweight multipurpose tool. It has a whistle, thermometer, compass, and a small storage compartment. We were already in the low twenties and the sky was clear. It was time to test the cold weather gear. Troy was the first off to bed. He went into his tent and zipped it closed. Then we heard………zip…………zip……………… What the hell had that many zippers? Troy never did tell us what all he had, but he never came out or complained about the cold.

I found out that at 17 degrees my sleeping bag in the hammock was no longer doing the job. I started stoking the fire. Greg woke up a little nervous because it was light and he was getting warm in his tent. Do you know how big a fire has to get before you are willing to take off your clothes in 17-degree weather? After putting on all the clothes in my pack, I got back to sleep and made it through the night. Our low reading was 14.3 degrees that night.

We had a Turkey visit our camp that night and also woke up to a deer crossing the river and much to his surprise fell through the ice. We spent a bit of time warming up after that night before we broke camp.

On the way out Troy decided to show how he wasn’t hurting this trip by smoking Greg and I up the largest hill on the trail back to the car. On the last quarter mile of the trail, two mountain bikers were heading in and were quite shocked to find out that one; we were out hiking and two; that we spent the night. For some reason it seemed like they thought we were crazy.