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Author Topic: Trip Report: Big South Fork Angel Falls OV & JMT  (Read 416 times)

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thedayhascome

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Trip Report: Big South Fork Angel Falls OV & JMT
« on: September 28, 2017, 09:35:02 AM »

Sept 22-24, 2017
Temps: 85/60
Map: https://caltopo.com/m/3HRH

Hiked roughly 20 miles in Big South Fork for 3 days this past weekend with my dog and good friend. It's an absolutely beautiful area and we enjoyed wonderful, warm weather. The trails were mostly well maintained with very little usage. I would say this definitely prevails over the Red for sheer wilderness and solitude. It may quickly become a new favorite location. Hiking along the river, Class II rapids in some sections was awesome, I loved having close access to clean water along over 75% of our hike. This really helped to reduce how much water we were carrying at any given time. We only saw a few people on the trail, mostly local families day hiking without any gear.

Started out near Bandy Creek Visitor center and headed East on John Litton Trail to Angel Falls OV, then South on JMT to O&W Bridge and Trail. Eventually turned North on Coyle Branch Trail to complete the loop. Not much for wildlife, didn't see any snakes, bears, or the like.

Found some wild muscadines along the John Litton trail that smelled absolutely delicious. At the time, we weren't completely sure they were safe to consume and didn't want to risk it for something silly, but we were about 90% sure what we had found. Looking back, now I wish we would had collected some to make trail grapejuice at camp. Next time!

Lessons Learned:
  • There were only a few items that weren't absolutely necessary that I won't take next time, e.g. (extra dog food bowl, sleeping pad for warmth in hammock, and an extra puck light for camp).
  • The O&W multipurpose trail (hike, bike, ATV & horse) wasn't completely muddy, but still mostly destroyed from horse traffic. I will do my best to avoid multiuse trails from now on and stick to foot traffic only. We were never really able to locate an ideal location off trail for camp along this trail, since it's just mostly a road and probably rarely used for foot traffic.
  • Also, more booze.


Things that worked well:
  • Brought along a small titanium plate this time to eat my dehydrated meals instead of right out of the bag, and that was a much more pleasant experience.
  • I used a thin 30' Dyneema line for the dog run, and this worked out great. It gave the dog plenty of freedom at camp and it weighs less than 0.5oz.
  • The dog had two small sit pads used together to sleep on, and since the weather was fairly warm, she didn't require any additional layers or warmth.
  • Due to temp lows around 60, I used a modified Costco down quilt (Double Black Diamond) at around 13oz. in the hammock, which was plenty warm.
  • At camp, we mixed single serving Snapple peach tea packets with a little cold water and bourbon, it was heavenly and refreshing after a long day of hiking. A++

Gear Breakdown:
My base pack weight for myself and dog was right around 7lbs., a total pack weight around 13.75lbs at most with food and water for both.
Gear Details: https://lighterpack.com/r/dxt8p9





John Litton Trail


Fall Branch on John Litton Trail






Rock Shelter on John Litton Trail






Massive Fungus on JLT


BSF Cumberland River Overlook


Angel Falls Overlook


Sunset




Campsite near Angel Falls OV




Hammock Setup


Angel Falls OV


Fall Branch Creek Crossing




Cumberland River at Leatherwood Rd 297 bridge


Boulders on JMT


Cumberland River at O&W Bridge


O&W Bridge


BSF Cumberland River


O&W Climbing Wall


O&W Multi-use Bridge


Scored ice-cold beer along the O&W Trail from some nice horse people (they aren't all that bad, their horses just destroy the trail)


Overall, great trip! Highly recommended to check it out! Want to make it down to Honey Creek Loop the next time around.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2017, 10:02:39 AM by thedayhascome »
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Bazinga

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Re: Trip Report: Big South Fork Angel Falls OV & JMT
« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2017, 08:49:54 PM »

Looks like a great trip.  We're planning a trip soon.   :)
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wsp_scott

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Re: Trip Report: Big South Fork Angel Falls OV & JMT
« Reply #2 on: September 30, 2017, 02:48:30 PM »

Nice trip, looks like great weather to be outside.

The Honey Creek loop is awesome. There are also a lot of old roads/trails on the ridge above Devils Den that I want to explore one day.
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thedayhascome

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Re: Trip Report: Big South Fork Angel Falls OV & JMT
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2017, 04:16:32 PM »

Nice trip, looks like great weather to be outside.

The Honey Creek loop is awesome. There are also a lot of old roads/trails on the ridge above Devils Den that I want to explore one day.

Our original intent was to make it down to complete the Honey Creek loop and backtrack north on JMT. Given the amount of time we had and the additional miles, we opted to head back on O&W instead. Almost wish we would have checked out Devil's Den and at least a section of Honey Creek. That is definitely in the plans for next time. Will probably use a shuttle service to get us from one end to the other so we can cover more ground without the need to backtrack or loop around.
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6.5lbs base weight | https://lighterpack.com/r/86ugs2

wsp_scott

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Re: Trip Report: Big South Fork Angel Falls OV & JMT
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2017, 05:46:39 PM »

The one time I did the Honey Creek loop I started at Leatherwood Ford. It is a very easy couple of miles to Devils Den and then only about 2 more to the north side of the loop. You could do it in a long dayhike if you wanted or an easy overnight. Not worth dealing with a shuttle in my opinion.
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