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Day 4 - Yamacraw Bridge to Alum Ford Campground/Boat launch

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sheltowee wanderer
on trail
on trail

Joined: 25 Oct 2004
Posts: 30
Location: Lexington, KY

PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2005 12:52 pm    Post subject: Day 4 - Yamacraw Bridge to Alum Ford Campground/Boat launch Reply with quote

I woke up late today but I felt good. The Hennessy Hammock is proving to be an awesome investment. It is extremely versatile and easy to set up. All you need are two trees and about 4-5 feet of air. The bug net ensures that the only thing you will be swatting at are your z’s as you sleep suspended above uneven and damp ground. The night was cooler than I expected and found myself moving around with in my poncho liner to stay warm. I wondered if pitching the sleeping bag at the last minute was such a wise decision now. It was the last thing I thought I would have to worry about during a summer trip but I would choose being too cold than too warm any time. Apparently I had developed some sizeable blisters that occurred through out the previous day that had gone overlooked. I went ahead and popped them so that they would not get any larger. Usually it is best to leave blisters alone and let nature take it’s course, however, if left unattended a blister will grow in size and pain during the movement of a days hike leaving a hiker in worse shape than before.

Since I was ahead of schedule I decided to take it easy and give my feet a break for a while. I had been expecting some foot problems in the beginning while my feet re-conditioned themselves to “trail life”. While reorganizing my gear I remembered my stash from the previous night and enjoyed a nice lunch. After that I decided to tour the area and get some pictures and waypoints before moving further North. As I moved up from my camp and to the road I ran into a sign that read. “30 miles to Cumberland falls”. I was glad to be walking into more familiar territory. A guy in a pickup truck pulled up in the turnaround spot and got out of his vehicle. He had just been fishing and caught 2 catfish but was more concerned with helping out someone who got their car stuck down the by the river. I then walked up on up to the bridge and across taking photos and waypoints of the river below and of the abandoned gas station and grocery on the other side of the river. I walked back to my campsite and packed up everything and got ready to leave but not before going for a swim in the Cumberland River. Nothing like cooling off and getting all that sweat and grit off your body. It not only refreshes your body but you mind as well.

Around 5 pm I broke camp and was certain to take the actual trail and not the one that the locals had created and used with their four-wheel drives and ATVs. After a mile or so the Sheltowee would combine with the locals’ track and would cause a little confusion as to where to go especially when the trail grew faint from other hikers using the local track as opposed to the actual trail. After winding through countless hollows and coves the trail took on it’s identity once again and became a very enjoyable trail that followed the Cumberland River and many of its feeder streams. Along the way I spotted yet another turtle on the trail and laugh to myself at its irony. I wondered if the trail was used more by the animals than its intended audience. I little bit further down the trail, closing in on the Alum Ford Primitive Campground, was a shelter conveniently seated next to the river. I stopped and took a coordinate and a photo. I did not remember seeing this shelter on any maps, although it shared the same design as both shelters along the Moonbow trail, a section of Sheltowee Trace just North of Cumberland Falls. Just past the shelter and right beside the trail were the remains of what appeared to be the chimney of a house or cabin. Who ever lived here once had a commanding view of the river. I made tracks to the Alum Ford campground with daylight to spare and immediately started looking for a discrete place to camp but was forced to pick a campsite for the night. Fees are $5.00 for a campsite and is based on an “on your honor” system of payment. After setting up camp and getting a good fire going I took a look at my feet which looked good despite two blisters that I popped earlier that day. Walking was painful but bearable. Below the campground was a boat launch area that allowed access into the Big South Fork. As dark set it I heard vehicles pulling in and boats with bright fishing lights being pushed into the river. After boiling some rice and beans I added some tuna and oregano and ate my first hot meal on the trail. (besides the T-bone steak Wink ) Night 4 on the trail was filled with crying of child somewhere in the campground. Where was that whippoorwill when I needed him?

The Photo album - Day 4

“A little bit of moleskin goes a long way”


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