Friday, November 1, 2019

Big South Fork



Day One: 9.6                                                 Outcasts Total Miles: 2454.6
John Litton Farm Loop 4.2
Duncan Hollow road 0.6
Duncan Hollow Bypass 0.2
Duncan Hollow bike loop 1.7
Duncan Hollow Bypass 1.4
Jack's Ridge Loop 1.2
Laurel Fork Creek 0.3
Day Two: 9.7
Laurel Fork Creek 3.7
Fork Ridge Trail 3.8
Black Horse Branch 2.0
Laurel Fork Creek 0.2
Day Three: 8.5
Laurel Fork Creek 6.6
Slave Falls Loop 1.1
Middle creek loop 0.8
Day Four: 9.6
Middle creek loop 0.8
Fork Ridge road 1.2
Salt Pine Ridge 2.5
Laurel Fork Creek 0.4
Salt Pine Ridge 1.7
West Entrance trail 3.0
Total Miles: 36.6

Troy called out sick for this hike. Since we were planning on doing a part of the Sheltowee and didn't want to have to repeat the trip for Troy, Marco picked some trails in the Big South Fork.

We parked by the pool at Bandy Creek Campground and took the John Litton farm loop. It follows the creek to an old farm where Marco got surprised by a large black snake. When we got to the Duncan Hollow road we took a right and followed it to the Duncan Hollow Bypass road and then did the Duncan Hollow bike trail. This is where the extremely large bear poop. Almost 2" in diameter! Back on the Bypass road we got to hear a Baird Owl calling and then when we got to the trail junction of Jack's Ridge Loop we saw a Momma bear and her four cubs. She stopped and checked us out for a minute and then headed on. We took Jack's Ridge Loop down and crossed the Laurel Creek, for the first of 30 crossings, and took the trail crossing once again before setting up camp for the night. It was a peaceful night around the campfire.

DAY TWO
We got up and headed East towards the big river. We had 4 more crossings today. We got to see a small garter snake just before connecting to the Fork Ridge trail. It is an extremely sharp climb up the ridge before it levels out for a nice walk through the woods. We took the Black Horse Branch trail back to Laurel creek and then took a right on Laurel Creek trail and found a nice campground for the night. 

DAY THREE
We got up and got read this morning. We had twenty five river crossing today. We hiked about four miles with crocks on because we crossed so many times. It started a light rain and by lunch we had to have poncho's on. The rain stopped by our last crossing and we climbed up the ridge to the Middle creek trail where we found a spring and stopped for the night. We had a nice campfire again tonight and dried things out. It was a warm night and stayed warm all night. Heavy rain later that night.

DAY FOUR
We got up to the beginning of steady rain that would hang with us most of the day.  We packed up and headed to the Fork Ridge road which led us to Salt Pine ridge. We were wondering about the Laurel Creek after all the rain. The one crossing we had today was about a foot higher then yesterday just up to our knees. We crossed and headed up to the West Entrance trail head. The wind had picked up and the temperature was dropping fast. We ended up with the rain coats on and gloves under the poncho. The rain cut out for lunch and mainly it was just water off the trees. 

After our celebration at the Waffle House, Marco drove through a small snow fall.

Pictures:

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