Sipsey Wilderness
Trails 207 and 200

Date: Saturday, January 12, 2008
Location: Sipsey Wilderness, Bankhead National Forest, Alabama
Trails: 207 - Braziel Creek and 200 - Borden Creek  
Members: Larry, Mimi, Tim
Guests: Karen, Lee, Steve, Forest

With temperatures just above freezing at the start and warming to the low 50's by the finish, this was just superb hiking weather.

We never know who is going to show up for these hikes but six humans and Forest, Lee's Black Mouth Cur, arrived at the Picnic Grounds by 8 AM. Some needed to leave after the first trail. Fortunately, Steve's new Jeep held sufficient bodies so we could manage the vehicular logistics as if we had planned it that way.

We set out from the Gum Pond Trailhead at about 8:45, following trail 208 to the northern end of 207. We had to clamber over a freshly fallen pine near the start but the rest of the trails were pretty clear at least of anything new. The occasional blowdowns required either a short detour or some gymnastics.

Trail 207 was easier to follow than we remembered it. Perhaps too easy. We made excellent time, so much that leader Larry, ignoring Steve's GPS readings, failed to recognize that we had reached Borden Creek and led everyone a little further upstream than we had intended, totally missing the endpoint of 207.

No matter. We backtracked to Braziel Creek at the confluence with Borden Creek and were able to cross on a log. Due to rains during the week, both creeks were flowing with six inches to a foot of water. But that level is still extremely low for this time of year. Our crossing log should have been underwater.

Karen, Lee and Forest left us at Borden Creek. Forest seemed to have had a spendid time, we humans should have so much energy.

The rest of us lunched at one of the campsites at Borden Creek and then walked the always lovely Borden Creek Trail. With winter upon us, the hemlocks took on added beauty. No difficulties with the trail. The few long-fallen climb-over trees almost feel familiar.

We made it back to the Picnic Grounds before 2:30. Nice hike.

Submitted 15 January 2008
Text: Larry & Mimi Barkey

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