I Like Turtles - Turtles Need Water
Location: Sheltowee Trace - Daniel Boone National Forest, KY
General Rules and Regulations: Camping is not allowed in the developed areas. Camping is allowed near the developed parking areas when the campsite is at least 200 feet from the edge of the parking area and IS NOT VISIBLE from the parking area. As of May 1, 1991, the following are considered developed areas: Yahoo Falls, Alum Ford, Yamacraw, Blue Heron Overlooks, Blue Heron and access areas along river, East Rim Overlook, Leatherwood Ford, West Entrance, Charit Creek, Twin Arches, Burnt Mill Bridge, Peters Bridge, Bear Creek Overlook, Brewster Bridge, and Honey Creek Overlook.
Camping is strictly prohibited within 25 feet of any cave, cemetery, grave site, historic site/structure, rock shelter, rim of the gorge, trail, roadway, or any other specified location identified by a "No Camping" sign.
Campfires are allowed unless condition dictate otherwise.
Backcountry permits are required within the Big South Fork (not required in the Daniel Boone National Forest in this section).
See the National Park Service website for more details.
Trip Highlights: 2 days/1 night; temps ranged from low 50s to upper 80s; approximately 15 miles. The trees were changing but, not peak color.
Shelter: Warbonnet Black Bird hammock, Hammock Gear under quilt & Underground Quilts top quilt, Warbonnet Mamajamba Tarp w/DIY Door Kit
Wildlife: Garter snake, squirrels, toads & turkey
Miscellaneous: http://www.sheltoweetrace.org/ http://www.ccl-bsf.com/
The Sheltowee Trace is Kentucky's long trail. The southern terminus has moved farther south a few times and is currently at the Burnt Mill Bridge in Allardt, TN. The trail runs 319 miles to the northern terminus located off KY 377 at the northern end of the Daniel Boone National Forest (north of Morehead, KY).
We had four days planned for this section and hoped to make it to Cumberland Falls or Laurel Lake. But, we wanted to keep the trip relaxed. The forecast was unseasonably warm weather the first two days and then back to normal with one day/night of rain.
After a hardy breakfast prepared by “Spark Outfitters” we were ready for a short drive to Yamacraw to pick up where we left off last year. We came out last year at the bridge in Yamacraw so it was an easy place to start back. Bobby didn’t have any nuggets of wisdom this time other than to be careful eating gravy before hitting the trail...Too late, the system has already been lubed!
Our goal for the day was to stop somewhere between Yahoo Falls and US-27. Along the way we planned to come off the Sheltowee to go past Markers Arch, Yahoo Arch and Yahoo Falls. But, our first stop would be Princess Falls on Lick Creek. The falls wasn’t much to look at with the current water levels. I think the only reason it had water is that Lick Creek is to be fed by a spring. None the less, it was worth the short walk to see. In hindsight we should have cameled up on water – more on this later.
Back on the Sheltowee we were again following the Cumberland River north where we would leave the Big South Fork and enter the Daniel Boone National Forest. When we hit Big Creek we headed east away from the river and toward US-27. As we hiked along Big Creek we started looking for a suitable campsite while also looking for a decent water source. We each left Yahoo Falls trailhead with about two liters of water so, it wasn’t urgent. But, we were concerned about the next day as we would not be back on the river for at least a day and a half. And, with all the streams being dried we had real concerns about being able to get enough water to cook with and stay hydrated.
The last forecast we saw called for rain starting this morning and lasting through the night. But, the sky looked clear. We broke camp and I fixed a cup of coffee and had a breakfast bar (not enough water for oatmeal). Shortly after starting out we passed the private cabin along the trail. With only about 4 miles to extraction we weren't overly concerned with our water situation and thankfully so as the only water we saw was stagnant pools and water coming out of what looked to be a mined area or cave, either way it was likely full of sulfur and iron – not what you want to be drinking.
We made it to Flat Rock Church around Noon and made the call to Bobby to pick us up and take us to get some lunch, and a milkshake!
We spent the rest of our trip doing some day hikes and exploring McCeary County - Natural Arch, Split Bow Arch, Dry Fork Overlook, Devil's Jump, Barthell Mine...
I like turtles!
Honorable Mentions: I switched up my tarp guy lines by changing over from braided mason’s line to Kelty Triptease cordage. While at it I added a couple feet to the lines making them eight feet long. The Triptease line has a reflective material weaved in and is much easier to work with since it is 1.5 mm line. The larger diameter and length made it easier to use a McCarthy Hitch and knots. Overall, a win for the marginal difference in weight.
Honorably Discharged: Luxury food – the smoked salmon was great and a big boost in calories but, it’s too much work and weight for backpacking. I’ll reserve this meal for car camping.
Dishonorably Discharged: Again, nothing was an outright fail. My kit is pretty well lined out at this point aside from the occasional experiment or new item.