Monday, July 21, 2008

Hiking Big Creek

This weekend brought a good time to go hiking with my girlfriend and get her personally acquainted with the Great Smoky Mountains so we decided to try Big Creek. I have never been there before so I thought it was a good opportunity to scout out some new water, plus it is about as close as many place in the Smokies for me. 

We got insanely early and were there a little before daybreak. After putting the finishing touches on our packs, we headed out and on our way. Since there were no other people out, we decided we better stop and get some good pictures of both the midnight hole and Mouse Creek Falls on the way in instead of on the way out for fear of swimmers.
We continued our way up the relatively easy trail enjoying the scenery along the way. We eventually made it 5.1 miles to the walnut bottoms campsite and decided to go out in search of Swallow Fork. Unfortunately, I had made the costly mistake of accidentally leaving the map at home so we set out not knowing what was in store for us. After a hearty mile or so hike up the Swallow Fork Trail with no sight of water we decided to turn back. On our way back, we were snuck up on by a couple deer who seemed to be just as interested in us as we were to them. 

I was going to fish around the campsite but we decided to start the hike back to get a little closer to the trailhead. We ended up going all the way back to Mouse Creek Falls before we rested. There my girlfriend took up a rock with a book while I rigged up my rod and started fishing. Immediately I got into fish who were attacking my parachute yellow fly. I only fished for about 15 minutes before we were bombarded my swimmers and decided to call it a day. I ended up bringing 7 fish to hand and missing many more, although none were any size. This creek appears to be full of fish and I would love to fish up in brook trout territory.

We made it back to the trailhead at about 3 and had a very nice chat with an elderly couple who were the campground hosts. I can't post a report on this without tipping my hat to my girlfriend. This was her first serious hiking trip with a backpack and she did well. Although she was sore she never complained and did a great job. I didn't mean to take her that far but she wanted to go and she can't wait to go back. Looks like I have a keeper. 

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