Click here to read Part 3.
The first part of this photoblog depicts the hike from a primitive site two miles northwest of the Highway 29 crossing to a disperse camping area within the Black Creek Wilderness of DeSoto National Forest near Cypress Creek Landing. Both points are marked with a circled "X" on the map pictured here.
The female crew members by the Black Creek Wilderness entrance!
Tattered sign with a white Black Creek Trail blaze in the background. This photo was taken two miles into the wilderness near a bridge crossing that branches back onto Highway 29 for a brief jaunt across a creek.
In the Black Creek Wilderness! Good water sources seemed less available in the earlier sections of the wilderness (western half) and we ended up settling for what was our darkest, dirtiest water source of the trip. I would advise packing in plenty of water and planning on not having another opportunity to treat water until the south-eastern corner of the wilderness section.
Using our break and lunchtime to analyze our maps and pinpoint our location.
The wilderness segment provided a beautiful, rustic experience. This photo was taken of a tributary that flows into the Black Creek. Many similar sights were available when bordering the waterways within the wilderness segment!
Our group enjoying time on the trail and the very natural environment! As with many trips, it was an absolute blast to be out in the Wilderness with such an amazing group!
Many of the deadfalls throughout this segment have been cut to allow foot-travel more easily, but there are also a significant amount of trees and deadfalls still obstructing the trail that must be navigated and conquered by hikers. Much of this debris seems to add to the adventure experience and may have been left in efforts of preservation.
The wilderness section can be somewhat puzzling to navigate, especially if you aren’t used to navigating forested trails. Remember to take special note of each blaze and special markings to ensure you follow the trail appropriately through the technical, forest sections. Carrying a map and compass as backup during the wilderness hike also seems like a good idea (we had to reference ours at least once).
Setting up camp later that night... This was our third campsite of the trip and provided us with a prime opportunity to disperse camp on a durable surface that was within walking distance of a great water source! This particular area is marked on the map picture near the Cypress Landing map label and still inside the wilderness section.
Although I was hopeful, it turned out to be another unlucky night... I was, again, unable to sleep in my hammock due to rain during the evening hours. On my next backpacking trip, I'll be sure to bring a fly or tarp to ensure the ENO does not sit dormant!
Backcountry tip: For a hot-pad to use on aching muscles and irritable joints, fill a CamelBak or similar bladder with boiling water and apply to the area with a towel system to avoid direct contact at first. In this photo, Rachel willingly displays the CamelBak system on her hip that she used throughout the night. For Rachel, this therapy helped immensely and almost all pain was eliminated for the next day of hiking!
The last part of this blog post displays the final section of trail that we hiked. This section spanned from our campsite near the border of the wilderness (blue "X" in upper left corner) to the Fairly Bridge Landing (the southern terminus of the Black Creek Trail).
Day #4: Finishing the hike through the wilderness section of the Black Creek Trail!
Rustic view of the Black Creek from a segment of the Black Creek Trail that lies before the Red Hills and outside of the Wilderness segment. This view was of the Black Creek was easily one of our favorites during the trip!
A final photo of our group before finishing the last section of trail that would span from the beginning of the Red Hills all the way to the southern terminus at Fairly Bridge Landing where our vehicle was parked... All in all, I highly encourage outdoor enthusiasts to investigate the Black Creek Trail, and especially the wilderness section! The Black Creek Trail provided our group with a perfect southern backpacking experience!
Click here to start over on Part 1.