Sat, Nov 10 2012 - Backpacking West Face of Blood Mountain (View Original Event Details)|
We enjoyed a beautiful fall weekend for our backpacking trip on the West face of Blood Mountain. Beginning at Lake Winfield Scot, our jouney began on the Slaughter Creek trail as we made our way along side Slaughter Creek, before eventually climbing towards the AT. Unfortunately, a couple of folks had not been this way before and while acting as the sweep, past the junction with the AT and the final ascent to the top of Blood Mountain. Many fingers were pointed at Bob, the more oblivious trip leader, including Bob's own fingers at himself, but we were able to track down the only recently lost pair of wayward hikers, and they were able to join us for the rest of the trip.
Our traditional campsites were taken shortly after the fork with the AT, so we had to explore further up the slope of Blood Mountain for a relatively flat area for our group to camp on. We found a spot about a 1/3 mile above our traditional campsites, which was also far enough off the AT that we were permitted to build fires, or at least we think it was far enough to justify arguing with a ranger if we were ticketed.
A lot can be said about the different personalities of trip leaders and this trip was no different. Bob led the portion of the group (we'll call them the smart ones) that wanted to sunbathe and eat lunch on the top of Blood Mountain. Mike led the rest of the group who wanted to stay at the campsite, move large stones for a fire ring, and collect water for the group (we'll call them the industrious ones. I won't repeat what they called the smart ones, because this is a family write-up). The industrious ones knocked themselves out as we had a genuine fire ring, several cords of wood stacked neatly next to the ring, but only enough water for themselves. It turns out that building the fire ring was considerably easier than fetching water because the water levels were low and this was apparently the most popular weekend for boy scouts to join us on Blood Mountain, making the wait for a place to draw water similar to waiting in line for the newest version of an iphone. The smart ones, after venting among themselves at how selfish the industrious ones were by not gathering more water (well, at least Bob bitched a bit), made their way to the junction with the AT to fetch water for themselves. By then, the wait had receded a bit and we were able to return just in time for dinner.
That evening, we were all grateful for the new campsite, which kept us away from the boy scouts and gave us the seclusion that we look for when we're backpacking in the wilderness. There was lots of good food to share among ourselves. As the temperature dropped, we cozied up to the fire in a circle. Several of us visited or revisted the top of Blood Mountain after sunset. It was truly a spectacular evening for watching stars. There was a direct correlation between the number of shooting stars observed and the amount of hallucinogenic drugs that some of us consumed in the 70's, but all agreed that a particular shooting star almost directly south of Blood Mountain had one of the longest tails we had ever seen (at least before we started taking drugs). After returning to the fire, many of us found it hard to leave for our sleeping bags. Those of us who enjoy hearing ourselves talk managed to stay up until around 11:00 pm.
The next morning, it started out around 39 degrees. We rekindled the fire and each of us made our own version of a hearty breakfast. We broke camp around 10:00 am and made our way back down the AT and then made our final descent on the Jarrard Gap trail back to Lake Winfield Scot. Hope you all enjoyed our backpacking adventure and will join us again next time.