Twig Adventures

BMT Day 1: Picture Perfect

Wednesday, May 1st, 2024, 0740-1900Springer Mountain Shelter to Wallalah Mt., mm 2121 miles, Gain: 4400′, Loss: 5050′, elevation 3086′ My goodness, what a beautiful trail the BMT was at the start! Green tunnels, waterfalls, swing bridges, rivers, creeks, and mountain top sunsets and sunrises. I didn’t set an alarm and woke with the dawn. The birds were in full swing with their songs, so lovely. The sun came up over the ridge and the rays penetrated brilliantly through the trees. While having breakfast at the shelter, RocknRoll asked if I’d screamed in the middle of the night and if I was ok. It was such a peaceful night, but perhaps I had a night terror. Or maybe it was one[…]

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BMT Day 0: The Approach

Tuesday, April 30th, 2024, 1400-1930Amicalola Falls State Park (famous Stone Arch at the beginning of the AT approach trail) to Springer Mountain Shelter, mm 010 miles, Gain: 3270′, Loss: 1300′, elevation 3780′ It was an auspicious and serendipitous Day 0 to get to the start of the BMT. In actuality, it was a several day journey to get to this point, which I’ll try to quickly sum up. Two days before, I drove from Miami to Gainesville so I could split the drive and also reconnect with my friend Eve. I met her through the Florida Trail Association and we had adventured together a lot in years past. She moved from Miami to Gainesville a few years ago, which made[…]

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Up Next: the Benton MacKaye Trail

The¬†Benton MacKaye¬†Trail (BMT) is named after a visionary, who, in 1921, was the first to propose the idea of a continuous footpath running from Maine to Georgia…the Appalachian Trail. Incidentally, his New England roots are the reason original AT signage says “Maine to Georgia”, rather than the other way around, which is typically the direction the trail is hiked. (I, of course, followed historical protocols and hiked the AT southbound in 2021.) The BMT was officially opened on July 16, 2005 and is maintained by the BMT Association. Description from the Benton MacKaye Trail Association website: With its glorious ridgeline views and the innumerable crossings of mountain streams, the almost 300 mile long Benton MacKaye Trail comes by its reputation[…]

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GC Day 19: A Wakeup to Diamond Creek, Summary & Post-Trip

Friday, March 8th 2024 220 Mile camp to Diamond Creek mile 2266 miles, elevation 1346′ I woke to the most condensation on my tent the whole trip. But it didn’t matter, since I didn’t plan to be setting up my tent again for awhile. I was packed by 6 am and helping get breakfast done as fast as possible. So was everyone else…we were on the water by 8 am! We were supposed to meet the outfitter by 10 am, and still had 6 miles to go, so we had a fire lit under us. We actually made it to the take out by 9:30 am, thus we were really moving this morning. As soon as we landed on the[…]

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GC Day 18: Rain Day

Thursday, March 7th 2024 Parashant Camp mile 199 to 220 Mile (middle) camp21 miles, elevation 1390′ I woke up to the smell of rain on the air…it’s very distinguishable in the desert. After many nights in the backcountry, it also acted as a sort of alarm bell for me. I detested packing a wet tent, after all. I sprang out of bed and quickly broke my camp. This proved to be a good call since shortly after 7 am, I felt the first drops. We needed to be quick about getting on the river this day, since we had a lot of miles to cover, so it helped that the rain spurred everyone along. So too did my screaming from[…]

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GC Days 16 & 17: Parashant

Tuesday, March 5th 2024 Upper 185 Mile camp mile 186 to Parashant Camp mile 19913 miles, elevation 1533′ We set off from camp pretty lazily, anticipating a shorter day. We’d been cautious not to go too far the day before, fearful that we’d creep up on the Americans again. The campsite at Whitmore Wash sounded nice, but we suspected they might be there. We didn’t want a repeat of Day 13 and we had no need to be in a hurry, after all. Same went for this day too. We had 3.25 days to go 40 miles, so we were planning to do another layover. Just a few miles after getting on the river, we stopped just upstream of Whitmore[…]

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GC Day 15: Lava

Monday, March 4th 2024Lower National (Sandblaster Camp) mile 167 to Upper 185 Mile camp mile 186 19 miles, elevation 1628′ I’d never been so happy to get back on the river as this day. The wind abated and the skies were clear, so it seemed like perfect conditions to finally break free of Sandblaster campsite. Also, my shoulder was feeling much better. I could even lift some things. Plus, this was the day we were going to run our final big rapid. There was a sense of looking forward to it and of just wanting to get it over with. We got a decent start and crushed 13 miles by lunch, just in time to pull over for the scout.[…]

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GC Days 13 & 14: Havasu and Wind Layover

Saturday, March 2nd 2024 Ledges Camp mile 152 to Lower National (Sandblaster Camp) mile 167 15 miles, elevation 1768′ Not surprisingly, I didn’t sleep very well, having a hard time getting comfortable. Everything was aching from my fall, not just my shoulder. I took another Vicodin as soon as I woke, waiting for it to kick in before I started moving. A pair of pesky ravens forced me out of my tent, their cries warning that they were awake and raiding our camp again. They’d swooped in as soon as we landed the day before and had already taken off with some various loot, including a whistle. We did a good job protecting our food but they were willing to[…]

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GC Day 12: Matkat Dislocation

Friday, March 1st 2024 Opposite Deer Creek Camp mile 136.8 to Ledges Camp mile 152 15 miles, elevation 1828′ I started the day with a wild hair, deciding to paddle the 2 person ducky for a spell. I paddled an almost identical craft with my dad back in the days. Together we ran rapids on the Arkansas, Colorado, San Juan, Green and Yampa rivers, so I had many fond memories from such a boat. Tina joined me this day and we thought nothing of tackling a class 4 rapid after only 1 mile. We followed Charlie’s raft into Doris rapid, which was a mistake since he headed straight into the action. We didn’t call him Fun-Time Charlie for nothing, as[…]

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GC Days 10 & 11: Tapeats and Deer Creek

Wednesday, February 28th 2024 Fossil Camp mile 125.4 to Opposite Deer Creek Camp mile 136.8 11.4 miles, elevation 1962′ (hiking 8.6 miles, minus 2.5 miles missed along the river) This day was all about getting our hiking game up to speed. But first we had to make it past two Class 7 rapids, Bedrock and Deubendorff Rapids. I rode with Cleve for the first time, which I enjoyed very much. Bedrock is an intimidating rapid, with a giant building-sized boulder splitting the river into 2 halves. Rafts need to nail the right line, otherwise they can get pushed up against the rock and become high-sided (flipped) or stuck. Worse yet, they can go down the left channel, which has huge[…]

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