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  1. #1
    Senior Member Buffalo Skipper's Avatar
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    Hanging and hiking at Cheaha (pic heavy)

    I was up at Cheaha back in November with a friend, and a few days after Christmas, my son and I headed back up to Cheaha for a few days of hiking and hanging fun.

    We left home on Wednesday morning, well before dawn, with the intention of making it up to Atlanta to an REI store. My son was intent on picking up a new set of hiking poles, and since there are no local stores with any selection, it was off to a bigger city. Though he had his eye on a set of Lekis, he ultimately choose a pair of Black Diamond Carbon Alpine Corks, which weigh in at about an ounce less each than my (aluminum) Ergo Corks. We perused the store a little before the 2 hour drive from Atlanta.

    We parked at the trailhead of the Odom Trail at High Falls. We had had briefly been here once before, but had never hiked all the way in to the falls, which is only about 1/10 mile.




    We saw the lower cascades, and around each turn were greeted with larger falls.







    After ascending to the top of the falls, we scouted around, and found a great little campsite along the creek, about 50 yards upstream of the uppermost falls. My son was using my GT Skeeter Beeter Pro, while I had the chance to borrow a friend's WBBB 1.0 double.




    With temperatures predicted to be around 30°, I had my 3S Incubator. For Ian, we used a combination of 2 small pads supplementing my Summer Jarbridge River. I had used this combination effectively with similar temps back in November, so I was confident he would be warm enough, and I was right. I had some "adjustment issues" with the WBBB. This was my first time in a BB, so it took some fidgeting to get comfortable with the footbox. Most difficult for me was getting used to the direction of the lay. I had always found it most comfortable in my Skeeter Beeter (with the bug net), to lay with my head away from the zipper and my feet by the zipper, which is opposite of footbox arrangement in the WBBB. I also had some issues with the Incubator. I ended up getting up about 11pm and shortened the UQ suspension by about 8" to make up for the shorter hammock; while I was up, I also cinched up the ends some and rearranged the center suspension which slung over the ridgeline. Once I made these adjustments, I was much warmer, but was still a little befuddled by the BB, and ended up waking up every hour or so all night long. I was never particularly uncomfortable, but it was just new and different for me.

    The next day, we had a busy hike, with 12 miles planned. We were up early and broke camp. There had been a sign at the top of High Falls indicating the Odom Trail (with arrows left and right). With the left arrow pointing mostly back toward the parking lot, and the right trail heading into our camp, we continued on the trail past our camp, which went along the stream. We followed the trail about a 1/2 mile along the stream, with the trail becoming smaller and harder to follow with each step. I knew that the Odom trail went almost exactly along the ridge up the to top at the Pinhoti trail, so when we could no longer confirm the existence of the trail, we consulted the map, and it was obvious we were off track, as the Odom Trail followed the ridge immediately from High Falls. This meant we could either backtrack the 1/2 mile, or cut directly across to the trail on the ridge. It wasn't too steep here, and though there was some underbrush, it was not unreasonable. I left the decision to Ian, who chose to trailblaze directly up the side. The map indicated that the trail was exactly on the ridge, so we knew that as soon as we crested, we should be at the trail. Ten minutes later, we topped the ridge and found ourselves at the trail, so we really did not lose too much time.

    (We had hiked along the unmarked trail beside High Falls Branch to the bend beside Robinson Mountain, then bushwacked due west to meet the Odom Trail.)




    As we proceeded up the ridge, we were treated with some very nice views of what was the back-side of the "Stairway to Heaven" on the Pinhoti Trail on the next ridge.




    We arrived at the top in good time, and were pleased to find that the stream at High Spring was flowing good. When I had been up here 5 weeks before, this stream was completely dry, while now it was 6" deep and 6' across.




    We made it to the Stairway to Heaven by lunch. Again this was different from the last time I was here, as it was now a clear day, where previously we had been in a cloud, with zero visibility.







    It took a while to get down the Stairway, but we made it across Adams Gap and down the Skyway trail to Barbaree Creek. I had passed this last trip, and it was such a great site, I really wanted to make sure we camped here. It was everything I had remembered. Arriving right at sunset, we quickly made camp, but were surprised with visitors hiking through a good hour after dark. They were a group of youth and adults training for backpacking, and they had gotten ahead of some of their party, so they paused for a half hour while the rest caught up before crossing Barbaree Creek (they were not Boy Scouts, and I never did find out with what organization they were associated). The group continued to Adams Gap (in the dark), and we made dinner before heading off to sleep.

