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10-k - Bartram Trail Journal - 2011

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Thomas "10-k" Bradford
City: Erwin
State: TN
Country: USA
Begins: Apr 11, 2011
Direction: Northbound

Daily Summary
Date: Sat, Jun 25th, 2011
Start: Russell Bridge Trailhead
End: 1.2 miles north of Courthouse Gap
Daily Distance: 23.6
Trip Distance: 23.6

Journal Stats
Entry Visits: 509
Journal Visits: 3,374
Guestbook Views: 169
Guestbook Entrys: 0

(Click image for full size)


Russell Bridge Trailhead

Bartram Trail

Saturday morning as planned I met the shuttle driver at NOC for a ride to the southern end of the Bartram Trail at Russell Bridge. It was warm, not hot and partly cloudy. The kind of weather that feels like perfect hiking sitting on my tailgate only to turn into "really hot" once I hit the trail with my pack on and start sweating. The ride was uneventful and even though she was 30 minutes late I was on the trail before 11:30 AM. The Foothills Trail in SC has a connector trail that meets the Bartram at Russell Bridge and somewhere in my head I had counted on at least the southern end of the Bartram being similar to the Foothills Trail. I instantly found out I was dead wrong. The first few miles of the Bartram was overgrown with waist high weeds covering the trail for long stretches. I psyched myself up to get snakebit as the trail never strayed very far from the Chattoga River - a perfect environment for cooperheads. The hiking was easy, as hiking next to a river often is, and I made good time considering. After 5 or so miles the trail turns to the right and leaves the river and climbs up on a ridge for 14 miles. I only brought 1 quart of water and by the time I had hit the 12 mile mark I was starting to run low with no water in sight. A glance at my guide indicated a "spring in a rhododendron thicket" at mile 15.1 and I crossed my fingers. Sure enough, it was there and I stopped and chugged 2 quarts and filled my bottle. Very soon I dropped down into Warwoman Dell where there is a picnic area. 2 couples were at a table just finishing a big mess of KFC and they asked if I wanted some mash potatoes and gravy. I declined, secretly hoping they'd offer me some chicken but judging by the big pile of bones I'd say they ate it all. It was after 6:00 when I left Warwoman Dell and I crossed over the highway and headed back up the mountain.

About this time I had a seat for a minute to eat a snack and without even looking very hard I pulled 5 ticks off of me. Dang. I've had lyme disease 2 times so I'm funny about my ticks. After my snack I was back on the trail and hiked by Pinnacle Knob and Courthouse Gap. It was starting to get dark and right as it got "headlamp dark" I found myself at mile 23.6 where there is a stream and small campsite. It was perfect. I pitched my tent, ate and after I turned off my headlamp and settled into my bag I found 4 more ticks. Nothing like laying in your sleeping bag and feeling a tick crawling on you in the dark.

On "10-k's Relative Scale of Hiking Fun" I'd rate today a 7.

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Bartram Trail Hike

The Bartram Trail follows the approximate route of 18th-century naturalist William Bartrams southern journey from March, 1773 to January, 1777. Bartram explored much of the territory which is now the states of North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Tennessee. Learn more: www.ncbartramtrail.org

 

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