On Friday, April 5, 2013, I headed to Big South Fork National Recreation Area for some much needed solitude. I arrived at Bandy Creek Campground early in the afternoon to register and get a permit. As usual, the lady was extremely knowlegable and helpful, suggesting routes and possible campsites.
I drove to the Middle Creek trailhead and hit the trail. I took the lower part of the Middle Creek loop going in so I would pass the more scenic rock overhangs along the way. I knew that on the way out, I would be in more of a hurry. I hiked the 2.5-3.0 miles to the connector trail that led to the Slave Falls loop. I skipped the .2 mile side trip to Slave Falls, but passed Needle Arch. It turns out that on either side of the falls, there is a .2 mile side trail to the falls. As it was getting late in the afternoon, I decided to catch the falls on the way out. As I hiked along the Slave Falls/Charit Creek trail, I began looking for an established campsite. I found a nice site along the creek bank with just enough time to set up camp before dark. I spent a nice evening relaxing and performing camp chores.
For dinner, I was trying a free sample of beef stroganoff from Wise Food Storage. The meal passed my test, with the only drawback being that I needed to divide it into smaller portions. The flavor was great!
I have no idea what time I went to bed, but I was pretty tired when I did. I had a new thermometer with me on this trip. It had a receiver that you hand outside of your hammock and a digital unit that you keep inside. It has the options to display both inside and outside temps as well as the highs and lows for the night. It showed that the temps dropped to 32 degrees on Friday (39 inside my hammock). My sleeping has a leak in it so I woke up three times during the night a little on the chilled side. Each time, I got up, stoked the fire and warmed up a little, reinflated my pad and went back to sleep. The next time that I woke up, the sun was shining and it seemed pretty warm. I immediately checked the temp to find that it was 55 degrees so turned my phone on to see the time. I was amazed to find that I had slept to 11:00am! Now that's some good sleep!
After breakfast and coffee, I packed up and headed to Jake's Place, my campsite for the night. I set up there but was a little disappointed in the site. It is mostly meadow with few trees and seems to be heavily used. I took the best of the 3 or 4 sites next to the creek and it wasn't bad at all. After making my home for the night, I dayhiked the Twin Arches loop. It is a 4.5 mile round trip and is more difficult than the rest of the hike. The climb to the arches prove to be well worth it! I am rarely awestruck by things, but this is a sight to see! After I checked out the arches for a while, I went back to camp for a pleasant but uneventful night.
I woke on Sunday, had breakfast, packed up and headed out. The trip out was nice even though I was covering some of the same trails for a second time. I went by slave falls and took the opposite side of the Slave Falls Loop and Middle Creek loop and made it back to my truck feeling tired, but wishing I could stay another night!