Sat, Jul 9 2005 - Backpacking - Snowbird Mountains (View Original Event Details)

Trip Leader(s): Bruce
Participants:Tuyet Lu Hayes, Daved Brosche, Don Hayes, Angela, Chris Rose, Amie McCaleb, Keith Canseco, Maria Laura Locatelli, Silke Leitermann, Ana Maciel, Doug Kostyniak, Chris Dunn, Bruce

Write Up:
Event details: after deciding we had two no-shows we all got packed in cars quickly and left the park and ride in good time and north on I-575. After a brief coordination break in Blue Ridge, GA. We headed to highway 60-Spur 60 out of Mineral Bluff, GA to Robbinsville, NC and the nearby Snowbird Mountains. We were at our trailhead soon and put on our packs, after talking a bit with each other, and had taken a good group picture. 2.7 miles along rushing Big Snowbird Creek brought us to our rock hopping ford of Sassafras Creek and to our campsite on the other side. We set up our tents fairly quickly and were on our way for a 6 mile dayhike around 1:30. About 1 mile up the Burntrock Ridge trail brought us to our first leisure break at Sassafras Falls. Chris Dunn played under part of the cold waterfall, while many others took pictures of the beautiful waterfall, surrounding and group shots. We slowly made our way up the steepest portion of the hike, the short butsteep climb up Burntrock Ridge and then across and down its slopes to our cold water crossing of Big Snowbird Creek. All made it safely across except Tuyet who was 99% across when she fell on the best cushioned part of her body taking the last step to shore. I hear it was a graceful and lovely balletic fall, but missed all but the aftermath. We were all glad she was safe, but she and many of us got many giggles and good hearted laughs out of the minor fall. It was evident I had been blessed with another friendly, fun loving group and our chilling goose bump test was coming up soon in the cold waters under Middle Falls of Big Snowbird Creek. We arrived at the cool looking large pool under scenic Middle Falls, and many of us changed into our suits to swim and dip. Chris Dunn, who was enjoying the water and falls greatly, was first in followed by myself then Fred, Don and Tuyet, Amie and Silke. Ana sunned and relaxed on the rocks the smart ones dipped their feet from the safety and warmth of the rocks on shore. Others and myself found out the sun and warmth had not tempered the near frigid waters under the falls or in the swimming hole. After our skin got numb, we all pulled out and sunned and dried on the rocks. Moving on was the best medicine for Tuyet I found out later she was chilled after her dip, and we all warmed up in the walk up the meandering slopes on the shoulders of Mouse Knob. A couple of unadvertised water crossings later we were making our way down Mouse Knob to what was left of the bridge over Big Snowbird Creek and back to our camp to prep for dinner and hunt for relatively dry wood on slopes above our creek side camp. We were to find later it wasn’t very dry and was hard to encourage burning well. As we socialized in various groups and prepared for dehydrated delicacies. Chris Rose, Don Hayes, others and myself gathered wood and threw, dragged and carried it down to camp for the evenings’ anemic fire. Chris Dunn, the engineer entertained all by building a wood chair of several sticks abducted from the fire wood pile and several strings and a half-hour later it was built. None with more comfortable chairs were jealous, even my sitting rock was as good, I believe; but good engineering, nonetheless. Good conversation carried into darkness with light rain happening, then letting up and allowing us to socialize a little longer. Several people encouraged the sickly fire by blowing on it leading to the nights running joke. Chris really blows (both Chris blew well) and a few others, including Fred and Tuyet ‘blew’ well. I was relieved of my pitiful blowing attempts by Tuyet, for not blowing well. Nevertheless, the pitiful fire kept us interested enough for several of us to stay up relatively late-all had retired for the evening by around midnight. Don Hayes had kindly tended to all the bear bag hanging the whole day and evening, so noone lost food to the wild animals. Sunday we all woke naturally, one or two at a time, with Ana, then me waking before everyone and meditating on the rocks next to Big Snowbird Creek, before returning to have breakfast with most people waking soon after. The skies remained cloudy, but thankfully, offered no rain for breakfast. After good conversation and breakfast, many perpacked sleeping bags bed rolls and changed clothes for the morning hike upcoming. We all hiked the one mile to ‘Big Falls’ on Big Snowbird Creek and climbed, waded; hung out and relaxed for a good bit, after Tuyet had her second cushioned fall incident; at the bottom of a slick downhill slope to the falls. Luckily only a few more had minor slips on the slick rocks. When it started raining after a good half-hour there, it was a sign to move on back up the hill and back to camp. We all packed up pretty quickly and got going on the walk out to our cars. This being a good, fun and friendly group we all decided to have lunch together on the way back, at a Chinese restaurant in Blue Ridge. After more laughs and good conversation another hours ride brought us back to the big city. Thanks to all for being part of a wonderful group on a great wilderness weekend trip.
Written By: Bruce Aldridge
Photos From: Photos by many, including Keith Canseco, Amie McCaleb, Tuyet Lu and Chris Rose