Siegel Family Camping!

welcome to
Siegel Family Camping Adventures


Eagle Creek Island - 9/30/06
Eagle Creek, Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park

This was our 7th trip to Smoky Mountains Natl. Park for 2006. We had expected a great trip, since there was now fall-like weather in the area. There were clear blue skies and the temperature was in the mid 60's. The trip started off on an awkward note as we got a late start. We didn't get across Fontana Lake in order to start the hike until 3:45pm. We had hiked up Eagle Creek before, when we camped at the Lower Ekaneetlee campsite. The Eagle Creek Island campsite is about 1 mile further up the trail than Lower Ekaneetlee, which brough this hike to around 3 miles each way. The Eagle Creek trail crosses the creek itself many times on the way up. During the summer months when it was hot outside, the cool water of the creek posed no problem when we crossed it wearing our water shoes and was, in fact, quite refreshing. However, since Fall-like had clearly started to set in at the end of September, the air was much cooler and water a good bit colder. We thought we would compensate for this by wearing our nice gore-tex waterproof hiking boots. This, however, proved to be a big mistake. The water was way to deep for our boots to protect us, so we just ended up having boots that were completely soaked with ice cold water. We would have probably been better off just wearing our water shoes again. Take the colder, deeper water, add soaked boots and then add a 5 year old into the equation and you end up with a big mess. Josiah fell into the creek on the first of the 9 crossings we would make and was soaked from head to toe. For the next few crossing, Eric carried him piggy back across the water. Once we got higher into the mountains, the creek got smaller and he was able to get across on his own accord for the last few crossings. All of the creek drama set us back and it took us 3 hours to make the 3 mile trek, which is pretty slow for you non-hiker types. We got to campsite #96 (Eagle Creek Island) at around 6:30pm. The "island" that is Eagle Creek Island is formed by Eagle creek splitting into two parts for a distance, thus creating a large island in the middle. Not long after we got the tent set up, the zipper on the tent door got stuck (because of poor zipper design) and we could not fix it. We eventually had to cut one of the zippers off and duct tape the door shut. Let me take this opportunity to thank God for duct tape!. Fortunately, the tent had 2 doors, so we were still able to use the tent effectively. This incident, however, marked the end of the road for our Sierra Designs Sirius 3 tent. It only lasted for 3 trips, so we were a bit frustrated to say the least. We were very tired, so after a spaghetti dinner, we went to bed. The weather had been perfect all day and the forecasts called for clear skies all weekend. For this reason, we had not put the rainfly on the tent and had stowed it in our packs, which got hoisted up onto the bear lines. Sure enough, at about 3am Dani and myself woke up to sprinkles of water on our faces, lightning flashes and the sound of thunder! Panicked, we sprang into motion. I will describe the next scene like this: It's 50 degrees outside, it's raining and Eric is frantically running around in his boxers trying to get the rainfly up. We managed to get the rainly fly up, as well as an extra tarp to cover our damaged tent door, within a few minutes and we were able to keep the interior of the tent dry. Whew! It must have rained for a good hour or two, so when we woke in the morning our campsite was wet and muddy. We packed up our muddy gear and headed back for the 1pm ferry pick up. Josiah was able to handle most of the creek crossing on his own this time, but on the next to last crossing both Eric and Josiah took a tumble in the creek and got an...invigoratingly cold bath! We made it back to the ferry pickup point in 2 hours, and the faster return time gave us time to make some lunch before getting on the boat back to the marina. This trip was not our favorite, but it was very challenging. Unless you've got some waterproof pants on, Eagle Creek is probably best left as a Summer adventure. The black bears in the park are very active at this time of year, and we were told that we would almost certainly see some. Although we saw lots of bear tracks we never saw an actual bear, which was just fine with us. Other hikers we met on the trail, however, told us that they had seen a few. This was supposed to be Josiah's last trip of the year, but considering how rough it was for him we will probably take him on one more trip to make it up to him. Rest in peace, Sirius 3. Enjoy the pics!

Click on the small images below to view the larger versions

Close-up of the map showing the the route up to Eagle Creek and the location of the Eagle Creek Island campsite.
Josiah plays around at Fontana Marina, just before the ferry ride over to Eagle Creek.

Josiah is a seasoned boat pilot, so he drove us over to Eagle Creek. Dani and Eric sit back and enjoy the ride. Isn't Dani just lovely?
"Is this where we're getting off?"
At the start of Eagle Creek Trail, Dani and Josiah are geared up and ready to go!
Dani and Josiah make their way across Eagle Creek. Notice that Josiah has changed clothes after getting soaked at the first crossing.
We made it to campsite #96, otherwise known as Eagle Creek Island!
Josiah changes into some warmer clothes.
Dani starts to make dinner.

Josiah and Dani site by the campfire and chow down on a delicious spaghetti dinner.

You Check out our dinner-time movie clip here (Quicktime format, 1.7 MB).

Our duct tape patch job on our Sierra Designs Sirius 3 tent held up long enough to get us through the night.
Dani gets ready to make some beef and potatoes for breakfast.

After packing up our stuff, we began the long walk back to the lake. Check out the jugs on Dani!

Josiah pauses to contemplate life as we take a break at campsite #89 (Lower Ekaneetlee)
Some campers at campsite #89 were kind enough to take a picture of the 3 of us.
Dani treks through Eagle Creek.
Josiah makes his way across Eagle Creek, on his way home.
Dani and Josiah on the lone bridge over Eagle Creek. Josiah looks like he's about had it with this trip.
We stopped here to wait for the ferry to pick us up. This is where Eagle Creek flows into Fontana Lake.
We got the the pickup site early, so Dani whipped up some chili-mac for lunch!
A park ranger stopped by to say hello. We'd actually met this guy before at a different location in the park.

Josiah drove us back with the skill of a seasoned skipper, while Dani relaxed and enjoyed the fresh breeze.
A dirty and smelly Eric checks his email at B&D Restaurant in Franklin, NC.
One last haul, as we carry our gear up to our loft. Another successful camping trip for the books.

previous trip | home | next trip