Spent a couple nights along Noland Creek at Campsite 64 over the weekend. We had a group of nine, 6 adults and 3 kids. Two hammocks and 3 tents. The ground dwellers were all wanting hammocks after the first night.
I left my camera at a friends, but have a couple videos below from my iphone.
We started our trip at Climgmans Dome parking lot, headed down the Forney Ridge Trail approximately 1.8 miles and came to Andrews Bald. The bald offers excellent views of the surrounding mountains and Fontana Lake. Shortly after leaving Andrews Bald, one member of our group suffered an ankle sprain. This signficantly slowed our progress so we split the group and several of us headed on down the trail in order to set up camp at a decent hour At around 5 miles we intersected the Springhouse branch trail. Hiked along Springhouse Branch Trail for 2.8 miles ending at Campsite 64 on Noland Creek.
We made it to the campsite around 7pm and fortunately, there was only one other group besides ours, no horses at all which was definitely a plus. My guidebook had warned of overuse by horse campers and a fowl smell during the summer months. Thankfully this wasn't the case during our stay.
Our injured member and his friend made it to camp a little after dark. Temps were comfortable so we built a fire and spent the evening sharing stories. I slept great in my 1.1 dbl WB, using my diy 1 layer IX TQ and dbl layer IX UQ. For weather protection I was using a BWDD 3S tarp. I loaned a friend one of my gathered end hammocks, BWDD 3S clone tarp, and new diy bugnet based on Knotty's design. I show each of these setups in the videos.
We woke early Saturday morning and spent the day fishing for trout and exploring the area. Noland Creek was once a thriving settlement and there are many old foundations and other structures along the trail. There's a large cemetary as well, just north of campsite 64. Around 10 trout were caught by our group and we supplemented our dehrydrated meals with fresh tasty trout. On this trip I carried dehydrated spaghetti of my own making. Babelfish5's videos inspired me to start making my own meals and I'm glad I did. My spaghetti was much better than the Mountain House meal I usually take along. I rehydrated my meals with my Bongo Pro 2 and MSR Titan Kettle. This setup was perfect for rehydrated the meals.
Around midnight on Saturday it started raining and pretty much rained all night long. Of course I was comfortable and dry under my tarp and slept well in the WB. Our ground dwelling group members had a miserable night on the ground. One of the tents developed a leak and my friend and his two boys basically tried to sleep in a puddle of water all night. They'll be in hammocks for sure next trip.
We took our time breaking camp Sunday morning as we had an easy 4 mile down hill hike to our cars. The trail from CS 64 to Lakeshore Drive is basically gravel jeep track the entire way.
We made a quick trip to the big tunnel at the end of Lakeshore Drive. Lakeshore Drive is called the "Road to Nowhere" since it was never finished after the park was established. If you haven't seen the tunnel, I recommend checking it out if you're in the area. The tunnel is 300 yards long. You can walk the entire length.
We left the tunnel and grabbed showers at one of the local tubing establishments along Deep creek. After a lunch of pizza and hot wings we headed home.
I'll add pictures later once I retrieve my camera. For now the videos below show an overview of the gear we used and the remains of old hydro power station along the creek. Hope you enjoy.
See photos here: