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  1. #1
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    Default Thoughts? Upper Bald River Trip Plan

    Would love to hear any reaction to this trip planned for early October. Starting on Tellico River Road at the Pheasant Fields picnic area, the plan is for 3 easy nights south on the BMT with 5 old guys.

    First, we head south to the Brookshire Creek trail, taking the side trip to the falls, then again south to Sled Runner Gap (taking the side trip to Beaver Dam Bald). Then we head south again on the BMT down to Waucheesi Bald. We'd then backtrack north on the BMT to Kirkland Creek trail, following it to the road where we cross the river to find our 2nd vehicle waiting for us. Seems like a mid 20s mile trip that will be a nice way to spend a Friday to a Monday exploring. Campsites will be chosen as we go... no set schedule for stopping, just where it feels best.

    A couple guys considering bringing Tenkara rods to see what the brook trout situation is like. I'm also hoping Tipi has done his trail clearing magic work in this area! Any reaction?

  2. #2

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    I just backpacked this loop in May, 2022 but started in Mud Gap on the BMT and spent my first night on Whiggs Meadow and then dropped down to Tellico River and Pheasant Fields---your starting point---and went up Sugar Mt with some detours into Bald River wilderness and then got on Brookshire up to Sled Runner Gap and west on State Line Ridge to Sandy Gap and down Kirkland Creek.

    Trip report pics here---
    https://tipiwalter.smugmug.com/Backp...T-Thru-Hikers/

    Kirkland from Sandy Gap down to the creek is in pretty good shape---and I worked my butt off on Kirkland 3 crossings down as it's once again in bad shape. (There are 11 total Kirkland crossings including the final Bald River crossing)---I cleared from crossing 11 down to crossing 8. There's a primo CS after the Kirk nut drop if you cross the creek (12th crossing) into a secret camp. There's also a great CS just before you hit crossing 8.

    Trip 217 (282)-XL.jpg
    The tangled mess that is Kirkland trail.

  3. #3
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    Default Thoughts? Upper Bald River Trip Plan

    Wow, that was a mess! Thanks for the pruner work! I've wanted to get back in this area for a while and am weirdly looking forward to the water crossings.

  4. #4
    Registered User Slugg's Avatar
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    Sounds like a fun route. I backpacked Kirkland Creek last February and it was in rough shape, but easy enough to follow. A couple water crossings took me a minute to figure out where the trail picked back up on the other side.

  5. #5
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    Default Thoughts? Upper Bald River Trip Plan

    Thanks, Slugg. I'm considering a back up plan in case there is a lot of rain the week leading up to the trip assuming the Bald River crossing could get tough at high water.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mockernut View Post
    Thanks, Slugg. I'm considering a back up plan in case there is a lot of rain the week leading up to the trip assuming the Bald River crossing could get tough at high water.
    Sometimes it's better to go up Kirk first thereby pulling the pesky big BR crossing right off so whatever storms hit you have the much easier Kirk crossings which never get crazy or I should say rarely get crazy.

  7. #7
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    Default Thoughts? Upper Bald River Trip Plan

    That could work just as well! Thanks!

  8. #8
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    Default Thoughts? Upper Bald River Trip Plan

    Tipi- when you mention crossing 11, crossing 8, etc. Is that numbered coming from the BMT heading north on Kirkland or beginning at the road heading south?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mockernut View Post
    Tipi- when you mention crossing 11, crossing 8, etc. Is that numbered coming from the BMT heading north on Kirkland or beginning at the road heading south?
    Heading from Bald River road trailhead and going up. Bald River is crossing #1 then 10 Kirkland crossings etc. Crossing 12 is unneeded but if done puts you in a beautiful "secret" campsite.

  10. #10
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    Default Thoughts? Upper Bald River Trip Plan

    Gotcha, thanks very much! I'm really looking forward to this trip.

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