Arrived at Burrells Ford Campground around 6pm. Met up with Loki and RF. Had a nice dinner and fellowship around the fire before retiring to the hammock around 9:30. I was really pumped up looking forward to getting this hike going even though I found out I would be hiking solo. I never mind soloing though as it really gives you a chance to connect not only wit yourself but Nature as well
My good friends and shuttle crew for this Trip Running Feather and Loki, or sherpa 1 and sherpa dropped me at Sloan Bridge along Highway 107. After a little bit of lollygaging . I hit the trail 9:45am
It was a Cool cloudy day to start my roughly 25 mile trip
The trail from Sloan Bridge to Fish Hatchery Road was in good shape a few minor blow downs along with a couple knarly spots with roots rock and mud. Made excellent time. 1hr 20 to FHR. Taking a break here for hydration and a snack. Arrive at FHR at 11:05AM
Leaving FHR I began Ascending the mountain. Not a hard assent, but enough to get the blood pumping. This was followed by a nice wooded walk with some limited views of Chattooga gorge along with some undulations along the ridge. Switchbacks lead the way down the pretty sharp decent to bfr offering some more obstructed views into Chattooga gorge.
The trail then made a easy decent into Burrells Ford Campground.
What a great hike it was. I surprised myself with the time I made even with this being an easier section if the FHT
Total milage 7.78
Time 3hr 55 min
Set up camp in the same spot as last night. The rains began late in the afternoon so we huddled under a tarp Loki brought down from his van. Had MH New Orleans style of rice with ham and shrimp.Loki also surprised me with some cheesecake he had picked up at a restaurant he and RF found on their adventures during the day.
Headed to the hammock around 730. After a while of relaxing my eyes began to feel heavy. The rain was still coming down quite heavy as well. Hoped for better conditions for hiking on Saturday. Hiking in the rain sucks but I was not calling off my trip due to rain... One leg down. 2 to go
After a night of rain and great sleep. Decided to slack pack to Nicholson Ford Road. My good friends really didn't want to tear down camp at BFC and to be quite truthful, I didn't want to tear down a pack wet gear either. Also being that I have backpacked this stretch multiple times. I figured why not just slack pack it. Hit the trail around 10:30am. Today's hike was marked by spotty trail and rainy weather. Still a fun hike.
I had forgot about parts of this section and some parts seemed to drag on. A grind a times. Saw quite a few blow downs along the way and one that had uprooted and taken a section of the trail with it.
Met Loki and RF at Pigpen Falls to catch a ride back to BFC where we'd stay for the night. I was pleasantly surprised to run into my buddy JJ and his girlfriend as they were getting ready head down to the river to camp. Along with them at the Trail Access was Hayward Douglass, The president of the FTC. Had a nice conversation with him about the trail and trail conditions. Ont the way back to BFC. We stopped for dinner at the Mountain Rest cafe . Great food and a pleasnt atmosphere. Sunday, Loki and RF would drop me back at Nicholson Ford Road. From there I will hike the 7.6 miles to Oconee State Park. Mike and Loki planed to join up with me at jumping branch access and hike the last 4.2 with me
Off trail 3:45 P.M
Time on trail: 5hrs 15 mins
Late start to the day. On trail at 12:05. The sun decided to come out for the last day of the trip and the forrest was full of florissant green as spring seemed to have sprung over night. Made it to 107 at 12:50pm and To jumping branch at 1:25PM Little sluggish out of the gates but felt real good by the time I hit JBA. Stopped for a short break and a snack before making the final 4.6 to OSP. Got back on trail after my break at 1:50. I couldn't help but think about the fact that is was Easter and here I was surrounded by new life springing all around me. At one point a nice breeze came up and I just had to stop, close my eyes and soak it all in.
There was a nice accent up long mountain after leaving JBA. Once up the top I took a quick side trail up to the summit and the old fire tower. unfortunately it was locked up by a fence so I just took a picture and started the decent to Oconee State Park.
Time on trail 3hrs 35min
total mileage: 24.42
A very special thanks to RF and Loki for the Shuttles!!!