Fri, Jun 10 2011 - Cohutta Wilderness Area: Jacks River Trail End to End (View Original Event Details)|
We had a wonderful three day stay in the beautiful wilderness. We learned to live with our wet feet. These backpackers were so prepared and skilled. We made very fast time, only slowed by slippery rocks. Despite a 40% chance of rain, we had wonderful weather. We got about 5 minutes of rain while in the middle of our toughest river crossing. We made 50 of ‘em! Crossing the river isn’t so bad if there is some gravel or smaller stones to grip on. But, one crossing was particularly difficult toward the end because it was mostly very large stones with little gravel and deep and swift! But, we had no injuries, though there were a few tumbles into the water. Setting up shuttles took time, but wasn’t as arduous as I’d thought it might be. We actually arrived ready to hike an hour before our estimation. We were fairly fast on the trial, about 3.5 mph when not in the river. I was impressed by this as we were all toting full packs. Marc M did an excellent job with ultralight packing, he was around 10-15 lbs and slept with a tarp only. We made it to Penitentiary Branch Trial intersection with Jacks River Trial for our first camp to discover a large horseback group. We camped in the middle around the main fire ring. There is a new phenomenon now in which campers are making chairs out of rocks. I’ve never seen this until this year, but most campsites now have them. The next morning we headed down to Jacks River Falls to see about 20 other folks enjoying the sunshine and jumping rock. While eating lunch, Scot walked up! We had discussed him coming in later, but he wasn’t sure he’d be doing it. So, it was a surprise to look at and see him. Scott walked in from Dally Gap to the Falls via Penitentiary Branch Trial, by the time we made it to camp that night he’d walked 12 miles. Good job boy! We left the falls and walked another few hours just passed Horseshoe Bend Trail intersection for camp two. This was a special day because michelle turned 25. To celebrate, we all went down for a dip in the river and had some sprits and guitar music in the light of the moon/s ; ) Got out quickly the next day and did our shuttle drive back around the Ocoee River and ate some cheap Mexican in Copper Hill. By hiking in solo, Scott got the thrill a seeing a Black Bear. Lucky! I’ve only seen a bear twice since camping in this area since ’93. It is really special spending three straight days out in such a wild and beautiful place and seeing something new with each step. It shifts the soul. I hope to do this trip again. It was a lot of fun.