Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 16
  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    155
    Images
    1

    Sipsey Wilderness - March 27-29, 2011

    A friend, Trail Mix, and I just got back from a trip into the Sipsey Wilderness. Thought I'd post a short trip report. I might have a video later.

    Day 1:

    Arrived at the Sipsey Rec area trailhead planning to hike to the Big Tree, Ship Rock and back in two days. We hiked up to trail 209 at the Borden Creek crossing. There were three beautiful waterfalls in just the first 0.4 miles. All the rain we had a couple of days ago made the falls amazing, but also made Borden Creek impassible. We came back to the trailhead and switched to plan B: Start at the Thompson Creek trailhead. On the way there we stopped at Kinlock Falls (again, amazing because of the volume of water).

    We left the trailhead about 5pm and hiked in. The three creek crossings were more difficult than anticipated (again, high water and fast current). After a mile or so we decided to make camp. It was overcast and the forecast called for rain. We set up on a nice site next to Thompson Creek. For those who care, the setup includes a Grand Trunk Ultralight hammock with whoopie slings and Arrowhead tree huggers, my new Gear Guide 12x12 tarp and a DIY AMK Heatsheet underquilt.



    We turned in around 8:30 because it had started to rain (I lowered the tarp from "porch mode" to "low to the ground" mode. At about 10pm the first of FIVE thunderstorms rolled in. I have never had a more harrowing night of camping. EVER. I kept peeking out under the tarp to see if the creek was getting close, which it didn't (we were at least 15 feet above the creek).

    The good news: My new Gear Guide tarp performed admirably. Not a single leak, stayed tight in the storm, and the huge tarp was big enough to keep my gear safe and dry.

    The bad news: My 45F sleeping setup wasn't ready for the 38F we faced that night and I ended up quite cold by morning.

    Day 2:

    Here's Thompson Creek when we got up:



    My camping buddy had water in his tent but not enough to force us to abort. We broke camp and hiked the last couple of miles in to Ship Rock.



    I set up my tarp and we stuck our packs beneath it, then set off to find the Eye of the Needle. Didn't take too long. We hiked to the Eye...



    and I was surprised to see my tarp when I looked down the other side through the Eye. Cool! The Gear Guide tarp is certainly not for stealth camping.

    This part of the Sipsey has it all: Beautiful rock features, rapids, beaches, and the spring flowers were just beginning to bloom. I'll try to get those pics into the video.

    After hiking down to the northern end of 209 to see the Sipsey Fork River, we came back to Ship Rock camp for a nap. I brought a surprise for my hiking non-hammocking buddy: A second GTUL! I set up both hammocks and we settled in for an afternoon nap.



    We may have a convert. We'll see. Here's my setup for night 2:



    Notice that I broke out my AMK Thermolite Bivvy for extra insulation that night.

    Day 3:

    After a foggy 43F night where I stayed warm and comfortable (no storms, no rain), I awoke to significant condensation in my bag thanks to the bivvy sack. We ate breakfast, broke camp and hiked back out. The streams were much lower and crossing was easy.



    I would rate the trail as easy in dry weather (it's mostly flat) and a low moderate in wet weather (very slippery with stream crossings).

    What a great trip, with a bit of weather excitement to make it even more memorable. I highly recommend a visit to the Thompson Creek Trail. Thanks for letting me share with you.

    - Navigator

  2. #2
    krugd's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Northern Ky
    Hammock
    Wannabee- BB-like hammock
    Tarp
    8 x 10 sil tarp
    Insulation
    DIY tq, Phoenix UQ
    Suspension
    whoopie slings and
    Posts
    697
    Thanks for the report, Navigator. Looks to be a nice trip. Glad you stayed warm the second night.
    --Don---

    May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your mountains rise into and above the clouds. - Ed Abbey

  3. #3
    Senior Member wolf track's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Denison Tx
    Hammock
    WL lite owl
    Tarp
    camo BMJ
    Insulation
    Phoenix & Burrow
    Suspension
    whoopies
    Posts
    149
    Five thunderstorms in one night? That's gotta make ya love having a new tarp with good coverage. Looks like a cool place.

