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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Bartram/AT/Chunky Gal/Fires Creek in North Carolina.

    I guess I originally posted this in the wrong spot as I got no responses so here it is again, hopefully in the right spot.

    Failed to do the last two trip reports on here but recently completed the AT/BMT 500 mile loop by section hiking over a period of 7 years. Now I am looking for a new trek and was thinking about this.

    Start on on the NC Bartram Trail at Wallace Branch west of Franklin and head to the AT at Weser Bald. Hike the AT southbound down and around to the intersection with the Chunky Gal trail then via the Chunky Gal trail onto Fires Creek and take the north rim and take out at the entrance of that area. That seems to be roughly 80 miles. I see the possibility to shorten that trip if needed by cutting through at Standing Indian campground area and by taking the south rim of fires creek trail.

    This would be a trip with 5 nights spent in the woods most likely.

    Thanks ahead for constructive ideas.
    Oh, blackwater, keep on rollin', Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shining on me!

  2. #2
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    be sure to get a guide, or read-up on beta for Fires Creek. it's been like 10 years for me, but the piece I did was pretty obscure trail. don't count on any of the side trails to be marked or even visible. the Rim Trail itself wasn't too hard to follow, but it's mostly a rhodo tunnel from what I remember. views from Tusquitee --near where Chunky Gal intersects-- are pretty good.

  3. #3

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    This sounds awesome! I hope some folks can chime in about this

    I only know things about Fires Creek by word of mouth and its only from one source. I bet you dont see too many people on this loop though

    I will be watching this thread

  4. #4

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    If you're interested, some google-fu of "Fires Creek Rim Trail" turned up several relevant and informative links to trip reports and videos.

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    Here's a guide book that might help. I live in the area and have done a little hiking on each. Some parts of the trails are spectacular.
    https://www.amazon.com/Chunky-Gal-Tr.../dp/B0038I1CL2
    Sailor

  6. #6

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    Hi there... when you say "read-up on beta for Fires Creek", where exactly is that?
    Is there a link you can post? Sorry newbie here.

  7. #7
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    see Sailor's link to John Ray's guide. that's the best i know of. on second thought it is old guide, buy very detailed and full of topo maps. i might have his email somewhere if you wanna PM me for it. the last time

  8. #8

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    Ok, guidebooks and maps gone over and trip planned. 86 miles in March. Looks like several big climbs, a need for really planning for water stops as reliable sources are spread out. Hope the weather cooperates.
    Oh, blackwater, keep on rollin', Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shining on me!

  9. #9

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    Ok we started this trip on Saturday evening 3/17/18 at 6 pm eastern time at Wallace branch on the Bartram Trail. Our intention was to go to the Chunky Gal trail and onto the Fires Creek Rim trail. Nice waterfall maybe 200 yards from trailhead. Walked until about 9:15. It rained lightly after the first hour or so as we climbed gradually steeper and steeper. Great views on both sides of the ridge most all of the way up. We found a place to pitch our tents about 4 and a half miles up but it was tight. One of my tent stakes was actually in the middle of the trail. The rain had stopped and the wind was not blowing where and when we stopped. Stars were out but the wind picked up with very strong gusts all night. Turns out there were tornados around the area and actually doing damage in the fires creek area. Leaving this spot the next morning about 6:20 AM we hiked STEEPLY up towards the AT for the next 8 miles and Wayah Bald. Was supposed to rain off and on all day but was sunny and clear for the most part all day. Two important notes. There is no water after the first half mile or so after leaving the trailhead until you are about 200 yards from the AT about mile 10.5. Also there are very few places to pitch a tent on this trail and most places are up near the 8 or 9 mile mark best I remember. Headed SOBO on the AT. Took in the great views at Wayah Bald, passed many thruhikers and even got some trail magic before stopping at Swinging Lick Gap to sleep.
    We decided to cut through on Long Branch trail past Standing Indian campground and up the Kimsey Creek Trail back to the AT at Deep Gap. Those two trails are great. Highly recommend them both. Rain off and on all day on this day (Monday). We arrive at Deep Gap and head up before stopping to eat about 4:45. We decided to call our local contact and shuttle person who updated us on the weather.
    Yes we decided to bail out and walked back down to Deep Gap and made it about 5 minutes before our ride arrived and about 10 minutes before the rain poured and the thunderstorms rolled in. Add the rain for Tuesday and the snow today (Wednesday 3/21/18) and with the freezing temps and we made a good decision.
    The Chunky Gal trail and the Fires Creek Rim trail remain for us to do.
    Feels a little unsatisfied about it but got a good 34 or so mile trek in and did the smart thing.
    Oh, blackwater, keep on rollin', Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shining on me!

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    Chunky Gal Trail: Gotta love that name

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    Quote Originally Posted by zephyr1034 View Post
    Chunky Gal Trail: Gotta love that name
    And up the trail a ways you'll find Big Butt.

  12. #12

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    Back in November we got to complete this original jaunt. Videos of both are here.
    https://youtu.be/LRpajzv9Qms
    https://youtu.be/BCWYen_4TD0
    https://youtu.be/LaG8V3JZyag
    Oh, blackwater, keep on rollin', Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shining on me!

  13. #13
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    How was the Rim Trail? did you have trouble keeping with it?

  14. #14

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    Not really . Except for one place particularly confusing where a side trail at the county corners is blazed exactly the same as the rim trail. Sign for the side trail was broken off and leaning on a tree that we didn't see. See my video above
    Oh, blackwater, keep on rollin', Mississippi moon, won't you keep on shining on me!

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