Saturday, November 25, 2023

Hiking Somewhere to Nowhere


Cherokee National Forest
Saturday, August 5, 2023

This day started out as a complete and utter disaster. The first thing I did was let Frank out to use the bathroom and he immediately got blasted by a skunk. While getting him cleaned up one of the cats decides to puke all over the house. At this point I was running late so I rushed to get packed and could not find Frank’s water bowl and forgot to grab my tracking poles. 

- Frank & my route on Saturday, August 5, 2023 in Cherokee National Forest -
I searched South Citico Creek in AllTrails and did not pay attention to what it selected and proceeded to go. As Frank and I got closer to the trailhead I realized we were heading to a trailhead I was not prepared for nor did it say South Citico Creek. Since it was late in the day, I decided to go with wherever we were as it would take too long to get to the original location I wanted. Anyone who has watched my videos of hiking with Frank knows that he is excitable, to say the least, when we start so I did not get out my map to check things out.  

- Frank @ Jeffery Hell Trail Head -
I knew I was on Forest Service Trail 196 that is named Jeffery Hell, but what I did not know was this trail dead ends into South Citico Creek or Forest Service Trail 105 which is the one I wanted to hike. Like most National Forest Trails in the height of summer it was overgrown, and I was wearing sandals with Sealskinz socks because I had planned on a lot of creek crossings. As you can tell from the elevation profile from my AllTrails map there is quite a steep grade for about a half mile, and it was not fun in sandals. 

Just a little over two miles I reached a trail junction, and would you know the sign had rotten away, so I still did not know where I was. The trail went what looked to be straight or so I thought and decided to keep going. What I did not know at the time was this junction is actually South Fork Citico. A quarter mile or so after the junction going west on South Fork Citico you reach a beautiful little waterfall. Frank was even able to swim in the little pool for a while. 

- The First Waterfall After Turning East -
A little way past the waterfall the trail opened and then turned boggish. About 3.3 miles into the total of the hike the trail got overgrown with thorns and I did not want to take Frank through those, so we turned around. Thinking I must have taken the wrong trail at the intersection with the rotten trail sign we made our way back to it. There we had a quick lunch and headed in the opposite direction where we eventually ran into another waterfall/cascade. 

After continuing a little was down from the second waterfall we again ran into a heavy patch of thorns along the trail. At this point I figured it was good to call it a day and head back to the Jeep.

- The Second Waterfall / Cascade of the day going East at the trail sign. -

I was never lost and if I had wanted to take the time could have found out exactly where Frank and I were as I always carry a map and compass. When hiking with Frank it is hard to stop and get the map out without him getting anxious, but in hindsight I should have taken it out while having lunch. All that being said, I need to get back to this area and do some more exploring. I would love to just hang out in the area for 2-3 nights and just take it all in.

AllTrails Recording of the Hike:

Route down Jeffery Hell to South Fork Citico Creek and then back up Jeffery Hell.

Recording -  |  - Profile -

Related Video: North Fork Citico

Frank and I explore North Fork Citico Creek back in September of 2021. This was the actual Trailhead area I wanted to go this time.

YouTube Video:

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