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    155
    Images
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by wolf track View Post
    Five thunderstorms in one night? That's gotta make ya love having a new tarp with good coverage. Looks like a cool place.
    No kidding. I didn't realize that the Gear Guide's maiden voyage would be such a test.

    Here's a link to the Storm Prediction Center's storm reports for that day. Plenty of action in northern Alabama:

    http://www.spc.noaa.gov/climo/reports/110327_rpts.html

  5. #5
    Senior Member angrysparrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2007
    Location
    near Memphis, TN
    Hammock
    WB Traveler
    Tarp
    ZPacks CF
    Insulation
    Te-Wa / HG / WB
    Suspension
    Whoopie Hooks
    Posts
    9,686
    Images
    92
    Good stuff. I too have spent some great rainy nights in the Sipsey!

    Glad you enjoyed your trip.

    Next time you go to Thompson Creek TH, you should try the Whiteoak Hollow route into West Bee Branch. Only one creek to cross before the Big Tree on that route.
    “I think that when the lies are all told and forgot the truth will be there yet. It dont move about from place to place and it dont change from time to time. You cant corrupt it any more than you can salt salt.” - Cormac McCarthy

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    xxx
    Posts
    405
    another note - if Borden Creek is up one approach is instead of going all the way to Thompson TH go to the Crooked Bridge (aka Borden Creek TH) and cross the bridge and hike downstream on what I call Alt 200 down to 209 and continue as you had planned.

  7. #7
    mbiraman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    West Kootenays,BC,Canada
    Hammock
    Warbonnet BB DL 1.1 & Lite Owl
    Tarp
    Black MacCat Del.
    Insulation
    Yeti 3,4 & HRQ/HGB
    Suspension
    webbing/whoopie
    Posts
    4,370
    Images
    7
    Great pics. I'll probably never get to Sipsey but i've been impressed with the beauty of the area that i've seen in yours and other folks pics. It seems like a great place to hike and camp. Thanks for sharing
    " The mind creates the abyss, the heart crosses it."

    “The measure of your life will not be in what you accumulate, but in what you give away.” ~Wayne Dyer

    www.birchsidecustomwoodwork.com

  8. #8
    Whoooo Buddy)))) Shug's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Minnesota
    Hammock
    DIY GreenBeanHammock
    Tarp
    DIY Tarps/HG Cuben
    Insulation
    Frankenquilt/Pod
    Suspension
    Whoopie Slings
    Posts
    14,488
    Images
    62
    Looks fantastic down there....been wanting to go do Sipsey for a while now.
    'Preciate the report. Looks like a fun and wet trip.
    Shug
    Whoooo Buddy)))) I Love Onions, Grits, Greens, Livermush, NC Style BBQ, Potted Meat, Anchovies, 'Naner Puddin", Peanut Butter Pie, Red Velvet Cake and Cocoa and Straaaaaawwwwberrrry Milk and Coffee Crisps....
    I Hope Heaven has a Bakery!!!!



    Shug's YouTube Videos

    Hammock How-To Videos ..... Essentials For Noobs

    Shug and Friends Jammin'

  9. #9
    Senior Member Veto 65's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Cohoes, New York
    Hammock
    WBBB 1.7 DL
    Tarp
    Chinook 9.6x9.6
    Insulation
    AH New River UQ
    Suspension
    Came with the BB
    Posts
    860
    Images
    6
    Great report. Thanks for posting pics too.
    I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority. - E. B. White (1899 - 1985)

  10. #10
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    United States
    Posts
    155
    Images
    1

    Radar from that night

    Just for grins, here is a shot of the weather radar at 9:20 pm Sunday evening. Note the bands of storms to the west of Alabama. That's what we "weathered."


Tags for this Thread

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •