Siegel Family Camping!

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Sawdust Pile - 6/2/2007
Hazel Creek, Great Smoky Mountains Natl. Park

After spending Friday night in at the Hampton Inn (we cashed in some of our Hilton Honors points, so our stay was FREE!) in Franklin, NC, we headed up to Fontana Lake and made it to Fontana Marina by 10am. With Josiah at the helm, the ferry took us to the north shore where we met Hazel Creek Trail. Being that we had already been to the Sawdust Pile (#85) campsite before, we had originally planned to push ourselves a bit further and make the 4.5 mile trek to the Sugar Fork campsite (#84). The 4.5 miles, however, was proving to be too much for Josiah so we called it quits at Sawdust Pile, which was at about 3.5 miles. It turned out to be a good decision because we would later learn that the Sugar Fork site was at full capacity with campers. We had the luxury of having the Sawdust Pile site all to ourselves for the entire trip. We made the 3.5 mile journey in just under 3 hours, stopping for 2 breaks along the way. After choosing an area to settle down in, we sprung into action. There was a possibility of rain in the forecast, so we worked quickly to get the camp set up. Dani set out to get some fresh water while I pitched the tent and unpacked the sleeping gear. Our main goal was to get everything prepared for any rain. Though our Black Diamond single wall tent is waterproof, I pitched an extra tarp over it just for good measure.

With the camp set up, our thoughts turned toward answering the calls of our grumbling stomachs. Unfortunately, I had forgotten to pack all of our food we only had 4 meal pouches and a handful of fruit snacks. With 2 pouches needed per meal and with 3 meals planned, we realized that we would barely have enough to last. We split 1 pouch of beef stew for lunch, used the 2 spaghetti pouches for dinner and saved the last beef stew pouch for breakfast. We got by ok, but needless to say we were famished when we got back to the marina the next day. We entertained the idea of catching and eating some trout from the creek, but nothing ever came of our efforts. Unlike previous trips, we didn't build a fire. We weren't depending on a fire for warmth or food, so we just relaxed and took it easy. We took a couple nature walks, played some cards and piddled around until dark and then hit the hay at around 10pm. At around 5am or so, it finally started raining but it wasn't anything we couldn't handle and the fact that we were sleeping at the time made it very convenient. We actually find the sound of rain on the tent very relaxing and easy to sleep to. We were out of bed by 8:30 the next morning. We had quick breakfast and then packed up camp for the journey home. We made it back down to the lake to catch the 1pm ferry with plenty of time to spare and had some pleasant conversation with several of hikers who were also catching the ferry.

Once back to the marina, we scarfed down some snacks to hold us over and headed out toward Franklin, NC to grab some lunch. Up until now, we've had a tradition of always eating our after-trip lunch at B & D Restaurant in Franklin. We were shocked, however, when we sat down at our table and saw that they had completely changed their menu, removing everything that we loved. What was a great place for southern comfort food was now bare bones place with 3 things on the menu: seafood (mostly fried), chicken fingers, and country ham. No more meatloaf! No more roast beef! No more country fried steak! Horrified, we left and set out in search of a new eatery. We settled on the Mountain Man BBQ and Grill in Dillard, GA. It was great food and we agreed that Mountain Man will be our new after-trip lunch spot. I plan to write a letter to B & D telling them how disappointed we were.

Enjoy the pictures!

Click on the small images below to view the larger versions

Here's a picture of the entire park with the area of our trip tinted red.
Here's a close-up of the area we will be hiking.
Josiah drives us up the north shore of Fontana Lake.
Looking out over Fontana Lake.
The start of Hazel Creek Trail
Josiah gets ready for the big hike.
Hazel Creek, in all its glory.
After about 1.5 miles, Josiah is getting really tired.
A big snail crossed our path. We helped him across the road so that he wouldn't get smashed by a ranger truck.
Josiah tried out the water in Hazel Creek. ICE COLD!!!!!!
Camp is all set up! This was the second outting for our new Black Diamond Guiding Light tent.
Eric prepares to ford the creek in search of some fish.

A heated game of Go Fish!

The journey home.
A snake crossed our path on the way back. From what I read, this was a Northern Brown Snake. Completely harmless, but we left it alone nevertheless.
Josiah plays with his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles during a break on the way back.
Another hiker took a family photo for us!
Josiah takes us back to the marina. He was really tired, but that actually helped him relax and drive the boat really well.
MOUNTAIN MAN!!!!!!! Our new after-trip eatery after being betrayed by B & D Restaurant.
We stopped and took some pics of Tallulah Dam on the way back home. Dams are so cool.
Tallulah Gorge, at the bottom of the dam.
Our little baby!

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