    Thursday night it was a little warmer, as the campsite at is roughly the lowest part of the loop trail. This night, I slept for 7 straight hours without waking and immediately went back to sleep until dawn. Best night I have ever had in a hammock! I do like the Blackbird.







    By morning, we realized that Ian had some significant blisters on both feet, and we decided to bring the trip to an end. It wasn't as much as we had originally planned to hike, but it was plenty, and we had a good time. We are both looking forward to picking up some new boots and coming back to finish the loop, maybe starting from a different place next time.

    Great trip and good hanging.
    “Indian builds small fire and stays warm, white man builds big fire and stays warm collecting firewood”—unknown

    “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”—Karen Blixen

  2. #2
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    Nice trip report and pictures! I hope Ian's feet are better! Thanks for posting
    "Pips"
    Mountains have a dreamy way
    Of folding up a noisy day
    In quiet covers, cool and gray.

    ---Leigh Buckner Hanes

    Surely, God could have made a better way to sleep.

    Surely, God never did.

  3. #3
    Scottybdiving's Avatar
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    Very nice trip report. Looks like a great way to spend time with your son. Maybe a little moleskin to go with the new boots? Great choice on the new hiking poles. They will be my next set.
    We are now ready to start our way down the Great Unknown.We are three quarters of a mile in the depth of the earth.We have an unknown distance yet to run, an unknow river yet to explore.What falls there are, we know not; what rocks beset the channel, we know not; what walls rise over the river, we know not. Ah, well! We may conjecture many things. The men talk as cheerfully as ever; jests are bandied about freely this morning; but to me the cheer is somber and the jests are ghastly. Powell 1869

  4. #4
    aboyd's Avatar
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    Great report Skipper, glad to see you are enjoying the Cheaha area sop much. I have got to get back up there myself soon. My son is not up to the hiking in and camping yet, but I am getting him there.
    "I will study and get ready, and perhaps my chance will come." - Abraham Lincoln

  5. #5
    Senior Member Veto 65's Avatar
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    Very nice report. I'm glad you and your son had a great time, sorry to hear about his blisters cutting the trip short.
    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)

  6. #6
    Senior Member Buffalo Skipper's Avatar
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    New Boots

    Thanks for the sympathy for Ian's blisters.

    For the record, we kind of knew that his boots were too small. Just 6 weeks before, he and I had hiked about 15 miles one day, but it was a day hike on much easier terrain than Cheaha, but he had few problems. This summer he will be going to Philmont Scout Ranch for a 10 day trek, and as he is still a growing boy, we are going to get him some new boots late in the spring. We were just trying to get a few more hikes out of his old ones. Now I imagine we will pick up a cheap pair (HiTec) to get him through the next 3-4 months. Oh well. Luckily he has a high pain tolerance, so he never really complained, he just said: "I've got blisters on both of my feet, can you check them out?" They ended up being nearly quarter sized, one on the side of each big toe; pretty obviously caused by outgrown boots. But once I dressed them, he hiked out without a word of complaint or even a comment.
    “Indian builds small fire and stays warm, white man builds big fire and stays warm collecting firewood”—unknown

    “The cure for anything is salt water - sweat, tears, or the sea”—Karen Blixen

  7. #7
    Fronkey's Avatar
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    Awesome report dude! You two picked a great hanging spot by that creek. Bummer about Ian's blisters and looking forward to seeing your next report on the return to Cheaha.

    Fronkey

  8. #8
    Senior Member shhQuiet's Avatar
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    Thanks for the report! Looks great- Just got back from an overnight in Cheaha myself. Great to see a father/son in the outdoors. Keep it up! And tell your son to try Hydropel for feet

  9. #9
    bloomgorge's Avatar
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    i actually miss cheaha, i also miss hikes up near gadsden, al. i wish i would have done more with it right next to where i was living while down there.
    http://smartoutdoors.webs.com/ elephant trunks, tarp keys and crosses

  10. #10
    Yoda's Avatar
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    What a great report and picture's, so cool to spend time with your boy like that! Blisters always find a way to make things like walking harder to do, but it sounds like he was a trooper through it, hope he has a great time at Philmont!
    Formerly known as "Cranky Bear"....

    "yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift---thats why its called a present" - Master Oogway

    It's always best if your an early riser!

    I like hiking as it's like exercise!

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