Sipsey Wilderness Trip Report
November 26th – 29th, 2009
November 26th, 6:00 pm. Matthew and I got into our loaded down Xterra for the roughly 2 hour drive to the Sipsey Recreation Picnic Area. We were excited! We were meeting with Mississippi Rob, HoboSteph, and Robs 2 kids for a 2 and a half-ish day hike.This was my first trip to Sipsey, and Matthews first multi-night trip. So we drove into the night and we eventually made it there…..
We made it to the trail head around 7:45 pm. As soon as we got there we bust out of the truck, grabed our headlamps / flashlights and headed down the trail! Who cares that it was dark-thirty, we wanted to see what awaited us….
The trail started under the very road that we drove on to get there….under a bridge. Matthew found a cane pole that was just his size, ran up against the bridge and forced me to take his pic…..
After this we walked down the trail just a little ways more. I came across what I thought was a tombstone at first, but turned out to be a trail marker, I presume…
We walked a little farther, dreaming one step at a time, what the trail will hold for us the next morning! We finally turned around and headed back to the truck to get everything settled in, but not before I took my own pic….
We got back to the truck, moved everything around and tried to make a palate in the back with a bunch of quilts and pillows. It was then that I realized that I couldn’t fully lay down in the back of my Xterra! We made it work though….
We had our DVD player and brought along Indiana Jones to watch before bedtime. So we layed back, turned the movie on and tried to relax. Then we noticed that the Xterra doesn’t stay warm very long inside when it;s turned off, so we turned it on and off for a while……
I woke up around 2:00 am and noticed that Mississippi Rob, and HoboSteph had made it, so I tried to go back to sleep……It was very cold. The temperature reading in the truck was 29* F……BBrrrrrr….
Finally it was morning! We got up, and I dug the stove and cook set out of my backpack and started boiling water for breakfast (luckily Rob and Steph had brought a gallon of it – it wasn’t their first trip!) So, I got breakfast going….
Matthew was so cold, he didn’t want to move, even to say hi to our new friends! Finally warm food and hot cocoa got him moving around. He climbed in the back of the Xterra for breakfast, white powder doughnuts, Maple and Brown Sugar Oatmeal, and hot cocoa. He made a mess…..
I had my coffee and Oatmeal and he finished most of his…..So we got our stuff packed up, got the truck locked up and went to meet our new friends. MississippiRob, HoboSteph, Head of the Class, and Mississippi Queen. We stood around and talked while finished getting all there stuff rounded up.
So then we got going! The kids were excited but still a little tired. The air was still cool, but the scenery took your mind off of that! It was beautiful! So here we go……We stopped and let the kids go and explore all the “caves” that they saw, ok, most of them. Even though the trip was for us (the adults), it was about the kids, so we let them go. They had a great time.
So, we trekked on. I think everyone led at one time. I hung back and talked gear with Rob, talk about the kids with Steph, and laughed at all the kids! The only thing that I didn’t have was Brandy…..
So we hiked on some more, crossed some little streams, stoped for snacks, and enjoyed God’s majestic artwork that we where wandering through….It was during this first early morning that Matthew got his trail name, Twig!
At one point we had decided that we didn’t turn off on 209 and stayed on 200, so we backtracked a little ways. We came to a large opening that had a small creek on one side, and the river on the other. We debated about going on or staying, and let the kids decide. They concluded that we make camp there and day hike the rest. So we made camp.
We first had lunch, then set up tents, hung bear bags, then Rob and I repacked small packs with snacks and water and what nots and took the kids for a hike. Steph hung out a camp and settled in a few more things and enjoyed a book in the nice quiet wilderness….
Rob and I continued to head down the Borden Creek Trail. We met another couple with a little girl that had set up camp on down from us. They told us that Fat Man Squeeze was just on down so we made that our goal. From that point all the kids talked about was Fat Man Squeeze! We finally made it, and it was a squeeze….
Going in was hard, but coming back out was harder! On the other side we were rewarded with an awesome double waterfall…
So, the kids played around and then we made our way back to camp for the night. We got back to camp and got settled in. We made us some nice warm dinner, some more hot cocoa, (hot tea for me) and got ready for the night. It was already getting cold again, and the lows were supposed to get in the high 20’s the last time we had checked.
We made us a nice little fire, got warm, enjoyed some conversation and turned in pretty early.. We had a big day ahead of us the next day so we needed our rest, and it was going to be a cold night to get through.
The next morning we woke up early. We had to get ready for the water crossing! We all stumbled around until fully awoke, which didn’t take long, it was cold!! We got our warm breakfasts’ and hot drinks made and then got ready to head off…
We took up our packs and head off….into the wild. We backtracked to 209 and made our way down the embankment and changed into our water shoes! This was both mine and Twigs first water crossing, and despite the near freezing temperatures, we were all excited! This will definitely be a memory that I believe we all will have….
After we crossed and all had a good laugh we climbed the embankment on the other side and sat down to dry our feet and put our boots back on. We also had a quick snack here and then hauled our packs up again and headed for Falls Creek Falls! The kids found lots of nooks and cranny’s to hide and play in along the way….
We hiked along and finally made it to Fall Creek Falls, and it was grand. I never would’ve thought that such beauty was just a few miles down the road from my house, but here it was! We watched the kids run and play, throw rocks in the small pool just below the falls, and climb the rocks. Twig picked up a second trail name here, HoboSteph dubbed him Mountain Goat!
We settled down, took our packs off and pulled out some lunch.
We got loaded up after a nice lunch to carry on. The day had turned very nice! It was good and warm and the sun was shining. So we made our way past the falls and hiked on some more. After a while we contemplated turning back for the day. There were mixed answers so Rob decided to head up a large hill where we were currently at and do some exploring! After that we would head back and call it a night.
After a short time exploring we headed back towards camp. Twig and Head of the Class resumed their session of sword fighting and we started getting everything ready for dinner and the night. This was our last night out in the wilderness…
We had our dinner and Steph broke out the brownies! We celebrated MississippiRob and Head of the Class’ birthday. After this we sat around the fire and told old war stories, and I learned of the Hairy Man story! It was a good night. The air was only slightly cool, some clouds had moved in around the moon, and the fire gave us a hearty warmth. We sat around and enjoyed our last night….then we hit the sack listening to the slow soothing flow of the creek just below us….
The next morning we got up super early, had breakfast and tore down camp. We packed our bags and made sure we took everything we brought in the wilderness, back out. As we were finishing, only a shadow remained on a single garbage bag that MississippiRob had left out to collect any trash we saw on the way out….
The kids lead the way back out. Sometimes they would have to stop and wait on us……
So, we made it out around 9:15 am this morning. We took our packs off and loaded them in our Xterra’s, got cleaned up a little bit then said our goodbyes…..
This was my first trip to the Sipsey Wilderness, but I plan on going back. It is too beautiful not to. Even if it’s for a day hike, but I know I’ll spend more nights out in the wilderness, if God’s willing….
There is much more to our story than whats posted here, and many more pics. Just click on My Picasa pics and go to the Sipsey album to see them all….
Thanks for reading….