The weekend before last, Brandon and I decided to go backpacking.
Dad joined us for the first two miles or so, and the three of us set off from the end of the accessible CC road. A short distance down that road was the thin snaking path of the Pinhoti. We began down this path, contemplating the sheer distance that this walking path network could take you. The Pinhoti meets with the Benton Mackaye trail, which connects to the Appalachian Trail, leading all the way to Maine.
Just down the trail stood the stoic, bullet ridden sign stating the distances to various landmarks.
That top one used to read "CR 24 7." This distance again proved to be incorrect, but less so than normal.
I am not sure exactly why, but it seems as though it rains bullets in the national forest, as every man made object out there is full of bullet holes.
We then proceeded along the trail, which wound through different microbiomes. There were pine forests, smaller thickets, and large, more open stretches with really old trees and a thick canopy.
Eventually, we came to a slightly uphill stretch, where dad decided to turn back. He had planned to accompany us for a little ways, and ended up going further than planned. We waved goodbye and headed deeper into the wilderness.
Before long, we came to a power line cut.
Shortly thereafter, we came to the area of Hillaby Creek.
There was a campsite with a fire ring there, and the trail crossed the creek. Brandon and I sat down to eat a small snack. We observed that someone had left a fair amount of stuff there, some old underwear, jeans, a fly or ground tarp of a tent, and some assorted trash. We speculated about bigfoot attacks and the like, and then headed on. It hadn't rained recently, so the creek wasn't too deep, but it was wide. I can see how it would be a major obstacle in the wet season. I crossed it fairly easily in my boots, but Brandon was wearing tennis shoes. He opted to cross barefoot, which seemed cold, judging by his exclamations.
This stretch of trail appeared to be extremely remote, and very rarely trekked. We did not see another hiker the whole trip, and the campsites had very little trash or appearance of use. Many popular campsites have very little wood, due to other people using all the dry wood. This wasn't a problem here, as the stone fire ring was the only sign that people had ever been here. We managed a pretty good stack of dryish wood, but none of it was bone dry. The valley ground was fairly moist, even though it hadn't rained much. None the less, we managed a pretty good fire after a little while.
We ate dinner and sat by the fire talking for a while before retiring to our shelters.
I slept well, falling asleep to the recognizable "Who cooks for yooou?" of a Barred owl. I then woke up around 6:45 the next morning with flecks of sunlight hitting the trees a hundred feet above the camp.
That tree had fallen over the trail, leaving only a small accessible path toward the base of it. The trail was still following along a creek here, giving a cool atmosphere and flat walking.
We hiked on, down into another creek valley, until we could hear the road pretty clearly. Coming around another corner, we saw the causeway of the road. About a hundred yards from the road, I stepped on a loose part of the trail. The edge of the trail gave way into the valley below, and I fell to the ground. I threw myself backwards to land on my pack, and something in all that prevented me from falling down the cliff. I got back up, and we walked out of the forest onto CR 24. However, (pardon the pun) we weren't out of the woods yet. The Jeep was still a little ways up the road at Morgan Lake. So we waited for traffic to clear, and then crossed the road. We walked on the side of the road for a short ways and came to the turn of the lake's road. We walked a ways down, and soon we saw the Jeep.