Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Big Island Loop - Big South Fork

Pilot Wine Loop 1.6 miles                                           Outcasts Total Miles: 1736.08
Big Island Loop 16
Pilot Wine Loop 1.6
Total Miles: 19.2

For some reason the weather changed and there was a great Northern freeze moving in.  As usual the closer we got to Big South Fork the more snow was falling.  It started building up on the ground.  We stopped by the Hitching Post to pick up a camping permit.  The man there said that the park had come in when the government shut down like the Nazis and confiscated all their permits and records.  We said OK and headed to the park headquarters.  The Ranger had put all the permits away for the year because of the weather, so he had to go to another building to get them.  I told him that we had tried to get one at the store and he said that they pulled them from some stores.

The ranger then started teaching us about picking out trails after we convinced him that we were not here to hunt.  "Well you guys are the second third and fourth person to stop by.  The first one bought ice."  He showed us a lot of trails that he likes to recommend.  Most of them we had done, but he did teach us about downfalls.  There is a "Bear" downfall and a "Giant Oak" downfall.  If you come across a downfall and I don't mean a tree that a bear dragged across the trail, but a giant Oak that you cannot get around or over, call him and he will get it on the list to be removed.  After all these years, we are still learning.

To the trailhead we went.  Different than the last two times in Big South Fork, we didn't start in a major snow storm this time.  The temperature was dropping and it didn't take us long to get an old fashion foot washing in.  The water was up all over so we dropped the shoes and did a little barefoot wading.

This is a horse trail, but we knew we didn't have to worry about seeing any hawses on the trail today. We were told that after it drops down to freezing they have to put those animals in the barn.  It does make it challenging to hike on frozen hoof prints in the mud.

This trail drops off into the river gorge and you walk along the Big South Fork river.  There is an Indian "Dome" rock house, a old Ford car upside down, and an old cabin on the trail to check out.

We found a place to make camp along the river out of the wind.  The temps dropped down to 17 degrees, but Troy kept the fire up to around 70 degrees.  We had a good evening telling lies and taking cough meds.  Sometime in the night another inch of snow dropped on us.

Troy woke up to a loud "thud".  He thought he heard some grumbling and then another "thud".  He asked Marco if everything was alright and heard more grumbling.  He asked again with the same result and then  screamed "Marco are you all right?"  More grumbling so he got up and yelled "Marco are you all right?"  This is when I woke up too.  Marco yelled back "I fell out of my hammock!.....  Twice! And couldn't get out of the bug netting."  Lot's of laughs.

The next day we got to see the car and cabin.  They had built an outhouse at the cabin since the last time we were here.  It's a two holer which would make any man proud!  We though about crossing the big river at the two crossings we came to just for practice, but then decided against it.

Another good hike!  When I called to let Lora know we were off the trail, she said that they had closed all the schools in the area for the last two days due to the weather.  We apologize to all the parents out there.


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