249

249
2/9/17
  It was Thursday morning. Hwy 65 took me north. Hwy 65 took me to Clinton, where a fine breakfast was had at Huddle House. This place is one of my favorites for such a meal. At 5:30 a.m. not too many patrons were huddled there yet...just me the usual local dude with a beard sitting two tables over. He's always there...reading his newspaper, as I do. Little did he know of the skunk I tossed in his car prior to entering. People should close their car windows. By 6:15 it was back to the highway and soon the lovely town of Marshall was passed through. Not long after arrival was made at Barkshed Extended...a gravel road off of Push Mtn Road (Hwy 341) that leads into a couple of private parcels of land within the wilderness. Here I parked and headed directly down into Bowman Hollow at 7:45 with 24° and a fair breeze. The sun was up a bit with a light overlay of thin clouds just dimming its glow slightly. The weather seemed quite promising.
  Before long the North Prong of Middle Creek was met and traced to the west. It was quite dry here but eventually a flow of water emerged from the rocky terra. This is a pretty creek with a lot of bedrock and white gravel with sections of rocky stream bed. There is not much here in the way of large boulders. Cedar trees abound with occasional pines, but hardwoods form the major populous of the area. Stable Hollow soon entered from the right just opposite of Harrington Knob, a titty shaped peek that stands proud of the surrounding terrain. By now there was a fairly good amount of flow in the creek that occasionally disappeared and resurfaced on down the way. At 10:45 Woods Hollow came in from the right at a sunny bedrock section. Here lunch was had and water topped off before moving on.
  At this point my choices were to continue up the ridge to the north or move back to the east up Bell Point to some potential bluff action in that direction. The eastern route was chosen. After a few disappointing bluffs were explored, a suitable spot was found above Stable Hollow. This was not a perfect location but was adequate. I am extremely discerning when it comes to camp sites. My quest for getting the most out an experience often leads me without reward. This small misshapen and rocky bluff had a couple of pine trees that provided a clean and pine needle strewn surface, which I greatly appreciate. A sleeping area was created on the rocks and covered with a tarp. It looked quite cozy and turned out to be just that.
  The full moon rose simultaneously with the setting sun and created an excellent mealtime ambiance as my Lasagna with meat sauce was prepared and eaten. No fire was planned since it was breezy and the night would probably continue along this theme. Lying in bed looking out the open end of the tarp at the moon was quite satisfying. Sleep was late coming and as usual, very intermittent. As the night wore on 10-15 mph winds buffeted the tarp. I was never really cold but a tent would have been more comfortable in this situation, although it would not have fit here. A little before 4:00 the wind was annoying and my sleep was pretty much finished. The thought of this wind at sunrise prompted me to break camp and head out. At 4:20 with 38° I plodded up the hill and struggled through the usual tangle of small trees, stickers, vines and dead fall so common on the ridge tops in this wilderness area. By 5:45 my car's reflectors greeted me. At 6:30 I was sitting in Marshall Restaurant drinking coffee with the folks indigenous to the area. In no time I was up to date on the local happenings. Breakfast was pretty good there. Typically Carl's up the road would be my choice but they didn't open until 7:00. My entire hike covered 7.3 miles.

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